Fans of The Lord of the Rings have another reason to like The Hobbit, with confirmation that Sir Ian Holm will reprise his role as the older Bilbo Baggins.
As director Sir Peter Jackson broke the news of Holm's return, he was able to refer to the skilful casting of Martin Freeman as a younger Bilbo.
"One comment that came up from the recent video blog was the Bilbo voice at the end. Many of you assumed it was Sir Ian Holm," Jackson said on Facebook.
"Whilst Ian will be returning as the older Bilbo Baggins in The Hobbit, that recording was actually Martin Freeman's voice, taken from a script read-through we recorded when the cast first arrived.
"I have to admit, I wasn't sure who it was when I first heard it, either."
That backs the self-belief that Freeman displayed at the start of filming in February when he joked that he "wasn't tying himself up in knots" about living up to Holm's depiction of Bilbo in The Lord of the Rings.
"Without being big-headed or falsely modest, I think I'm a good match for him," he said at the time.
Other stars returning for The Hobbit, the two-part, 3D prequel to The Lord of the Rings trilogy, include Sir Ian McKellen as Gandalf, Andy Serkis as Gollum, and Orlando Bloom as Legolas.
Elijah Wood is reprising his role as Frodo Baggins, even though the character did not appear in JRR Tolkien's book of The Hobbit, which is set 60 years before the trilogy.
Jackson also said on Facebook that he would use the four-day Easter break to recharge his batteries and "do a few script tweaks for future scenes".
However, in another Facebook posting on Sunday night, Jackson announced that British actor Rob Kazinsky was pulling out of his role of Fili the dwarf for personal reasons.
"Rob has been terrific to work with and his enthusiasm and infectious sense of humour will be missed by all of us," Jackson's post said.
"I should say that Rob's departure will not affect ongoing filming of The Hobbit, nor will it impact work done to date, as we had yet to film much of Fili's storyline."
- The Dominion Post