The gods are smiling on a Kiwi actor. Film director Sir Peter Jackson has announced that The Almighty Johnsons actor Dean O'Gorman will star in The Hobbit as Fili the dwarf.
Jackson said on his Facebook page that O'Gorman was "a terrific Kiwi actor, who I am thrilled to be working with".
O'Gorman, 34, will replace British actor Rob Kazinsky, who left the production last month for personal reasons. O'Gorman is one of the stars of TV3's The Almighty Johnsons, a story of Norse gods living in modern New Zealand.
He has appeared in Shortland Street, Xena: Warrior Princess and Hercules: The Legendary Journeys.
Jackson said the shooting schedule would not conflict with The Almighty Johnsons' second series next year.
He also announced that Lee Pace would be playing the Elven King Thrandruil.
Hugo Weaving will reprise his role as Elrond the elf for the two-part Hobbit movie now being shot in Wellington. The Hobbit spokeswoman Melissa Booth confirmed that Weaving would feature in Jackson's 3-D prequel to The Lord of the Rings trilogy.
The confirmation came after reports circulated that Weaving was spotted in Wellington last week.
"One of my more reputable spies ... has reported seeing Hugo Weaving here in Wellington ... shopping at Commonsense Organics, the fruit and vege market in Wakefield St," The Noldor Blog reported. "Of course he shops organics. He's the lord of the elves, for goodness sake."
Weaving, who played Agent Smith in The Matrix, featured largely in the first Rings film, The Fellowship of the Ring.
His character Elrond is the father of Arwen, played in Rings by Liv Tyler.
In June 2009, when Jackson was to be executive producer of The Hobbit, then-director Guillermo del Toro said Weaving would be part of the movie.
Other stars returning for The Hobbit include Sir Ian Holm as the older Bilbo Baggins, 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 J R R Tolkien's book of The Hobbit, which is set 60 years before the trilogy.
- The Dominion Post