While everyone else was trolling around for hints about whom he might pick to play Bilbo, The Hobbit director Guillermo del Toro dropped an unexpected casting bombshell: That he will appear in his own movie. As a monster, no less. Coming from someone who takes his monsters so seriously — heck, he even takes them home as decorations — this promises to be a treat.
Del Toro won't be one of the major monsters; certainly not the dragon Smaug, whom he has spent the better part of a year designing. Like Alfred Hitchcock, he will only make a brief cameo in his movie. Here's what he says about the part:
I had a hand on the design of the creature and I will personally sculpt the appliances that will be applied on my face and hands.... I will have a line or two and die quickly.
So with that in mind, what are the options? There are a lot of creatures in The Hobbit, some of them familiar from The Lord of the Rings, but del Toro is planning on giving even those his own personal twist. Here are some of the more likely prospects.
Goblins make several appearances in The Hobbit. Bilbo and his dwarf companions are held prisoner by goblins in the caves beneath the Misty Mountains. This dramatic escape and slaying of the goblin king foreshadow a similar scene in The Fellowship of the Ring. He probably wouldn't play the king of the goblins, though. Perhaps one of his many henchmen? There's also another major possibility when the goblins join in at the Battle of Five Armies near the end of the story.
Point in Favor: These are the most human-looking of the creatures, so "appliances on the hands and feet" seems to fit. It’s probably the best chance for an easily recognizable del Toro.
Why it might be a bad idea: There are going to be a lot of goblins, so it would be pretty easy for del Toro to get lost in the crowd.
Who would make an even better goblin: Hellboy star Ron Perlman would be a natural.
Early on in their adventures, Bilbo and the dwarves get captured by a band of trolls, who argue over exactly how to cook them. Gandalf saves the group by fueling this squabble until dawn breaks and they all turn to stone. Like goblins, they have a somewhat human appearance. This possibility is made perhaps a bit more likely by the fact that one of the Trolls is named William, or in the Spanish version, Guillermo.
Point in Favor: Del Toro already looks a bit like a troll. You know?
Why it might be a bad idea: The troll encounter promises to be a great scene, and the trolls deserve more than a line or two before they die.
Who would make an even better Troll: William Shatner has the larger-than-life stage presence to pull off a troll in truly grand style.
Without Gandalf to guide them, the party is sewn up in cocoons by tree spiders of Mirkwood, who prefer their food to get a little ripe before eating. (Our heroes do seem to be on everyone's menu). This time it's Bilbo to the rescue, with a little help from his ring. Although it might seem like a long-shot for del Toro to play a spider, he has said that these spiders will be of a different design than Shelob in The Return of the King. They are, after all, tree spiders, not cave spiders, and they might have more human attributes.
Point in Favor: Del Toro appears to have a really morbid obsession with spiders, and would likely approach the part with an even more than usual glee.
Why it might be a bad idea: Spiders generally have rather small heads. Del Toro, well....
Who would make an even better spider: Jeff Goldblum. He's already been a fly, why not a spider? He has the spider-like long limbs and has proven time and time again that he can pack some serious menace.
On the surface, also a long shot. After all, the wargs are wolf-like creatures without much in the way of recognizable human attributes. But del Toro has said that his wargs will not be exactly like those in The Lord of the Rings. Instead, he’s trying to give his wargs a kind of majestic beauty that makes the snap judgment of good or evil a bit more difficult. These lupine creatures light up several dramatic scenes in The Hobbit, including one in which they have the fellowship trapped up in burning trees. Clearly the director has had a major hand in their design. Could he perhaps go further and put his hand into a warg's paw?
Point in Favor: Benicio del Toro is already the Wolf Man. Why not another wolfish del Toro? Besides, it would give the director a chance to be part of a creature redesign he clearly is very into.
Why it might be a bad idea: Even with the changes del Toro is talking about, it’s a bit of a stretch to imagine working a recognizable human face into a wolf-like snout.
Who would make an even better warg: Robert Rodriguez favorite Danny Trejo already looks pretty feral. It might not require quite so much makeup for him to make the transition.