Andy Serkis and Ian McKellan to Return for The Hobbit
01.11.11 by Ryan
Peter Jackson has been slowly assembling his cast for The Hobbit, the upcoming prequel to his Lord of the Rings trilogy. Jackson hired British actor Martin Freeman as Bilbo Baggins last October, then brought back Cate Blanchett as Galadriel in December. Blanchett's character does not appear in J.R.R. Tolkien's original novel, but neither did Elijah Wood's Frodo, though Wood will also return as Frodo, possibly in a narrator kind of role.
Two characters who were are definitely in Tolkien's Hobbit are the wizard Gandalf and Gollum, played respectively by Sir Ian McKellen and Andy Serkis, who, curiously, had yet to be signed for the two-part prequel. That's all about to change.
Deadline reports Serkis has "closed his deal" to return as Gollum, and HitFix,. confirmed the casting with Warner Bros. The Deadline report claims Christopher Lee and Ian Holm could also return as the wizard Saruman and an elder Bilbo Baggins, respectively.
THR reports McKellen's return is official, though HitFix reports that Warner Bros. wouldn't confirm McKellen "yet". McKellen openly discussed his lack of a contract for The Hobbit last November, but considering Gandalf's role in The Hobbit is even larger than Gollum's, it's likely that McKellen will be confirmed soon.
Orlando Bloom also reportedly has an offer to return as the elven archer Legolas, though the THR reports that "it’s too early to tell" if Bloom will return. Signs look good. Last January, Bloom admitted that he had written an email to Jackson stating that he'd "be honored" to "don the blond wig and pointy ears again."
Hugo Weaving is also expected to return as the elf Elrond and join a cast that is already filled with host of British actors as the twelve dwarves that accompany Bilbo on his quest to "burgle" treasure from a dragon named Smaug, including Richard Armitage as Thorin Oakenshield, the leader of the company of dwarves.