Bilbo! Bilbo! Bilbo Baggins! The bravest little Hobbit of them all!
Not long after the confirmation of Peter Jackson as director, and the announcement of a February 2011 start date, the latest news concerning The Hobbit is the casting of the titular character, Bilbo Baggins. British actor Martin Freeman (The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Hot Fuzz) will fill the role previously played by Ian Holm in the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Freeman will, of course, be playing a much younger version of the character for the two prequels.
It's a brilliant casting call. Freeman actually looks like a young version of Ian Holm. He can currently be seen as Dr. John Watson in the new BBC series, Sherlock.
But the news doesn't stop there. Several of Bilbo's dwarven companions have also been announced. Actor Richard Armitage (Captain America: The First Avenger) has been cast as party leader, Thorin Oakenshield. The majority of the dwarves will be played by Aidan Turner (Kili), Rob Kazinsky (Fili), Graham McTavish (Dwalin), John Callen (Oin), Stephen Hunter (Bombur), Mark Hadlow (Dori), and Peter Hambleton (Gloin). The five remaining dwarves have yet to be cast.
Since Gloin is the father of Gimli, I had held out hope that John Rhys-Davies would return to play the role. But alas, it was not to be.
No word yet on whether or not Ian McKellen or Andy Serkis will reprise their roles as Gandalf and Gollum, respectively.
The Hobbit films will begin shooting in February of 2011 in New Zealand, and will be directed by Oscar winner, Peter Jackson.