The casting rumors for Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit have been largely cleared up by today’s announcement that auditions are underway for every role in the cast except Gandalf, which is being reserved for Sir Ian McKellan.
Jackson tells The Hollywood Reporter that he and director Guillermo Del Toro prefer a widespread audition process where he can match up actors in person and there is the opportunity to discover some exciting new talent:
What weâ€™ve done over the years is discover a lot of interesting actors, like Orlando Bloom (in ‘Rings’), Kate Winslet (in ‘Heavenly Creatures’), Saoirse Ronan (in ‘The Lovely Bones’). So if you start looking and auditioning seriously, itâ€™s amazing what incredible talent youâ€™ll find out there.
There was discussion on the web earlier this year that Jackson had approached James McAvoy and offered him a significant role. Jackson discounts that rumor saying that they would not offer any roles to stars before doing a casting sweep. He goes on to state that the LOTR films have never been about star power:
(These movies) have never been a star-driven vehicle. The star is (author J.R.R.) Tolkien and the world he created. We are not under any pressure. We want to find the right people. Casting someone to portray a hobbit is not as easy as you might imagine. They have to have a particular type of physical appearance and a sensibility. And the same with an elf or a dwarf. These are fantastical characters, but youâ€™ve got to find the right people to play them, the right humans to translate these characters.
He also goes on to state that there is no truth to the rumor that production of The Hobbit has been delayed. The film is still planning to begin production in March of April of 2010 with a scheduled release in 2011.
[Source: The Hollywood Reporter]