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Benedict Cumberbatch cast in THE HOBBIT as Smaug the dragon, Luke Evans to play Bard the Grim

James Wallace

by: James Wallace
June 17th, 2011

Benedict Cumberbatch (FOUR LIONS) and Luke Evans (CLASH OF THE TITANS) are the latest to join the cast of Peter Jackson's THE HOBBIT. By the time this thing is over, the film will literally employ every British actor alive and working.

Cumberbatch will play Smaug the dragon via motion capture following in the footsteps of Andy Serkis - one of the first actors to perfect the craft of mocap performance in Jackson's LORD OF THE RINGS TRILOGY. Cumberbatch will also lend his voice to THE HOBBIT's Necromancer character, playing dual roles in the film. Evans will play Bard the Grim, expert archer and heir of King Girion of Dale - who has an unfortunate meeting with the dragon. The pair round out the last few major roles that had yet to have been cast in the film, already underway on production in New Zealand.

Gandalf himself, Ian McKellen, dropped a few clues of the casting (as he so often does) back in May when he spoke of Cumberbatch's screen-test:

"The cat is out of the bag. The actor is named. The latest recruit to the Jackson troops is the superb Benedict Cumberbatch, Sherlock Holmes to Bilbo’s Watson. Martin Freeman let it slip when he picked up his BAFTA. Martin told me he was 'chuffed' about the prize. So was the entire crew back here in Wellington; and about Benedict. Now, what can he be playing in The Hobbit? Philippa Boyens showed me a snippet of his screen-test, played in close-up into the camera. It was electrifying, vocally and facially. Yes, what can he be playing?"

Well, now we know, giving that quote a bit of clarity. Many presumed that Cumberbatch would be spreading his wings for Smaug based on McKellen's mentions of a vocal and facial performance.

Cumberbatch's casting comes hot on the heels of the early buzz surrounding his performances in WAR HORSE and TINKER TAILOR SOLDIER SPY. With roles in ATONEMENT, THE OTHER BOLEYN GIRL, AMAZING GRACE, and CREATION not to mention his BAFTA award winning role as Sherlock Holmes in the BBC's Sherlock, Cumberbatch is a widely known name in British acting circles but may seem foreign to U.S. audiences. Based on the projects he has in the near future, I have good reason to believe that won't last.

Evans will star as Aramis in THE THREE MUSKETEERS. He's on the cusp of his own breakout, having been a close second to the lead roles in both THE BOURNE LEGACY and THE GREAT GATSBY.

Source Deadline, via /Film

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