NEW YORK (CBS) The first names in the cast of Peter Jackson's "The Hobbit" have been announced.
Martin Freeman ("The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy," "Love Actually") is set to play Bilbo Baggins, the Hobbit whose adventures and discovery of the One Ring leads the story up to "The Lord of the Rings."
"Despite the various rumors and speculation surround this role, there has only ever been one Bilbo Baggins for us," Jackson said, according to Deadline.com. "There are a few times in your career when you come across an actor who you know was born to play a role, but that was the case as soon as I met Martin. He is intelligent, funny, surprising and brave - exactly like Bilbo and I feel incredibly proud to be able to announce that he is our Hobbit."
The casting was announced by New Line Cinema COO/president Toby Emmerich, Warner Bros COO/president Alan Horn, MGM co-CEO Steve Cooper, and Jackson, according to the report.
Jackson has also cast several significant dwarf characters. Richard Armitage will play Thorin Oakenshield, leader of the Company of Dwarves; Aidan Turner and Rob Kazinsky will play Kili and Fili, members of the Company of Dwarves. Also, Graham McTavish will play Dwalin; John Callen will play Oin; Stephen Hunter will play Bombur; Mark Hadlow will play Dori; and Peter Hambleton will play Gloin.
"The Hobbit" is reportedly set to be shot in two back-to-back installments. The projects will begin shooting in February for release in December 2012 and 2013.