The Hobbit just wrapped shooting and the Dec. 14 opening of its first installment, An Unexpected Journey, is still months away, but one of its stars, Richard Armitage, is already enjoying a major career boost. The British actor, who plays the fierce dwarf leader Thorin Oakenshield in Peter Jackson’s two-part adaptation of the J.R.R. Tolkien fantasy epic, has joined the cast of New Line’s untitled tornado thriller.
Armitage, who had roles in the BBC series North and South, Robin Hood, and MI-5, plays a widowed father who, with the help of storm chasers, tries to rescue his son from the aftermath of a string of tornadoes.
Director Steve Quale, a protégé of James Cameron who helmed Final Destination 5 and served as second unit director on Avatar, is directing the movie, which also will feature Walking Dead costar Sarah Wayne Callies. The film is set to begin shooting July 23 in Detroit.