Movie fans, nerds of all stripes, and aficionados of small, furry-footed hominids, take heed! The cast of director Peter Jackson’s long-awaited, much-delayed, crazily anticipated adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s fantasy epic The Hobbit is finally officially taking shape! As EW predicted, English actor Martin Freeman, best known for his deadpan portrayal of cubicle drone Tim Canterbury in the original BBC version of The Office as well as the films Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy and Hot Fuzz, will play the Hobbit hero Bilbo Baggins, who is reluctantly recruited by Gandalf the Wizard and a company of Dwarves to join in a dangerous quest for a dragon’s treasure. “Despite the various rumors and speculation surrounding this role, there has only ever been one Bilbo Baggins for us,” Jackson said in a statement, calling Freeman “intelligent, funny, surprising, and brave — exactly like Bilbo.” Jackson also announced that Richard Armitage, who has starred in the British TV series MI-5, will play the leader of the company of Dwarves, Thorin Oakenshield, while Irish actor Aidan Turner and English actor Rob Kazinsky will play the Dwarves Fili and Kili. Rounding out the cohort of Dwarves thus far will be Graham McTavish (24) as Dwalin; John Callen (TV’s Power Rangers Jungle Fury) as Oin; Stephen Hunter (TV’s All Saints) as Bombur; Mark Hadlow (King Kong) as Dori; and Peter Hambleton (TV’s The Strip) as Gloin.
There you have it, Middle-earthlings. Now Jackson just needs to get past the sticky labor-union issues and start shooting this thing. (Well, after casting Bifur, Bofur, Bombur, Ori, Nori, Balin, Beorn, Bard, and all the other roles, of course.) What do you think? After all these endless months of build-up, can you get any more amped for The Hobbit? Is Freeman the Bilbo of your dreams? Or did you imagine someone else putting on the ring?