Billy Connolly is joining the cast of Tolkien’s epic The Hobbit.
The announcement was made today by Peter Jackson, who is currently in production on “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” and “The Hobbit: There and Back Again,” with the films shooting back-to-back in New Zealand.
In the films, Connolly (“The Last Samurai,” “Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events”) will play Dain Ironfoot, a great dwarf warrior and cousin of Thorin Oakenshield. Peter Jackson welcomed the news of Connolly to Middle-earth: “We could not think of a more fitting actor to play Dain Ironfoot, the staunchest and toughest of Dwarves, than Billy Connolly, the Big Yin himself. With Billy stepping into this role, the cast of “The Hobbit” is now complete.
We can’t wait to see him on the Battlefield!”
In an interview conducted by John Young for “Inside Movies”, Evangeline Lilly was asked a few questions about her role as Tauriel, a Silvan elf in Peter Jackson’s “The Hobbit”. This is an excerpt from the interview:
Speaking of small and little, I’d be remiss not to bring up The Hobbit. You’re playing a new character named Tauriel, who’s a Mirkwood elf, and that would lead me to believe that she is a warrior of some kind. Did you have to learn archery and swordplay?
Yes, she is a warrior. She’s actually the head of the Elven guard. She’s the big shot in the army. So she knows how to wield any weapon, but the primary weapons that she uses are a bow and arrow and two daggers. And she’s lethal and deadly. You definitely wouldn’t want to be caught in a dark alley next to Tauriel.
So then Tauriel must be involved with the dwarves being captured…
I think basically what you’re asking is if she’s in the film very much. She’s not in the first film very much. She comes into the first film near the end, and has a very small part to play. Her role in the second film is much more involved. Although, I have to say, when I first read the scripts and took the job, she had a lot less going on in the second film. I think the role is becoming a bit more demanding than I had expected it to be. There’s a lot more for me to do now, which is a lot of fun, but it’s a little more pressure.
Does she play a large part in the Battle of Five Armies?
Oh, I don’t know. We haven’t shot that yet. I still have to go back for five more months of filming.
How many months have you been there already?
On and off for the past six months. It’s a two-year shoot in total for both films, and my contract had me blocked off for about a year. I come in and out of New Zealand throughout that year.
How has the experience of shooting in New Zealand compared to the multiple years you spent in Hawaii on Lost?
In some ways, it feels really familiar. I’m from Canada, and New Zealand feels like you took all the best bits of Canada and squished them onto a tiny island like Hawaii. I was absolutely blown away by the beauty of the South Island. I seem to be landing really great locations on a lot of my work. I hope that continues, knock on wood.
So we have another wonderful image of Bilbo Baggins with Sting – possibly in Mirkwood.