I don't often link to other people's blogs but this one looks very interesting. Apparently here is a list of the actual cast members they are still looking for. According to TORn, the list is legitimate, and came through official channels.
According to SpoilerTV.com they're looking for Bilbo, Thorin Oakenshield, Fili, Kili, Bard, Gloin, Radagast the Brown, a female elf called "Itaril", an unnamed warrior Elf-Lord from Rivendell, the Mayor of Laketown, Primula and Drogo (Frodo's mum and dad), a civil servant for Laketown called Alfrid, and the voice of Smaug.
There are some notable ommisions as well as unexpected additions. For instance, they've not mentioned the other dwarves Dwalin, Balin, Oin, Bifur, Bofur, Bombur, Dori, Nori and Ori, and also missing are Beorn and King Thranduil, who are surely major characters.
There could be two reasons for the ommisions - either they've been written out of the stories, which I hope is not the case - if Tolkien put them into the story I'm sure he had good reason to do so. Way back when, before NewLine Cinema got involved in LOTR, Peter and Fran were faced with making a single, two hour version of LOTR, and were asked by Miramax executives to shorten the book, and shorten the list of main characters by "killing off a hobbit or two in the first 20 minutes" among other attrocities. Luckily, they didn't do that then, and it gives me great hope that we'll still see all 13 of the dwarves. After all, without 13 dwarves, Bilbo would have been unnecessary as the "lucky number" in the adventure!
The other, and much more likely reason I can see for the ommisions is that the characters have already been cast, and in secret. Previously, my vote for the most likely candidate for Beorn was Ron Perlman, while my personal guess for Thranduil would be Doug Jones.
<bitchmode> I'm not sure which dwarf role would be best for Tom Cruise though. Still pondering on that one. He seems much too short for any of them. Maybe he could be the voice of Smaug, exuding arrogance as he goes? </bitchmode> Sorry about that, I just watched Mission Impossible 2 again last night. I'll try to stay on-topic again.
Primula and Drogo don't make it into the book, but it would leave a lovely opening for the eventual link to the 3rd movie (ie, The Fellowship of The Ring!) - Primula and Drogo are Frodo's mother and father who both die in a boating accident (if memory serves me right), after which Bilbo takes over the guardianship over young Frodo.
The even more mysterious addition of the new female elf named Itaril will no doubt provide the apparently necessary romantic addition to the story. I personally have absolutely no problem with that - it's worked extremely well previously (Arwen barely makes it into the LOTR books, and is confined to a few footnotes in the appendices) and if anything gives the children's version of The Hobbit (as in, the book) a more adult, mature angle. Go Itaril! You have my vote! Finally a FEMALE hottie elf. :)
One other piece of missing information is the address to send your acting resume and application to. This confirms my earlier assertion that Actors applications won't be held publicly (like extras are), but will be done through casting agencies. If you don't have an agent and want a main part in The Hobbit, now would be an excellent time to get yourself one! Your agent will (or should) know the correct address already.
All in all, very exciting news! If the link is legitimate, it gives us more insight into the plot of the upcoming movies than any one other piece of news over the last few years! What do you all think?
- Jack M