Martin Freeman will play Bilbo Baggins in the film version of The Hobbit. I think he'll be excellent in the role.
I like the idea of Richard Armitage (Lucas in Spooks) playing Thorin Oakenshield, the head dwarf, too. Presumably he'll be bearded, but he has a suitably grim expression.
Hopefully Sir Ian McKellen and Andy Serkis will take on the roles of Gandalf and Gollum that they played in The Lord of the Rings again.
My only bugbear about a film that I'm now beginning to look forward to hugely is that Peter Jackson, the director, is going to split the story into two films.
I know he has no discipline for cutting his work - the three LotR films would have each benefited from having half an hour chopped - but The Hobbit is not a big book, barely 400 pages. It could easily have fitted a three-hour film.
I guess the first film will do the whole Rivendell/Misty Mountains/Gollum story, maybe ending with the dwarves being rescued by the eagles from the wargs and finding sanctuary at Beorn's house (am I showing a worrying depth of knowledge here?). The second film could then take them through Mirkwood, up the lake and on to the battle with Samug (who really should be voiced by Alan Rickman, I think), but it still could be compressed.
Oh well, all this has got me wanting to go and read the book again. It is one of the great children's books of the 20th century, with arguably the most fabulous cover design, designed by Tolkien himself.
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