Los Angeles, CA—February 8, 2012—Billy Connolly is joining the cast of Peter Jackson’s highly anticipated film adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s epic “The Hobbit.” The announcement was made today by Jackson, who directed all three “The Lord of the Rings” films and 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 Connelly, 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!”
Ian McKellen returns as Gandalf the Grey, the character he played in “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy, and Martin Freeman plays the central role of Bilbo Baggins. Also reprising their roles from “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy are: Cate Blanchett as Galadriel; Ian Holm as the elder Bilbo; Christopher Lee as Saruman; Hugo Weaving as Elrond; Elijah Wood as Frodo; Orlando Bloom as Legolas; and Andy Serkis as Gollum. The ensemble cast also includes (in alphabetical order) Richard Armitage, John Bell, Jed Brophy, Adam Brown, John Callen, Luke Evans, Stephen Fry, Ryan Gage, Mark Hadlow, Peter Hambleton, Barry Humphries, Stephen Hunter, William Kircher, Evangeline Lilly, Sylvester McCoy, Bret McKenzie, Graham McTavish, Mike Mizrahi, James Nesbitt, Dean O’Gorman, Lee Pace, Mikael Persbrandt, Conan Stevens, Ken Stott, Jeffrey Thomas, and Aidan Turner.
“The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” will be released beginning December 14, 2012. The second film, “The Hobbit: There and Back Again,” is slated for release the following year, beginning December 13, 2013.
The screenplays for both “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” and “The Hobbit: There and Back Again” are by Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens, Guillermo del Toro and Peter Jackson. Jackson is also producing the films, together with Fran Walsh and Carolynne Cunningham. The executive producers are Alan Horn, Ken Kamins, Toby Emmerich and Zane Weiner, with Boyens serving as co-producer.
“The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” and “The Hobbit: There and Back Again” are productions of New Line Cinema and MGM, with New Line managing production. Warner Bros Pictures is handling worldwide theatrical distribution, with select international territories as well as all international television licensing, being handled by MGM.
ABOUT NEW LINE CINEMA:
New Line Cinema continues to be one of the most successful independent film companies. For more than 40 years, its mission has been to produce innovative, popular, profitable entertainment in the best creative environment. A pioneer in franchise filmmaking, New Line produced the Oscar®-winning “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy, which is a landmark in the history of film franchises. New Line Cinema is a division of Warner Bros.
ABOUT PETER JACKSON/WINGNUT FILMS:
Peter Jackson is one of the world’s most successful filmmakers. His monumental achievement co-writing, co-producing and directing The Lord of the Rings trilogy (with fellow Academy Award winners and frequent collaborators Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens) earned a total of 30 Academy Award nominations and 17 Academy Awards. Jackson and Walsh received their first Oscar nomination for Best Original Screenplay for their acclaimed film Heavenly Creatures. Jackson, through his New Zealand-based Wingnut Films banner, also was responsible for the globally successful 2005 remake of King Kong which earned over $500 million worldwide and 3 Academy Awards. Jackson most recently directed the Academy Award nominated The Lovely Bones; an adaptation of the acclaimed best-selling novel by Alice Sebold, which to date has earned nearly $100 million worldwide; and produced the global sensation, District 9, which received an Academy Award nomination for Best Picture. He is also developing a trilogy of films with Steven Spielberg based on Tintin, the world renowned comic book series by Herge. In 2010 he received a Knighthood for his services to film.
ABOUT METRO-GOLDWYN-MAYER STUDIOS INC.
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc. is actively engaged in the worldwide production and distribution of motion pictures, television programming, home video, interactive media, music, and licensed merchandise. The company owns the world’s largest library of modern films, comprising around 4,100 titles. Operating units include Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc., Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures Inc., United Artists Films Inc., MGM Television Entertainment Inc., MGM Networks Inc., MGM Distribution Co., MGM International Television Distribution Inc., Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Home Entertainment LLC, MGM ON STAGE, MGM Music, MGM Consumer Products and MGM Interactive. In addition, MGM has ownership interests in domestic and international TV channels reaching over 130 countries. For more information, visit www.mgm.com.