Robert Kazinsky Ringer RedOrmTheViking offers some intriguing analysis of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. He proposes that Rob Kazinsky, who was originally slated to play the role of Fili, actually appears on screen once during the Misty Mountains song sequence at the beginning of the film. However, because he’s mostly in shadow and because the focus, as the camera pans around the corner and into the room, is Thorin Oakenshield with his pipe, Kazinsky’s Fili is easy to overlook.

RedOrmTheViking’s analysis is directly below, with my comments afterwards.

BRITISH actor Rob Kazinsky was originally cast in the role of Fili for The Hobbit films. He can be seen on the first production v-log walking around the Bag End set with other members of the cast during the “blocking” phase of pre-production.

A couple of months after the release of the first production v-log, Kazinsky dropped out of the film just as principal photography began, citing personal reasons. The role would ultimately be filled by New Zealand actor Dean O’Gorman.

Rob Kazinsky at Bag End.
Rob Kazinsky at Bag End.
However, if my suspicions are correct, it appears that one single shot of Kazinsky as Fili made it into the final cut of the film, and it’s when the dwarves begin to sing the Misty Mountains song in Bag End. This is the shot in question (with the brightness kicked up a few notches).

Go back and watch that scene. Fili is the only dwarf in the entire company whose face you don’t see throughout the whole singing sequence. All of the other dwarves are accounted for, and seen very clearly except for Fili, who we only “see” in this single shot.

We know from the early v-logs that the Unexpected Party scenes were the first to be filmed with the dwarf cast. We also know that Kazinsky had already filmed a few scenes as Fili before dropping out of the film. From what little we can see of his face, it’s pretty clearly not Dean O’Gorman.

It’s likely that Jackson cut around showing Kazinsky s Fili for the scene, and in this one particular shot, digitally enhanced the shadows on him to hide his face so our focus is solely on Thorin. Dean O’Gorman was cast not too long after Kazinsky left, allowing Jackson to finish the remaining scenes in Bag End featuring Fili.

Thorin sings the Misty Mountains song with Fili in the foreground on the left.
Thorin sings the Misty Mountains song with Fili in the foreground on the left. Note the similarity in the shape and length of the nose to the previous photo of Rob Kazinsky above.

I found it interesting since — to date — there have been no known images (official or unofficial) released of Kazinsky as Fili.

I should point out that I only managed to spot this after watching The Hobbit blu-ray on a 1080p screen, where it is much more noticeable.

Dem here. I did a couple of things in checking through this to see if it holds water.

First, I rifled through the credits as listed on IMDB, and also examined the actual list of film credits courtesy of someone who seems to have filmed them in-cinema. Kazinsky does not seem to be listed on either. I know that folks are sometimes not credited for various reasons, but IMDB already has a list of uncredited people for AUJ and Kazinsky is not among them. And I realise that IMDB is not always a poster child for reliability, but it’s something to keep in mind.

The next thing I did was to watch the scene (you can do it too — I’ve embedded youtube video of the scene at the bottom) and count all the dwarfs. And indeed, to one extent or another, the camera does linger over each of the other dwarves. Primarily it’s Thorin, Kili, Balin and Dwalin. But all the company get camera time (Oin probably gets the least). More importantly, and in stark contrast to the shadowed Fili, they’re each in full, bright light.

Lastly, I took my own screencap. Mine, from a slightly more front-on angle shows a tiny bit more of Fili’s facial features, though i haven’t gone to the effort of brightening it. Then I started hunting round the internet for a few different profile photos of Dean O’Gorman as Fili for the sake of comparison. My own opinion is that the individual half-hidden in the shadows in the AUJ doesn’t really resemble O’Gorman. I feel that the brows and the bridge of the nose, and the nose itself seem too dissimilar for it to be O’Gorman.

Fili and Thorin at Bag End. A slightly better angle. Screen taken from the clip below.
Fili and Thorin at Bag End. A slightly better angle. Screencap taken from the clip below.

But you might not agree; it’s certainly not absolutely conclusive! Food for thought anyhow.