Elven sends along this link to a BBC Radio interview with our very own Andy Serkis. More..

Just down the board from this post is a report originating from a New Zealand television station about Benedict Cumberbatch joining ‘The Hobbit’ cast. The non-by-lined article (from the TV station, not the one here) suggests from “early reports” that Cuberbatch might be in line to voice the dragon Smaug. We don’t know if “early reports” means the writer asked somebody at a desk nearby who was left to be cast, but this seems, at best, suspicious. That isn’t to say that the reporter doesn’t have some good information, but if they do they sure don’t sound confident about it. It wasn’t even written with the journalism phrase “unnamed sources” or “a source close to the production” but rather went with something that seems to actually mean, “I might be making this up and using the name Smaug will get a lot of attention.” The author, besides not having a name, cites no source and doesn’t link to any of the “early reports” referenced.

A far more likely choice and a character that Cumberbatch looks something like: Bard the Bowman. He possesses a bit of menace and is taller and robust, much that a way the leader of men might be. He might be believable as an excellent archer as well. The actor has had a good year, playing with Martin Freeman (Bilbo Baggins) in the BBC’s “Sherlock,” and also landing a spot in Steven Spielberg’s “War Horse,” a World War I drama. So, he might make an excellent Bard but, this is also speculation so until we hear from director Peter Jackson on Facebook or hear from WB in an official press release, don’t believe everything you read on the internet. Meanwhile, be sure to check out our page of “Hobbit” characters right here.

Celebrities and news-makers are grilled by Matthew Stadlen in exactly five minutes in a series for the BBC News website. This week, actor Sir Ian McKellen talks to Matt about the appeal of Shakespeare, the difference between working in theatre and film, the importance of having a child’s imagination and how Newsnight helps him relax after a show. More..