Stephen Fry joins The Hobbit

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The first of three films based on an adaptation of the 1937 novel by J. R. R. Tolkien, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is a prequel to The Lord of the Rings film trilogy. It will star Martin Freeman as Bilbo Baggins, Richard Armitage as Thorin Oakenshield and Benedict Cumberbatch as Smaug. Several actors from The Lord of the Rings will reprise their roles, including Ian McKellen, Andy Serkis, Hugo Weaving, Cate Blanchett, Christopher Lee, Ian Holm, Elijah Wood & Orlando Bloom. Bilbo Baggins (Freeman) is swept into a quest to reclaim the lost Dwarf Kingdom of Erebor from the fearsome dragon Smaug.

May 19th, 2011

Stephen Fry has joined the cast of 'The Hobbit'.

The British star - who is best known as an actor for his role as Victorian writer Oscar Wilde in 1997's 'Wilde' - will play The Master of Laketown in the Peter Jackson-directed project.

Also confirmed to join the cast are Ryan Gage as The Master's civil servant and Conan Stevens as the Orc Azgog.

Peter wrote on Facebook: "We are thrilled to confirm that Stephen Fry will be playing The Master of Laketown.

"I've known Stephen for several years, and we're developing a 'Dambusters' movie together. In addition to his writing skills, he's a terrific actor and will create a very memorable Master for us."

The first shooting block of the film, which is being made in New Zealand, is now nearly complete, with Peter adding some time will now be spent on visual effects for the project - starring Martin Freeman as the titular character.

He wrote: "We have a break in less than three weeks to get some editing and visual effects work done, plus prepare for very big scenes coming up."

'The Hobbit' suffered a number of false starts before production began earlier this year.

First choice director Guillermo del Toro pulled out of his position, and extras were told not to take part because of a pay deal which was later resolved.

As the film was about to begin shooting, director Peter was taken ill, forcing the schedule back by a further three weeks.

'The Hobbit Part 1' - a prequel to the 'Lord of the Rings' franchise - is due to hit cinemas in 2012.