Martin Freeman Cast as “The Hobbit”

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Filmmaker Peter Jackson anounced his cast for the highly-anticipated "The Hobbit" movie, which begins shooting February 2011. Martin Freeman will play the hero Bilbo Baggins and Richard Armitage will play Thorin Oakenshield, the head of the dwarves.

"Despite the various rumors and speculation surround this role, there has only ever been one Bilbo Baggins for us," the director said of Freeman's casting. "There are a few times in your career when you come across an actor who you know was born to play a role, but that was the case as soon as I met Martin. He is intelligent, funny, surprising and brave — exactly like Bilbo, and I feel incredibly proud to be able to announce that he is our Hobbit."

"The Hobbit" is based on Jackson's "Lord of the Rings" trilogy — which is, of course, based on the writings of J.R.R. Tolkein.

And, for those of you who are fans of the trilogy — there's no official word on the return of Ian McKellen as Gandalf, Andy Serkis as Gollum and Hugo Weaving as Elrond.

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