Bard and Smaug Casting Announced... and the Necromancer

Luke Evans - Bard of DaleLuke Evans - Bard of DaleFinally some interesting news from the production of The Hobbit (from Deadline here and here).  The casting of Bard of Dale and Smaug has been announced (with one interesting aside)!  Here's the details:

Luke Evans as Bard of Dale

While a small role, Bard will certainly be a significant role--you know what I mean if you've read the book :)--I certainly expect Peter Jackson to amp up the character in the movies.  In fact,  will almost certainly demand more development than what we get in the books... Luke Evans recently appeared in a supporting role in Clash of the Titans. Check out his IMDB page for all his previous work.

Benedict Cumberbatch as Smaug... and the Necromancer?

It sounds like Cumberbatch is being cast in the same vein of expectations that Andy Serkis was cast for Gollum--he'll be doing motion capture as he's also doing the voice for Smaug.  I really like the idea that the actor is imbued into the digital character using motion capture--even if the character is a dragon, and nowhere near to being human.

Benedict Cumberbatch - Smaug and the NecromancerBenedict Cumberbatch - Smaug and the NecromancerOf course, what's really weird about the report, is that it mentions Cumberbatch will also be voicing the Necromancer--widely accepted as Sauron today, even though I think Tolkien didn't have Sauron in mind when he originally wrote The Hobbit.  Overall, I'd rather they get a different voice than just re-use the same actor--I wasn't a fan of John Rhys-Davies voicing Treebeard after he'd already established his voice as Gimli's.  But, maybe since neither Smaug nor the Necromancer are primary characters for the length of the books, it'll work out OK.

Hopefully we'll hear some official word from Peter Jackson's facebook page real soon!

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