October 23, 2016
        Hollywood Contenders: New Oscar Predictions for October                Nicole Kidman, Hugh Grant, Naomie Harris, Lily Collins get Honors at 20th Annual Hollywood Film Awards                "Manchester by the Sea" leads the Gotham Award nominations                Tom Ford, Marc Platt and Kenneth Lonergan to be Honored at 20th Annual Hollywood Film Awards                Tom Cruise is in his action hero comfort zone with "Jack Reacher: Never Go Back"                "Moonlight" could be A24's big Oscar horse this year                Ewan McGregor steps behind the camera with "American Pastoral"                Hollywood Contenders: A second crack at Golden Globe predictions for 2016                "The Accountant" seeks to help give Ben Affleck another blockbuster                85 countries will be competing for Best Foreign Language Feature nominations at the Oscars                Tom Hanks to receive Hollywood Actor Award for "Sully" @ Hollywood Film Awards                "Certain Women" showcases Laura Dern, Kristen Stewart, and Michelle Williams                Ben Affleck is perhaps Hollywood's biggest and most diverse superstar                "The Birth of a Nation" looks to survive controversy and contend for awards                "The Girl on the Train" hopes to transport Emily Blunt to the Oscar race        

Peter Jackson confirms Stephen Fry for “Hobbit” role

By Sean O’Connell
Hollywoodnews.com: Peter Jackson continues to be the best source of “Hobbit” news. Why not get your news from the source, right?

On his Facebook page dedicated to the New Zealand shoot, Jackson confirmed that English novelist and screenwriter Stephen Fry will play The Master of Laketown in his upcoming “Hobbit” adaptation. Though he is a mainstay of British pop culture, most American audiences probably know him s the narrator of the “Harry Potter” book on tape series.

Jackson had a few more casting bits to reveal. Here’s what the director had to say, in full:

Some more HOBBIT casting news today. As we near the end of our first shooting block (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), we are looking at characters featuring in sequences that take place a little later in the story.

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 Master’s conniving civil servant, Alfrid will be played by Ryan Gage. Ryan is a great young actor who we originally cast in a small role, but we liked him so much, we promoted him to the much larger Alfrid part.

Last, and certainly not least, is Conan Stevens, who will be playing an Orc called Azog (Orcs are never called Roger or Dennis for some strange reason). And yes that’s his name—Conan! Isn’t that cool? Azog is played by Conan! Here’s a photo of Conan and I together… I’m pretty tall, probably at least 6’5″ or 6’6″ I would guess, so that gives you some clue how tall Conan is! You can learn all about him at www.conanstevens.com.

Got a busy day’s shooting ahead, so I’m about to jump in the car—but look out for the beginning of the 20 questions answers very soon. Thanks for the questions, many are very insightful. I’ve been through all of them and have a list ready to go.

Peter J.

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About Sean O'Connell

Sean O'Connell is a nationally recognized film critic. His reviews have been published in print ('The Washington Post,' 'USA Today') and online (AMC FilmCritic.com, MSN's Citysearch) since 1996. He's a weekly contributor to several national radio programs. He is a longstanding member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association (BFCA), the Online Film Critics Society (OFCS), and the Southeastern Film Critics View all articles by Sean O'Connell Association (SEFCA).

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