Peter Jackson concludes “Hobbit” casting with Billy Connolly

By Sean O’Connell You would think that Peter Jackson had buttoned up his “Hobbit” casting, given the fact that filming has been underway for weeks (maybe months) now, and we’ve already seen extended footage and a full trailer.

But the great Billy Connolly has landed a key role, according to a press release, and should finalize the casting on what’s without question one of the most anticipated one-two punch for 2012 and ’13.

Connolly will play Dain Ironfoot, a great dwarf warrior and cousin of Thorin Oakenshield, in Jackson’s two-part adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Hobbit.”

“We could not think of a more fitting actor to play Dain Ironfoot, the staunchest and toughest of Dwarves, than Billy Connelly, the Big Yin himself,” Jackson said in a statement to THR. “With Billy stepping into this role, the cast of ‘The Hobbit’ is now complete. We can’t wait to see him on the Battlefield!”

Connolly joins Sir Ian McKellen, Martin Freeman, Cate Blanchett, Ian Holm, Christopher Lee, Hugo Weaving, Elijah Wood, Orlando Bloom and Andy Serkis, who will return as Gollum in the films.

We’ll see the first part, “An Unexpected Journey,” on December 14, but then will have to wait a full year for the conclusion, “The Hobbit: There and Back Again,” which reaches theaters on December 13, 2013.

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