Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Luke Evans has bagged the role of Bard in The Hobbit, a last major part that Peter Jackson hadn’t cast in a production that’s underway in New Zealand. Bard the Grim is  a skilled archer, and the heir of King Girion of Dale. The king was killed by the talking dragon Smaug. The character plays a greater role in the second film, and is somewhat reminiscent of the action-hero exploits of Viggo Mortensen’s Aragorn, I’m told.

It seemed evident that the Welsh actor was going to win one of these roles that involve a competition between multiple young thesps. He was a finalist to play the lead in Tony Gilroy’s The Bourne Legacy that went to Jeremy Renner, and was a finalist for the role of Tom Buchanan in The Great Gatsby, which went to Joel Edgerton. Evans plays Aramis in the upcoming Three Musketeers, after supporting roles in Immortals, Robin Hood and Clash of the Titans. He’s repped by WME and Ruth Young at United Agents in the UK.

That leaves the voice of Smaug as the major casting yet to be revealed. I’d heard early on that it would likely be Bill Nighy, but have heard nothing since then.

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