Mike Fleming

BREAKING: Peter Jackson has set the final piece for his two-picture adaptation of JRR Tolkien’s The Hobbit. Billy Connolly has joined the cast in the role of Dain Ironfoot, a great dwarf warrior and cousin of Thorin Oakenshield. “We could not think of a more fitting actor to play Dain Ironfoot, the staunchest and toughest of Dwarves, than Billy Connolly, the Big Yin himself. With Billy stepping into this role, the cast of The Hobbit is now complete. We can’t wait to see him on the Battlefield!”

The casting comes after Jackson and partner Fran Walsh have completed a good deal of the film. They took a hiatus and went to Sundance to introduce West of Memphis, the documentary about the West Memphis 3, which created waves at the festival because some of the revelations in the film that came from DNA testing and investigative work and forensic testing that was financed by Jackson and Walsh made national headlines. That film is still being shopped for distribution, but Jackson and Walsh returned from the festival to New Zealand to get cracking on the final 100 or so days of production that should be completed by July.

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, will be released by Warner Bros for New Line and MGM on December 14, 2012 and the second installment, The Hobbit: There and Back Again, bows December 13, 2013.