12:24pm PT by Mark Cina
Orlando Bloom Joins Peter Jackson's ‘The Hobbit’
Lord of the Rings star Orlando Bloom has joined the cast of Peter Jackson's upcoming Hobbit movies -- even though his character, the elf Legolas, doesn’t appear in J. R. R. Tolkien’s original novel.
Jackson announced the casting in a Facebook post Friday.
“Ten years ago, Orlando Bloom created an iconic character with his portrayal of Legolas," he wrote. "I’m excited to announce today that we’ll be revisiting Middle Earth with him once more. I’m thrilled to be working with Orlando again.”
Jackson is currently directing the two-movie adaptation in New Zealand.
He helped catapult Bloom to stardom by giving him his first major film roles as Legolas in the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Looking back, Jackson wrote on his Facebook page, "I look older — and he doesn’t! I guess that’s why he makes such a wonderful elf."
The Hobbit movies, which have been in the works for 14 years, has faced a series of setbacks.
In 2005, Jackson filed suit against New Line Cinema, claiming he had lost revenue from merchandising, video, and computer games releases associated with The Fellowship of the Ring and was no longer attached to The Hobbit.
Three years later, director Guillermo del Toro signed on but dropped out in May 2010 due to scheduling conflicts.
Jackson was confirmed again as director in October 2010, but union disputes in New Zealand threatened to relocate filming to Europe. In January, Jackson underwent surgery for a perforated ulcer, delaying shooting further.
On March 21, it was announced that shooting had begun in Wellington, New Zealand. Jackson also posted two images of himself on his Facebook page hanging out on set.
Actors Cate Blanchett, Ian McKellen, Elijah Wood and Andy Serkis are reprising their roles from Rings in the prequel, which centers on Bilbo (Freeman) finding the supernatural ring and passing it on to his nephew, Frodo (Wood).
The first of the two movies is planned for a December 2012 release and the second is expected a year later.