Fans cheer Stephen Fry casting in "Hobbit" movie

Thu May 19, 2011 10:34pm EDT
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By Gyles Beckford

WELLINGTON (Reuters) - Stephen Fry has been cast as a mayor in the "Hobbit" movies being made in New Zealand by Peter Jackson -- a move widely cheered by fans of the English comedian, actor and writer.

Filming began in March on the two long-awaited movies after the project narrowly avoided being moved out of New Zealand, with Jackson, a New Zealand native who made the hit Oscar-winning "Lord of the Rings" trilogy, directing.

Fry will play the Master of Laketown, Jackson said on his Facebook page. The character is said to be smart, but greedy and deceptive.

"In addition to his writing skills, he's a terrific actor and will create a very memorable Master for us," Jackson added.

Jackson also announced that Ryan Gage will play the mayor's servant, Alfrid, after being originally cast in a more minor role. Conan Stevens from the American medieval fantasy television program "Game of Thrones," who stands 2.13 meters (7 feet) tall, will play an Orc called Azog.

More than 3,000 people on Facebook said they "liked" the announcement, with many especially cheering the choice of Fry.

"Genius. The Hobbit is going to be filled with people you love and admire, hello Stephen Fry!" wrote one.

The cast also includes Oscar winner Cate Blanchett, Ian McKellen, Orlando Bloom, Ken Stott, and Martin Freeman as Bilbo Baggins.   Continued...