Peter Jackson says he's "highly excited that Barry Humphries" -- best known to American audiences for his riotous parody of celebrity, Dame Edna Everage -- will be portraying "The Hobbit's" Goblin King "in much the way Andy Serkis created Gollum… we're looking forward to seeing him invest the Goblin King with the delicate sensitivity and emotional depth this character deserves." Putting Evangeline Lilly in a brand new character -- the Woodland Elf, Tauriel -- and setting Welsh actor Luke Evans in place to play Bard, with Benedict Cumberbatch as the dragon Smaug, "just about rounds out the major casting," Jackson says. "I cannot wait to get stuck into these new scenes."
I'd say that Humphries' best work in movie fantasy up to now was in "Finding Nemo." He played a surprisingly genial great white shark named Bruce. It's a great in-joke: Spielberg's on-set nickname for the shark in "Jaws" was Bruce. In "Finding Nemo," though, Bruce is a different kind of great white shark: he establishes a self-help group for swearing off fish. This great white shares a peace-loving mantra with a mako and a hammerhead: "Fish are friends, not food!" And as Bruce, Humphries provides the film with a a melding of dryness and heartiness unusual for American cartoons.
The rest of the "Hobbit" cast is equally stellar: Jackson-Tolkien veterans will surround Martin Freeman, who stars as Bilbo Baggins; they include Ian McKellen as Gandalf the Grey; Elijah Wood as Frodo Baggins; Cate Blanchett as Galadriel; Orlando Bloom as Legolas; Hugo Weaving as Elrond; Christopher Lee as Saruman; Andy Serkis as Gollum and Ian Holm as the elder Bilbo.