Peter Jackson has spoke out in defence of his choice to cast Richard Armitage in The Hobbit.

The British actor, who is best known for his roles in Robin Hood and Spooks, has landed the role of Thorin Oakenshield in the film.

Speaking to Entertainment Weekly the filmmaker said: "Thorin Oakenshield is a tough, heroic character, and he certainly should give Leggie and Aragorn a run for their money in the heartthrob stakes - despite being four feet tall.

"In Middle-earth, dwarves are a noble race and have a culture and physical appearance which sets them apart from humans. It’s fun to develop these different cultures for the movie, and we are doing much more with dwarves this time around than we did with Gimli in Lord Of The Rings."

He added: "Richard is a powerful actor with a wide range, and we’re very excited to be handing Thorn over to him."

Armitage will be joined by Martin Freeman on the movie as he has been cast as Bilbo Baggins while Turner and Rob Kazinsky have also landed roles.

And there could be roles for more homegrown talent as Michael Fassbender, David Tennant and James Nesbitt had all been linked to the movie.

Filming is expected to get underway in February.


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