Entertainment & Arts

Hobbit team calls for short actors

Peter Jackson
Image caption Peter Jackson won the Oscar for best director for his work on Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

A casting call for diminutive actors has been issued in New Zealand, as director Peter Jackson forges ahead with plans to film The Hobbit.

Advertising in a Wellington newspaper, Wingnut Films is looking for men 123cm (4ft) to 158cm (5ft 2ins) tall and women measuring 123cm to 153cm (5ft).

The two-movie project has yet to officially receive the go-ahead by MGM Studios due to ongoing financial woes.

However a Wingnut spokesman said they wanted to "be prepared".

The spokesman told the AFP news agency that the call was for "scale doubles" for actors with speaking roles, and further auditions for extras would take place at a later date.

"Scale doubles appear in some wide shots in place of our actors and with other adult actors when we need people to look smaller or taller," he explained.

He added all applicants must be aged 16 or over and anyone not meeting the height requirements would be turned away.

'Shortish in the leg'

Even with the height restrictions, many of the eligible actors would tower over JRR Tolkien's fictional creatures.

In a prologue to The Lord Of The Rings, he wrote that Hobbits are between two and four feet tall, the average height being three feet six inches.

Letters from the author, published after his death, went on to describe the physical appearance of The Hobbit's protagonist, Bilbo Baggins, as:"fattish in the stomach, shortish in the leg".

"A round, jovial face; ears only slightly pointed and elvish; hair short and curling (brown). The feet from the ankles down, covered with brown hairy fur," he continued.

Casting for The Hobbit is due to take place on Sunday at the National Dance and Drama Centre in Wellington.

Mexican-born director Guillermo Del Toro had signed on to direct the films, but pulled out in June citing almost two years of delays.

Jackson, who won the Oscar for best director for his work on Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, is expected to replace him at the helm, although no official announcement has been made.

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