Woman applies for role as hobbit extra and does not get it along with several thousand other disappointed wannabes

Brisbane times reports:

Rachel Buchanan finds her big chance for film stardom is hobbled from the very start.
THE advert was boxed, single column, easy to miss: ''The Hobbit Official Extras Casting Call 2012'', the heading said. Then: ''The journey continues for 2012 and we are once again seeking EXTRAS.''
Readers were referred to the entertainment section for more details. The requirements were very specific. I was too tall to be a Hobbit (women had to be under five feet) and too solid to be an Elf (''slim, athletic'' and between five feet five inches and six feet four inches).
I had one option left. The filmmakers also wanted ''WOMEN - with character faces''.

The word character was obviously a code for something. I guessed it meant a little bit weird-looking, maybe even slightly ugly. Or maybe it meant plain but with one knockout facial feature such as a big nose, a warty chin or luminous cauliflower ears. I have a big nose. When the light is right, I also have a cleft chin. I'd do.

''Mum's going to be a troll,'' one of my daughters said.

Across town, my brother Ben had also noticed the ad. Ben was going for ''BIG MEN - with character faces - five nine and over.'' Ben is six foot and has a bigger nose than me. The casting call was on the Saturday at Belmont Hall, next to the Belmont Primary School on the Western Hutt Road. Neither of us had heard of Belmont before.

I arranged to borrow our parents' car. I said I'd take Ben, too. In the days before the audition, I speed read The Hobbit. This was easy because The Hobbit is a book full of action like something on Xbox. The wizard, Gandalf, bullies Bilbo Baggins (the hobbit) into joining 13 dwarfs on a mission to reclaim the dwarf treasure stolen by Smaug the Magnificent, an evil dragon. Along the way, Bilbo bamboozles Gollum with riddles then finds the magic ring, helps the dwarfs escape from goblins, he saves the dwarfs from flesh-eating spiders, Mirkwood elves and suspicious Lake men, he opens the hidden door into the dragon's lair, etc etc.
The best character is Beorn, a man who becomes a black bear at night. The second best character is Bard, the Lake man who shoots a black arrow into the soft spot on Smaug's dragon belly and so saves the people of Esgaroth. Ben wanted to be Bard. I wanted to be Beorn. There are no named women characters in the book. In fact, I can't recall the word woman being used at all by Tolkien.

Saturday arrived. I picked Ben up at 12.15. I already knew that Prime Minister John Key had changed industrial relations law so local actors and crew could be paid less for working on the movie but my brother also told me The Hobbit was going to be the most expensive film ever made. Actually, it was going to be two films. He had a friend working in wardrobe. ''She is ageing leather with mink oil,'' he said.

Twenty minutes down the motorway, we noticed a line of cars, then lines of people. I veered across three lanes. Belmont Hall was there, just below the blackberry bushes and gorse. A small hollow was thronged with blond teenagers and a few rotund middle-aged men with beards and black T-shirts. They held slips of white paper. Of course, they had camped out or arrived early. I went down a shingle road by the Hutt River. Some cars faced forwards, some faced back. It was gridlock. I told Ben to get out and save me a spot in the queue.
We prospective EXTRAS worked together to unblock the narrow road. I got out onto the motorway again and parked, three kilometres south, down by the river. I began to trot back towards the hall, hopeful and excited. My phone beeped. It was my brother. ''Hey Rachel where you. I'm done!'' his message said.

I was a bit surprised that he'd got in so fast. Then beep, another message: ''I'm by the roundabout.''

Half an hour later I got back to the hall. There were thousands of people, and the little hollow was now packed tight as a mosh-pit. Still, my brother stood out, smoking happily by the roundabout.

''Let's go,'' he said to me. ''But I want my turn,'' I said. He looked at me with hard Hollywood eyes. ''You're really going to wait in this queue?'' he said.
He hadn't waited. All it took was a couple of ciggies and a bit of charm and he was in, right down the front.

I would not be a ''WOMAN - with character face'' in the most expensive movie ever made, but as my brother and I started the long walk back to the car, I realised I had already been cast as an extra. I was ''CHAUFFEUR - with sunburnt face''.

Separated at Birth - Lego Gollum and Voldemort

Thousands apply to be hobbits....and get rejected

Stuff NZ reports thousands of wannabe hobbits turned away

The bulky, the skinny, the short, the tall, and those with ''character faces'' - your time has come.

A casting call has gone out for The Hobbit and virtually anyone in Wellington qualifies, as long they've got unique qualities.

Men under 163cm and women under 155cm, big men with ''character faces'' and any women with the same, men with large biceps, and slim and athletic men and women between 165cm and 203cm are being asked to audition.

Talent scouts looking for an assortment of characters to play extras in The Hobbit were overwhelmed and had to send away many people who had queued for hours yesterday.

Bill O'Byrne, who fancied his chances of being picked as "a fat ugly bastard" estimated there were about 3000 waiting outside Lower Hutt's Belmont Hall by 1pm when the casting call was scheduled to start. 

He said the crowd were good natured, orderly and arranged themselves in long winding queues, but it was all called off after the processing folks were swamped and couldn't keep up.

"I guess about half of the people waiting from 1pm till 3pm didn't get processed and the Hobbit person who was there was saying to apply via Trademe." 

However, O'Byrne felt this was probably a way of placating the crowd as they probably got everyone they wanted in the first hour. 

The film company wanted a mix of talent - short men and women, big men with character faces or large biceps, women with character faces and long hair or slim athletic people who could play the part of elves. 

Elijah Wood discusses revisiting Hobbiton: 'I turned 19 here and I'm 30 now.'

Sundance Film Festival Tribune Staff interviewed Mr Frodo himself .... Elijah Wood

Elijah Wood is at Sundance because he's got a small role in the film "Celeste and Jess Forever."
That comedy was written by Wood's pal, Rashida Jones, who also stars. "And she asked me to do it," Wood said. "It's a favor for a friend, really."
But what people really want to know about is his role in a pair of films that won't be playing at the film festival - "The Hobbit," which is scheduled for release in December 2012 (Part 1) and December 2013 (Part 2).
"Did my part already, yeah," Wood said. "I was there for a month. It didn't actually take that much time for the work. It was sort of half vacation and catching up with old friends and half work."

It was also a chance to return to New Zealand, where he filmed the three "Lord of the Rings" films. And returning to the home of his character, Frodo Baggins, was an emotional experience.
"It had been 11 years since I'd been to Hobbiton," Wood said. "I turned 19 in Hobbiton. That's [expletive] crazy.

"I stood on the hill looking at the hobbit holes and I was, like, 'I turned 19 here and I'm 30 now.' It was such a weird thing. And a lot of the same crew were there. That was the most bizarre. It felt like taking a step back in time almost. It was extraordinary."
Wood has heard the criticism from purist fans of J.R.R. Tolkien's books about his participation in the films. Frodo didn't appear in Tolkien's book "The Hobbit." He wasn't even born when the events in that novel took place.
But Wood wants those fans to know they shouldn't worry about his small part in the movie.
"It's lovely. And it's very appropriate," Wood said. "What they've done is clever and it's actually a nice entry into the story."
- Scott D. Pierce

Billy Connolly joins the cast of the Hobbit dwarf Dain Ironfoot

MTV news reports funnyman Billy Connolly joins the cast of The Hobbit....

Better late than never! Even though Peter Jackson and the rest of the cast of "The Hobbit" have been busy filming the upcoming two films in New Zealand, there were still apparently characters left to be cast. But no longer.

Deadline is reporting that Billy Connolly has come on board to play the role of Dain Ironfoot. The dwarf warrior is the second cousin of head dwarf Thorin Oakenshield. The reason that Connolly was able to sign on so late in the game is because the character of Dain only has a small role in "The Hobbit," and likely will only appear in the second "Hobbit" film, "There and Back Again," which comes out in 2013.

Though Dain has a larger role in the "Lord of the Rings" mythology, in "The Hobbit" he only appears after Thorin asks him to help the dwarves on their quest to reclaim Erebor. After he receives Thorin's request, Dain sets out with an army of several hundred dwarves and arrives just in time to help his second cousin in the Battle of Five Armies, an event that occurs at the end of "There and Back Again." To keep this relatively spoiler free, let's just say that Dain steps into a larger role once the battle concludes.

"We could not think of a more fitting actor to play Dain Ironfoot, the staunchest and toughest of Dwarves, than Billy Connolly, the Big Yin himself," Jackson said in a statement to Deadline. "With Billy stepping into this role, the cast of 'The Hobbit' is now complete. We can’t wait to see him on the Battlefield!"

Connolley joins a star-studded cast that includes Martin Freeman, Ian McKellan, Andy Serkis, Luke Evans, Evangeline Lilly, Richard Armitage, Aidan Turner and James Nesbitt. "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" hits theaters on December 14, while "The Hobbit: There And Back Again" will premiere on December 13, 2013.