Evangeline Lilly already had a strong connection to Middle-earth thanks to her former relationship with "Lost" co-star Dominic Monaghan ? better known to Tolkien fans as "Lord of the Rings"' very own Merry Brandybuck, of course ? but now she's strengthening those ties all on her own.
Lilly is the latest addition to "The Hobbit," director Peter Jackson announced on his Facebook page over the weekend. The actress, who starred on "Lost" as fugitive-turned-adoptive-mother Kate Austen throughout the show's six-season run, will play "a new character" in the two-part "Lord of the Rings" prequel, which is slated to hit theaters in December 2012 and December 2013.
"Evangeline Lilly will be playing a new character ? the Woodland Elf, Tauriel," Jackson revealed of her casting. "Her name means 'daughter of Mirkwood' and, beyond that, we must leave you guessing! (No, there is no romantic connection to Legolas.) What is not a secret is how talented and compelling an actress Evangeline is; we are thrilled and excited she will be the one to bring our first true Sylvan Elf to life."
Jackson also announced that Barry Humphries has joined the cast as the Goblin King.
"Barry is perhaps best known for his business and social connections as the longtime manager of Dame Edna Everage," he wrote. "He has also been an ardent supporter of the rather misunderstood and unfairly maligned Australian politician Sir Les Patterson. However, in his spare time, Barry is also a fine actor, and we're looking forward to seeing him invest the Goblin King with the delicate sensitivity and emotional depth this character deserves."
These are just the latest developments in a string of recent casting moves on the "Hobbit" front. Last week, Jackson filled out two of the story's most important roles, Smaug the Dragon and Bard the Bowman, with actors Benedict Cumberbatch and Luke Evans, respectively. It's a "Sherlock Holmes" reunion for Cumberbatch, whose onscreen Watson, Martin Freeman, holds the titular role in "The Hobbit."
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