Kazinsky ankles ‘Hobbit’

Jackson says thesp's departure will not affect shoot

British thesp Rob Kazinsky (“EastEnders”) has ankled “The Hobbit” for personal reasons.

Producer-director Peter Jackson made the announcement Sunday on his Facebook page and said he’s seeking a replacement for Kazinsky’s role of Fili.

” Rob has been terrific to work with and his enthusiasm and infectious sense of humour will be missed by all of us,” Jackson said. “I should say that Rob’s departure will not affect ongoing filming of The Hobbit, nor will it impact work done to date, as we had yet to film much of Fili’s storyline. At the moment we are shooting scenes featuring Bilbo without the Dwarves, which will give us time to find a new Fili.”

Jackson began shooting the two films in New Zealand in 3D last month. “Hobbit” cast includes Martin Freeman as Bilbo Baggins and Andy Serkis, Elijah Wood, Ian McKellen and Cate Blanchett reprising their roles from “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy.

J.R.R. Tolkien novel is set 60 years before “Lord of the Rings,” with Bilbo the unassuming Hobbit who becomes a hero by obtaining a powerful ring in the face of challenges by the wicked Gollum and a dragon named Smaug.

New Line parent Warner Bros. reached a deal in January to handle worldwide distribution on “The Hobbit,” taking over most international distribution and homevideo on the two films from MGM in exchange for funding MGM’s half of the production costs. The “Hobbit” pics are aimed for release in late 2012 and late 2013.

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