Lilly, Humphries join ‘Hobbit’ cast

Peter Jackson confirmed castings via Facebook

Evangeline Lilly (“Lost”) and Barry Humphries (“Dame Edna”) have joined the cast of Peter Jackson’s “The Hobbit.”

Jackson made the announcement Sunday on his Facebook page.

“Evangeline Lilly will be playing a new character — the Woodland Elf, Tauriel. Her name means ‘daughter of Mirkwood’ and, beyond that, we must leave you guessing! (No, there is no romantic connection to Legolas.),” Jackson wrote. ” 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 said Humphries will be portraying the Goblin King, in much the way Andy Serkis created Gollum. “Barry is perhaps best known for his business and social connections as the long-time manager of Dame Edna Everage,” he added.

Welsh actor Luke Evans was cast last week in “The Hobbit” as the archer Bard the Bowman.

Jackson shot the first segments of the back-to-back pics in March and went on hiatus earlier this month for editing and visual effects work along with prepping for the next round of shooting in August.

Jackson has recently cast Stephen Fry to play the role of Master of Laketown and Orlando Bloom to reprise his role as Legolas in “The 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 Smaug.

The screenplays are penned by Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens, Guillermo del Toro and Peter Jackson. Jackson is also producing the films, together with Fran Walsh and Carolynne Cunningham; exec producers are Ken Kamins and Zane Weiner, with Philippa Boyens serving as co-producer.

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 December 2012 and December 2013.

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