Actor to reprise role of Legolas

Orlando Bloom has been cast in “The Hobbit” and will reprise the role of the elf Legolas from “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy.

Producer-director Peter Jackson made the announcement Friday on his Facebook page.

“10 years on, I’m thrilled to be working with Orlando again,” Jackson said. “I look older – he doesn’t! Orlando created an iconic character with his portrayal of Legolas, and we’re excited to be revisiting Middle Earth with him once more.”

Bloom’s casting had been widely anticipated. He’ll be seen next in Constantin’s “The Three Musketeers.”

Jackson announced last week that he had tapped British thesp Stephen Fry to play the role of Master of Laketown in “The Hobbit.” He began shooting the two films in New Zealand in 3D in mid-March with a cast including 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.

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 late 2012 and late 2013.

Bloom’s repped by CAA.

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