Look who Peter Jackson just cast as The Hobbit's 'toughest' dwarf

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Dec 16, 2012, 12:07 PM EST

Middle-earth is getting even more crowded. With the first of two films based on the J.R.R. Tolkien novel The Hobbit set to open this December, director Peter Jackson has cast the actor who will portray one of the toughest dwarfs in the gang.

Billy Connolly (The Last Samurai, Boondock Saints) will star as Dain Ironfoot, a great dwarf warrior, according to Variety.

The announcement fills the last major role in the films, which are set 60 years before the events of Tolkien's Lord of the Rings trilogy. Jackson also directed the critically acclaimed films based on the Lord of the Rings novels.

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

Connolly joins several alums from the original Lord of the Rings film series, including Elijah Wood, Orlando Bloom, Andy Serkis, Cate Blanchett and Ian McKellen. New cast members include Martin Freeman as Bilbo Baggins and Stephen Fry as the Master of Laketown.

The Hobbit tale will be split into two films, dubbed The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey and The Hobbit: There and Back Again. The first film is scheduled to open on Dec. 13, with the follow-up set for December 2013.

(via Variety).