British actor Rob Kazinsky ('Eastenders'), who was to play a dwarf named Fili, had to leave the production for personal reasons, as director Peter Jackson posted yesterday on his Facebook page.
While that's bad news for Kazinsky's place in geek film history, fortunately there's no real cause for alarm on the set of the 'Lord of the Rings' prequel, as his role was a minor one and not much filming has yet been completed. It's not nearly as big a deal as, say, when the pivotal role of Aragorn had to be recast for 'The Fellowship of the Rings.'
"Rob has been terrific to work with and his enthusiasm and infectious sense of humour will be missed by all of us," Jackson said. "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."
The role of Fili's brother, Kili, by the way, is being played by Aidan Turner, aka hot Irish vamp Mitchell on the British series 'Being Human.'
Jackson began shooting 'The Hobbit,' which will be released as two separate films, in New Zealand last month. The film stars Martin Freeman as the young Bilbo Baggins and Ian Holm, who'll briefly reprise his 'Rings' role of a much older Bilbo. Andy Serkis, Elijah Wood, Ian McKellen and Cate Blanchett will also return as their characters from the trilogy.
Look for the finished films -- in 3D! -- in 2012 and 2013.