EXCLUSIVE: I’m told that Andy Serkis has closed his deal to bring back Gollum in The Hobbit, the two films that Peter Jackson will direct in New Zealand starting in February. Serkis will join returning cast members Cate Blanchett and Elijah Wood. Wood’s participation was made official last week after Deadline first revealed his negotiations. According to sources, others who appeared in The Lord of the Rings poised to return at this point include Ian McKellen (who’s still working out a deal to return as Gandalf in a major role), Christopher Lee is in talks to reprise the wizard Saruman, and Ian Holm to return as an older version of Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman is playing that title role in the two new movies). I’ve written in the past about a possible reprise of Orlando Bloom’s Legolas, but it’s unclear at this point if he’ll be back.
There was no confirmation from the Serkis’ camp, but the character certainly fits a small but important role in the storyline of the JRR Tolkien book. Bilbo is on an epic quest with Gandalf and 13 dwarves led by their King, Thorin Oakenshield, to reclaim the Lonely Mountain and strike down the talking dragon Smaug (I’d heard last year Bill Nighy was a possible to voice Smaug, but have heard nothing since). During that journey, Bilbo wanders into Gollum’s lair and finds the Ring of Power. Serkis will likely be there early in the shoot. The chamelon actor, who has become a fixture in Jackson’s movies, will do reshoots for The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn. Serkis plays Captain Haddock in the film, a collaboration between Jackson and Steven Spielberg. Spielberg directed the first Tintin film, but it’s being posted at Jackson’s New Zealand facilities. The Hobbit, a partnership between Warner Bros and MGM, is now being fully financed by Warner Bros, which will distribute worldwide.