Middle-earth got quite a bit more crowded today, as Variety reports that Amazon’s already ludicrously expensive Lord Of The Rings prequel show has now added 20 more actors to its cast, fleshing out its ranks of hobbits or ents or Toms Bombadil or whatever the hell else ends up actually appearing on camera for this bafflingly resource-intensive TV adaptation. Specifically, the show has added (deep breath) Cynthia Addai-Robinson, Maxim Baldry, Ian Blackburn, Kip Chapman, Anthony Crum, Maxine Cunliffe, Trystan Gravelle, Sir Lenny Henry, Thusitha Jayasundera, Fabian McCallum, Simon Merrells, Geoff Morrell, Peter Mullan, Lloyd Owen, Augustus Prew, Peter Tait, Alex Tarrant, Leon Wadham, Benjamin Walker, and Sara Zwangobani to its roster of people who will be spending a lot of time either standing very close to, or very far from, the camera in order to make things look like hobbit holes and shit.
As Variety notes, Blackburn, Chapman, Crum, Cunliffe, Tait, Tarrant, and Wadham are all New Zealand natives, signing on for the national employment program that this particular cinematic franchise has operated in the country for the last couple of decades. Others, like long-established comedian Lenny Henry, are veteran actors from the U.S., the U.K., Sri Lanka, or Australia. This score of fresh actor meat joins a cast that already included (oh god, here we go again) Robert Aramayo, Owain Arthur, Nazanin Boniadi, Tom Budge, Morfydd Clark, Ismael Cruz Córdova, Ema Horvath, Markella Kavenagh, Joseph Mawle, Tyroe Muhafidin, Sophia Nomvete, Megan Richards, Dylan Smith, Charlie Vickers, and Daniel Weyman, and yeah, shit, these are going to be some long-ass credits, huh? (It’s not clear how many of the performers from either group are going to be billed as regulars, but you’re probably going to want the skip button handy either way.)
The series’ showrunners, J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay, issued a statement on this bolstering of their small, presumably fur-footed army today, stating that,
The world that J.R.R. Tolkien created is epic, diverse, and filled with heart. These extraordinarily talented performers, hailing from across the globe, represent the culmination of a multi-year search to find brilliant and unique artists to bring that world to life anew. The international cast of Amazon’s The Lord Of The Rings series is more than just an ensemble. It is a family. We are thrilled to welcome each of them to Middle-earth.
And while we’d be fascinated to know whether Payne and McKay could name every single sister, brother, or cousin they now count among their extended “family,” it’s really just a sign of how much humanpower Amazon is ready to throw at this show. The series is already anticipated to become the most expensive TV series ever made, with a total budget speculated to top $1 billion total for the supposed five-or-so seasons it’s expected to be on the air.
Amazon’s Lord Of The Rings is expected to begin airing in 2021.