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The Hobbit production seems to be chugging along happily by all accounts, and if they’ve managed to maintain any of the energy they started with– it’s probably been a very pleasant shoot. Apparently they’ve reached a milestone already, as they’ve finished rolling on Martin Freeman’s first leg of shooting, and he’s now back in London working on Sherlock once again. (he was committed to some TV movies, which must please those producers very much). He’ll be back later when it’s time for the production to pick back up with Bilbo. This info comes from Ian McKellen’s blog, which has been most informative already, and now also confirms that Hugo Weaving will definitely be returning as Elrond (long-assumable, but still good to hear).

Other info from the delightful gay wizard? Bret McKenzie (one half of the Flight of the Conchords) will be returning as Lindir, an elf of Rivendell, after standing around and being pretty during the formation of the Fellowship in the first Lord of the Rings film. While the characters is supposed to be a songbird of sorts (and Bret clearly has the chops), the script doesn’t exploit those talents as written.

Another tidbit: McKellen’s theater mate Sylvester McCoy is about to being his turn as Radagast the Brown, as the production continues on and shoots sequences that don’t involve Hobbits.

There’s also a little bit of unfortunate payoff to months of the back-and-forth rumoring of Saoirse Ronan’s involvement with the production, which will apparently be nothing at all. The actress has long spoke of possibly playing a role, but her increasingly loaded schedule will no longer allow it, and so she won’t be able to make the trip to New Zealand to join the director who had her raped and murdered.

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Telegraph (via /Film)