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Liv Tyler won’t be in The Hobbit. While her Arwen character is an ancient immortal and thus technically alive at the time this prequel story takes place, Tyler confirmed awhile back that she hasn’t been asked to show up on set. So if you’re looking for a new female elf character to replace the Arwen in these new Middle Earth movies, who do you cast? Evangeline Lilly, of course. She’s like Liv Tyler, except without the Aerosmith connection.
Hobbit director Peter Jackson confirmed her involvement today on his Facebook page. Lilly has been hired to play a character newly created specifically for the feature version of The Hobbit. She’ll be a Woodland Elf named “Tauriel”. That name even has a translation already, because of course that’s how back-story obsessed author J.R.R. Tolkien would have wanted it, were he the one inventing this new elf-babe. PJ says “Tauriel” means “daughter of Mirkwood”. So now you have a pretty good idea of where she lives.
The addition of Lilly is important, not only because she’ll look good in pointy ears, but because it could help solve one of the 4 big story problems we predicted Peter Jackson would encounter in adapting Tolkien’s book for the screen. If Evangeline’s role is big enough, it could help clear up problem #4, which is that the original Tolkien version of The Hobbit contains no female characters. None. In Hollywood, the general consensus seems to be that girls need someone to identify with, if you want them buying tickets.
Evangeline isn’t the only person getting in the Middle Earth makeup chair down in New Zealand. Jackson has also confirmed the casting of actor Barry Humpries, to play the Goblin king. This is a villain character encountered by Bilbo and his Dwarf companions on their journey. You won’t see a lot of him, but he does play a pivotal role in the story. Jackson says he’ll portray the character “in much the way Andy Serkis created Gollum”. In other words, you won’t actually see him on screen, but you will see a computer generated character created based on his performance.