The Office star Martin Freeman has been cast in the title role of Peter Jackson's The Hobbit, executives have announced.
Freeman, who more recently starred in the BBC's Sherlock and The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy movie, will play Bilbo Baggins in the two much-anticipated films.
Fellow Briton Richard Armitage, who stars in BBC spy drama Spooks, will portray Thorin Oakenshield, the leader of the Company of Dwarves.
There is currently a dispute over where the movies will be shot. Jackson's Lord of the Rings trilogy was filmed in New Zealand, but an industrial dispute may lead to Jackson taking the production elsewhere.
Jackson said in a statement that Freeman is "exactly like Bilbo and I feel incredibly proud to be able to announce that he is our Hobbit".
He called Armitage "one of the most exciting and dynamic actors working on screen today".
Other actors joining the ensemble cast are Aidan Turner, Graham McTavish, John Callen, Stephen Hunter, Mark Hadlow and Peter Hambleton.
The Hobbit, based on the J.R.R. Tolkien novel, began production in New Zealand earlier this month. The films are set for release in December of 2012 and December of 2013.