The launch of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey will showcase the talent of seven New Zealanders cast as Dwarves in the film.
The three films making up The Hobbit Trilogy were filmed on location in New Zealand, involving more than 2000 talented Kiwis. The New Zealanders that were cast as Dwarves are well-known in local television and are now set to make their international debuts.
Fili, played by Dean O’Gorman
New Zealand pin-up boy Dean O’Gorman portrays ‘hunky’ Dwarf Fili, protective older brother to Kili. O'Gorman had to hit the ground running after another actor dropped out, taking part in three weeks of intense dwarfish training before joining in filming.
Born and bred in the seaside city of Auckland, O’Gorman was first discovered at age 12 and has since featured in roles both on television and on the big screen. Sir Peter Jackson, director of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings trilogies, calls O’Gorman is “a terrific Kiwi actor, who I am thrilled to be able to work with”.
Nori, played by Jed Brophy
Accomplished actor Jed Brophy plays ‘dodgy Dwarf’ Nori, from the working class side of Thorin’s family. Nori is a bit of a wild character - he's a thief, and not unused to dodgy adventures.
Brophy has a long and established history working with Sir Peter Jackson, having played several roles in The Lord of the Rings trilogy. An extremely capable horse rider, Brophy purchased his Rohan horse after riding it in The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King.
Dori, played by Mark Hadlow
Countrified Dwarf Dori is the patriarch of the family - of Dori, Nori and Ori - and is very protective of his brothers . Dori is played by Mark Hadlow, a well-known kiwi actor with a long list of comic roles. Hadlow spends much of his time in the vibrant South Island city of Christchurch.
Bifur, played by William Kircher
William Kircher plays Bifur, the Dwarf with an axe stuck in his head from a previous battle with an Orc. Starring in several crime shows, Kircher focuses more of his time on producing.
Bombur, played by Stephen Hunter
Rotund Bombur, cousin of Bifur and Bofur, is played by Stephen Hunter. Hunter was surprised at how alike many of the Dwarves' characters were to the actors that played them - Bombur is fond of food and family, and Hunter himself loves cooking in real life.
Hunter was born in the capital city of Wellington, where post-production for The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey took place. With a great sense of comic timing, Hunter is often cast as ‘the funny guy’. This suited bumbling Bombur, who is a jovial and comedic character.
Gloin, played by Peter Hambleton
Peter Hambleton plays Gloin, the father of Gimli from The Lord of the Rings Trilogy. Gloin is a prickly, fiery character; but shows a tenderness and love towards his family.
Hambleton is a well-known actor and theatre director in the Wellington, a city known for its buzzing arts scene and host to the New Zealand premiere of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.
Oin, played by John Callen
Feisty Oin, brother of Gloin, is fascinated by potions and is a bit of an apothecary. Oin is played by the talented John Callen, who also teaches acting and media studies. Callen has appeared or directed in hundreds of radio plays, commercials and stage works.
Dwarves are great metalworkers, smiths and stoneworkers and are formidable and tenacious workers. New Zealand also has a strong culture of mining, and is abundant in resources of coal, silver, limestone and gold. Head to the West Coast of the South Island to visit ancient mining relics, and make sure to stop in at Shantytown - a pioneer town, born out of the gold rushes of the 1860s.
Middle‑earth's Dwarves lived in the mountains and caves of Erebor, Moria and the Iron Hills; loving the feeling of rock around them and being close to the earth. If you too are fascinated by what lies within the earth, visit the Waitomo Caves - a fascinating labyrinth of underground sinkholes, caves and tunnels.
After a hard days' work, Dwarves love a handle of ale. So too do kiwis - there's over 250 beers brewed in New Zealand, with each brewery offering their own unique style. Try a tour and tasting at some of the country's oldest breweries - the Tui Brewery and the Speights Brewery are a few of the most well-known.
Dwarves are keen adventurers, enjoying journeys far from home. Explore some of real Middle‑earth's most enchanting landscapes with a walk or a hike - New Zealand is home to some of the most spectacular hiking trails in the world.