After much speculation, the producers of The Hobbit have settled on a voice for Smaug, the magic dragon. They have selected actor Benedict Cumberbatch, and they didn’t have to look too far to find him. He was already in the cast of The Hobbit, having signed on to play Necromancer, a character that can’t possibly be as depraved as his name would suggest.
Cumberbatch, who I correctly assumed is very British, has garnered some buzz for his turns in the upcoming War Horse, directed by Steven Spielberg, and Tinker Tailer Soldier Spy, opposite Colin Firth and Gary Oldman. He also continues to play Sherlock Holmes in the award-winning BBC mini-series of the same name.
In addition to providing the voice of Smaug, motion capture will be used to pick up Cumberbatch’s movements and mannerisms, though it’s not explained whether the capture will just be from the actor’s face, or his whole body a la Andy Serkis and Gollum. Let’s hope it’s the latter.
Director: “Act more like a dragon!”
Benedict Cumberbatch:”I AM acting like a dragon!”
Director: “Hmm. Trying acting HARDER like a dragon. Like as hard as you can.”
Benedict Cumberbatch: “ROOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAARRRRRR!”
Director: “Cut. We got it, people.”