The 79-year-old actor has been confirmed to appear in the Peter Jackson film as the protagonist in his elder years, after playing him in the ‘Lord of the Rings’ trilogy.
As news of Ian’s commitment to the project surfaces, it has also been announced that British actor Rob Kazinsky has stepped down from his role as Fili the dwarf because of a “health issue”.
Director Peter confirmed both on his Facebook page, writing: “Ian will be returning as the older Bilbo Baggins in ‘The Hobbit’.
“I am sad to report that Rob Kazinsky, who was cast in the role of Fili, is having to leave ‘The Hobbit’ and return home, for personal reasons.”
Rob, 27, who used to play Sean Slater in British soap ‘EastEnders’ took to his twitter page to break the news.
He said: “Thanks for all your support, Peter and team have been the most wonderful and supportive team to work for and it’s with a truly sad heart that things have turned out this way.
“The Hobbit will go on to be as great as i’ve seen and I will miss the family and friends that i’ve made here. (sic)”
In response to a friend who asked why he was leaving what would have been his biggest role to date, he said: “it’s a health issue, all will be well in time, promise! (sic)”