It's "Business Time" for Bret McKenzie. After showing up briefly as an extra in the first and third "Lord of the Rings" movies, the "Flight of the Conchords" co-star has joined the sprawling cast of Peter Jackson's "Hobbit" prequels.
And the New Zealand native won't have to travel far, since once again Jackson has set up shop in his home country for the films, which began filming two weeks ago. Variety reported that McKenzie will play the role of Lindir, an elf of Rivendell, in the 3-D films, which will be shot over the next 14 months at a studio in Wellington and other locations around New Zealand.
McKenzie joins a cast that already features Martin Freeman in the lead role of Bilbo Baggins, as well as returning "Rings" vets Elijah Wood, Ian McKellen, Cate Blanchett and Andy Serkis. "The Hobbit" is set 60 years before "LOTR" and follows the adventures of humble hobbit Bilbo, who rises to heroic stature as he leads a group of fellow dwarves on an epic journey to reclaim a treasure from the dragon Smaug.
With the "Conchords" on permanent hiatus after wrapping their second season of the show on HBO in 2009, McKenzie was freed up to join the "Hobbit" cast. Some movie sites have already begun speculating that given his higher profile now, McKenzie may have a beefier part than the three seconds of screen time he had in "The Fellowship of the Ring" during the Council of Elrond. After that appearance, fans began referring to his character as "Figwit," which stands for "Frodo is great ... who is that?"
McKenzie's wife, Hannah, even made a short documentary about the Figwit phenomenon that she submitted to the Auckland International Film Festival in 2004. The "Conchords" also paid homage to McKenzie's star turn in season one with the song "Frodo, Don't Wear the Ring."
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