'The Hobbit' Casting: James Nesbitt And Adam Brown Head To Middle-Earth

James NesbittThe merry band of dwarves who'll be accompanying Martin Freeman's Bilbo Baggins on a quest to destroy the dragon Smaug in "The Hobbit" continues to grow: James Nesbitt and Adam Brown have just joined the cast of the two-part "Lord of the Rings" prequel Peter Jackson is currently prepping to shoot in his native New Zealand.

Nesbitt, a British actor best known for Danny Boyle's "Millions" and TV's "Cold Feet," had been rumored for a role in the films for a while, but had not been confirmed until now. He will play Bofur -- a no-nonsense, funny and courageous dwarf. Brown, a relative newcomer, will play fellow dwarf Ori. Both of them will set out with Frodo Baggins' uncle Bilbo to reclaim the Lonely Mountain from the deadly dragon Smaug.

Warner Bros. broke the news in a press release, with Jackson singing both actors' praises. "James's charm, warmth and wit are legendary, as is his range as an actor in both comedic and dramatic roles. We feel very lucky to be able to welcome him as one of our cast," he said. "Adam is a wonderfully expressive actor and has a unique screen presence. I look forward to seeing him bring Ori to life."

The two actors join an already large lineup that includes Freeman ("Love Actually," TV's "Sherlock") as Bilbo, Richard Armitage (the upcoming "Captain America: The First Avenger") as Dwarf leader Thorin, Aiden Turner and Rob Kazinsky as Kili and Fili, Graham McTavish as Dwalin, John Callen as Oin, Stephen Hunter as Bombur, Mark Hadlow as Dori and Peter Hambleton as Gloin.

Ian McKellen, Andy Serkis and Hugo Weaving are expected to reprise (or is it pre-prise?) their respective roles as true-hearted wizard Gandalf, ring-obsessed Gollum and Elf leader Elrond.

The first movie has been set for release in December 2012, with the second to follow in December 2013.

How do you think "The Hobbit" casting is shaping up so far? Tell us in the comments!