Kate Austen is heading somewhere even more wondrous than a mystical island in the South Pacific this time.
Director Peter Jackson announced on Facebook that Evangeline Lilly, who gained fans and detractors while portraying one of the heroines of the epic TV series Lost, will round out the casting of The Hobbit, his movie adaptation of the J.R.R. Tolkien classic.
Praising how talented and compelling an actress Evangeline is, Jackson said she will play the Woodland Elf, Tauriel -- a new character.
Her name means 'daughter of Mirkwood' and, beyond that, we must leave you guessing! he wrote yesterday, adding parenthetically that she is not connected romantically with Legolas, Orlando Bloom's arrow-wielding marksman.
I may not be an expert on Tolkien's work, but I feel close to being a semi-expert on people who are, as I know quite a few of them. So I feel comfortable saying that they will not take kindly to the introduction of a new character, Kirsten Anderson blogs at Snarkerati. It's hard enough to talk fans of books into dealing with cuts and leaving things from the books out, but adding something that did not come from the author's own hand? People will not be happy. I'm sure Jackson knows this, so either success has made him extraordinarily cocky ('They'll take what I give them and like it') or he must think this new character is extraordinarily important.
The Girl in the Tower says she is feeling part confused and part curious about the decision to add a character that was not in the book.
The book is all about the male relationships in it so it's interesting that now there will be this female figure there. Peter Jackson hasn't said how big a role Tauriel will play yet but it may prove interesting. We shall see, she writes at The Library in the Tower, where she has posted a list of confirmed cast members, many of whom are returning from The Lord of the Rings trilogy (Bloom, Ian McKellen as Gandalf, Cate Blanchett as Galadriel, Hugo Weaving as Elrond).
Jazz at the Party FAQ Blog, however, doesn't think many people will mind a few extra characters if the movie is as cinematically brilliant as the LOTR trilogy.
I'm personally looking forward to this movie next year, the blogger says.
Responding to Jackson's Legolas reference, Susana Polo at The Mary Sue says that the director can never be accused of not understanding his audience.
Tauriel, she notes, will be the second female character in a cast of about three dozen. So, yeah, we're willing to put aside the adaptation decay rage in trade.
Jackson also made what That Figures calls some less photogenic news, announcing that Australian actor Barry Humphries will play the Goblin King, in much the same way that Andy Serkis created and portrayed Gollum.
Humphries is perhaps best known for his comedy characters, including ''cultural'' attaché Sir Les Patterson and Dame Edna Everage, That Figures says.
But back to Freckles. At CinemaBlend.com, Josh Tyler notes that Liv Tyler won't be reprising her Lord of the Rings role in The Hobbit, which is set to be released in two parts, in December 2012 and December 2013.
So if you're looking for a new female elf character to replace the Arwen in these new Middle Earth movies, who do you cast? Evangeline Lilly, of course. She's like Liv Tyler, except without the Aerosmith connection, he writes.
The addition of Lilly is important, not only because she'll look good in pointy ears, but because it could help solve one of the 4 big story problems we predicted Peter Jackson would encounter in adapting Tolkien's book for the screen, Tyler adds. If Evangeline's role is big enough, it could help clear up problem #4, which is that the original Tolkien version of 'The Hobbit' contains no female characters. None. In Hollywood, the general consensus seems to be that girls need someone to identify with, if you want them buying tickets.
Here are some more quick Web hits related to books today:
? The AP reports that the group that runs the Internet has decided to allow a bunch of new endings for websites, starting next year. In addition to .com, .org and .net, you could soon see domains like .ipad, the story says.
? There are now 20 twitching owls on the Pottermore YouTube page, just under three days from J.K. Rowling's announcement.
I know nothing about that whatsoever, Daniel Radcliffe told the Los Angeles Times about Pottermore. (A French movie website provided this translation: Daniel Radcliffe: 'Je ne sais rien à propos de Pottermore.')
I'm sure that Jo will be writing a lot more in the coming years. I'm sure she has a lot more in her than we've read and a lot more stories to tell, Radcliffe told the Times.
The 21-year-old actor said it would be a bit odd and a little self-defeating for him to return to Harry Potter years down the road.
Edward B. Colby is the Books editor of the International Business Times. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.