Stephen Colbert, host of "The Colbert Report" on Comedy Central, is gearing up for a weeklong celebration of "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey," which will premiere during the U.S. holiday season.
The satirist is scheduled to interview the film's star's Ian McKellen (Dec. 3), Martin Freeman (Dec. 4), and Andy Serkis (Dec. 6), according to the Los Angeles Times. Colbert will also sit down with the movie's director, Peter Jackson, on Dec. 5.
"The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" is the first of three forthcoming films based on J.R.R. Tolkien's 1939 novel, "The Hobbit." The next two movies -- "The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug" and "The Hobbit: There and Back Again" -- are slated for release in 2013 and 2014, respectively. This new epic fantasy series serves as a prequel to the popular "Lord of the Rings" trilogy. It follows Bilbo Baggins (Freeman) and his quest to defeat the evil dragon Smaug (Benedict Cumberbatch).
Colbert has referenced his love of Tolkien on "The Colbert Report" a number of times. In an April 2011 episode, the Emmy Award winner quizzed actor James Franco on his knowledge of the "Lord of the Rings" franchise, and in a July 2011 segment, he compared the debt crisis to the plot of the series.
In October, the Hollywood Reporter said Colbert would make a cameo appearance in either "Desolation of Smaug" or "There and Back Again." Citing a "knowledgeable source," the media outlet did not confirm which character Colbert would portray.
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Weeks later, in an interview with Playboy, the funnyman's statements regarding the film fueled the rumor mill.
"Peter Jackson invited me to the set last year," Colbert said. "I flew out and watched them shoot some scenes and went to some locations. I saw a 25-minute cut, and it was amazing. Jackson knows I'm a big fan of the films."
When questioned whether he would be featured in the highly anticipated films, he answered, "Could be."
A bit later, Jackson addressed speculation of a Colbert cameo during an interview with Entertainment Weekly.
"I read that, too -- it was very, very interesting,” Jackson said. “It’s yet to be confirmed or denied.”
Although the filmmaker was mum on Colbert's possible cameo appearance, he did comment on the TV show host's impressive knowledge of Middle-earth.
“I have never met a bigger Tolkien geek in my life,” Jackson told EW. “Philippa Boyens is our resident Tolkien expert, and when Stephen came down to visit the set, we put him head to head with Philippa on a Tolkien quiz -- and Stephen triumphed. I have to say, his encyclopedic knowledge of Tolkien is spectacular, and points to a deprived childhood in some respects.”
It remains to be seen whether the rumors are merely a means of amping the hype surrounding the film. Perhaps Colbert will confirm his appearance in the film during during "Hobbit Week." Either way, the cast's appearance on "The Colbert Report" will counteract some of the negative attention the movie has received following allegations that filmmakers engaged in animal cruelty on set.
"The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" is set to hit U.S. theaters Dec. 14.