This photo taken on October 10, 2007, shows Barry Humphries as he poses for pictures after receiving his Most Excellent Order of the British Empire. Humphries is the latest actor recruited by Peter Jackson for the upcoming “The Hobbit” movies. - AFP Photo

SYDNEY: Australian satirist Barry Humphries, best known for his characters Dame Edna Everage and Sir Les Patterson, is the latest actor recruited by Peter Jackson for the upcoming “The Hobbit” movies.

The Oscar-winning director announced on his Facebook page Monday that Humphries will play the role of the Goblin King.

“I'm highly excited that Barry Humphries will be portraying the Goblin King, in much the way Andy Serkis created Gollum,” said Jackson, adding that while Humphries was best known as a comedian and satirist, he was also a good actor.

“In his spare time, Barry is also a fine actor, and we're looking forward to seeing him invest the Goblin King with the delicate sensitivity and emotional depth this character deserves.” Also joining the cast is Evangeline Lilly, known for her role on the television series “Lost”, who will be playing a new character, the Woodland Elf Tauriel.

Another recent signing is British comedian Stephen Fry, who will play The Master of Laketown.

“Evangeline and Barry, along with Welsh actor Luke Evans as Bard, and Benedict Cumberbatch as Smaug, just about round up the major casting. I cannot wait to get stuck into these new scenes,” said Jackson.

“The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” is due to be released in December 2012, while “The Hobbit: There and Back Again” is slated for release 12 months later.

After years of wrangling and delays, the US$500 million project, a two-part prequel to blockbuster “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy, began filming in New Zealand in March.

Actors reprising their “Lord of the Rings” roles include Ian McKellen, who returns as Gandalf, Cate Blanchett as Galadriel, Orlando Bloom as Legolas, Christopher Lee as Saruman, Elijah Wood as Frodo, and Serkis as Gollum.

British actor Martin Freeman takes on the central role of Bilbo Baggins, who is swept into an epic quest to reclaim the lost Dwarf Kingdom of Erebor from the fearsome dragon Smaug.

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