The official letter from Peter Jackson about cast additions:
"Yikes! I can finally get back to some postings! We've finished our first block of shooting and moved straight into location scouting. More on that soon... But today, I'm thrilled to announce two new cast members who will be joining us for our second block of shooting.
Evangeline Lilly will be playing a new character—the Woodland Elf, Tauriel. Her name means 'daughter of Mirkwood' and, beyond that, we must leave you guessing! (No, there is no romantic connection to Legolas.) What is not a secret is how talented and compelling an actress Evangeline is; we are thrilled and excited she will be the one to bring our first true Sylvan Elf to life.
I'm also highly excited that Barry Humphries will be portraying the Goblin King, in much the way Andy Serkis created Gollum. Barry is perhaps best known for his business and social connections as the long-time manager of Dame Edna Everage. He has also been an ardent supporter of the rather misunderstood and unfairly maligned Australian politician, Sir Les Patterson. However, 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.
Evangeline and Barry, along with Welsh actor Luke Evans as Bard and Benedict Cumberbatch as Smaug, just about rounds out the major casting. I cannot wait to get stuck into these new scenes!
More soon, including a flurry of answers to your questions. Sorry for the delay!