The Hobbit has lost one of its dwarves. Rob Kazinsky, who was set to play dwarf, Fili, has dropped out of the film for unspecified personal reasons. (Which he later revealed to be health-related.)
Kazinsky's departure leaves a vacancy for the potentially critical role, which would have Fili playing opposite of brother Kili (Aidan Turner) as the fun-loving nephews of head dwarf Thorin (Richard Armitage) who also happen to be the youngest in the group of dwarves who will accompany Martin Freeman's Bilbo Baggins. The chemistry between the brethren duo would likely shape-up in a fashion similar to Hobbits, Merry and Pippin in The Lord of the Rings films. Thus, the search for a replacement, should require some extensive screen testing.
However, director Peter Jackson would go out of his way to assure fans that this cast exit was not symptomatic of yet another obstacle to hit this delay-plagued production.
As Jackson posted on his Facebook page:
"I am sad to report that Rob Kazinsky, who was cast in the role of Fili, is having to leave The Hobbit and return home, for personal reasons. Rob has been terrific to work with and his enthusiasm and infectious sense of humour will be missed by all of us. I should say that Rob’s departure will not affect ongoing filming of The Hobbit, nor will it impact work done to date, as we had yet to film much of Fili’s storyline. At the moment we are shooting scenes featuring Bilbo without the Dwarves, which will give us time to find a new Fili. I’ll keep everyone posted with updates as they come.
Kazinsky also took to Twitter to express his regret over the situation:
"Thanks for all your support, Peter and team have been the most wonderful and supportive team to work for and it’s with a truly sad heart that things have turned out this way. The Hobbit will go on to be as great as i’ve seen and I will miss the family and friends that i’ve here, From every disaster i’ve tried to make an opportunity.
“john d rokerfeller”
It's a shame that such a great opportunity has slipped through Kazinsky's fingers. However, at least it won't be a critical setback for the film, as production has just started to get underway for the past few weeks.
With Peter Jackson recently confirming that Ian Holm will indeed return to reprise his Lord of the Rings role as an aged version of main character Bilbo Baggins, fans can at least take the bad news with the good.