‘Lord Of The Rings’ – Amazon Announces 20 New Cast Members For Their Series!
Amazon Studios have ramped up casting… in a big way! Today the production has announced twenty(!) additional cast members joining the ensemble of the Amazon Original series based on the iconic The Lord of the Rings novels by J.R.R. Tolkien. The newly revealed cast members will join the previously announced global cast and crew, currently filming in New Zealand.
The new cast members include Sir Lenny Henry, Cynthia Addai-Robinson, Maxim Baldry, Ian Blackburn, Kip Chapman, Anthony Crum, Maxine Cunliffe, Trystan Gravelle, Thusitha Jayasundera, Fabian McCallum, Simon Merrells,? Geoff Morrell, Peter Mullan, Lloyd Owen, Augustus Prew, Peter Tait, Alex Tarrant, Leon Wadham, Benjamin Walker and Sara Zwangobani.
Blackburn, Chapman, Crum, Cunliffe, Tait, Tarrant and Wadham all hail from New Zealand, with the remaining international ensemble cast originating from Australia, Sri Lanka, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
The new cast members join the previously announced Robert Aramayo, Owain Arthur, Nazanin Boniadi, Tom Budge, Morfydd Clark, Ismael Cruz Córdova, Ema Horvath, Markella Kavenagh, Joseph Mawle, Tyroe Muhafidin, Sophia Nomvete, Megan Richards, Dylan Smith, Charlie Vickers, and Daniel Weyman.
“The world that J.R.R. Tolkien created is epic, diverse, and filled with heart,” commented showrunners and executive producers J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay. “These extraordinarily talented performers, hailing from across the globe, represent the culmination of a multi-year search to find brilliant and unique artists to bring that world to life anew. The international cast of Amazon’s The Lord of the Rings series is more than just an ensemble. It is a family. We are thrilled to welcome each of them to Middle-earth.”
Whilst we don’t officially know a lot about the plot of the new television adaptation, we do know it is set in Middle-earth, the television adaptation will explore new storylines preceding J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Fellowship of the Ring. From the little bits of information teased by the official Twitter account, it looks like it will not only feature mainland Middle-earth, but also the island of Númenor. This would be a location which has not been seen before on screen, mainly due to it not existing in the Third Age when the films were set. It was sunk beneath the waves by “The Valar” (basically the Gods of Middle-Earth) after the Númenóreans disobeyed them when the king was corrupted by Sauron. It is also the place from which Aragorn’s bloodline descends.
We also don’t officially know who anyone is playing right now, but we do have some background on the acting chops of the new cast members:
Sir Lenny Henry – It’s not like he needs any introduction, but Sir Len is, of course, one of Britain’s best-known comedians, as well as a writer, philanthropist and award-winning actor. Along with a myriad of theatre credits, he’s appeared on tv in drama such as ‘Broadchurch’, ‘The Syndicate’, ‘The Long Song’ and his biographic ‘Danny and The Human Zoo’.
Cynthia Addai-Robinson was most recently was a series regular on the STARZ series ‘Power’, and also starring alongside Ryan Phillipe in the USA series ‘Shooter’. You might also know her from her breakout role as Naevia in ‘Spartacus: War of the Damned’., the major recurring role of Dr. Vicki Glass in ‘Chicago Med’, or Amanda Waller on ‘Arrow’.
Maxim Baldry starred as Viktor in Russell T Davies’ critically acclaimed BBC and HBO drama ‘Years and Years’, and was a guest lead in the final series of Sky One and Cinemax’s action-adventure series ‘Strike Back’. His first breakthrough came from his role as Stepan in ‘Mr. Bean’s Holiday’, opposite Rowan Atkinson, and he also popped up in 2020 ‘Doctor Who’ episode “The Haunting of Villa Diodati”.
Ian Blackburn is an 18-year-old actor, born and raised in Wellington, New Zealand. Whilst at school, Ian performed in multiple plays including Wellington High School’s annual Shakespeare Society production of The Taming of the Shrew, Romeo and Juliet, Much Ado About Nothing, King Lear, and a 2020 production of The Tempest in which he played ‘Prospero’. He appeared in the 2016 short film Unbreakable Beau.
Kip Chapman is a recipient of New Zealand’s highest Arts honour, an Arts Foundation Laureate, receiving a New Generation Award in 2013. He was a core cast member of the Emmy Award-winning drama ‘Top of the Lake’ directed by Jane Campion and in the films ‘6 Days’ and ‘Fantail’.
Anthony Crum hails from Whangarei, and is an actor and standup comedian based in Auckland, New Zealand. Anthony starred as ‘Griffin’ in the short film ‘Foam’ and as Rat-Tail in the upcoming Amazon series ‘The Wilds‘. On stage, he’s tread the boards as The Beauxhomme in ‘Once on this Island’, The Bürgermeister in ‘The Visit’, and Caliban in Shakespeare’s ‘The Tempest’.
Maxine Cunliffe is a London-born actor and musician from a Sierra Leonean and Caribbean heritage who has lived in New Zealand since the early 2000s. Maxine is best known on-screen for ‘Power Rangers Megaforce’, and short films ‘Divinity’, ‘Reset’, and ‘Fract’.
Trystan Gravelle’s TV credits include a series regular role in AMC’s ‘The Terror’, Channel 4’s ‘National Treasure’, ‘A Discovery of Witches’ on Sky One, BBC One’s ‘Baptiste’, and Apple TV’s ‘Trying’. He recently featured alongside Jessie Buckley and Johnny Flynn in the BAFTA award-winning feature film ‘Beast’.
Thusitha Jayasundera has a massive string of theatre credits to her name, from ‘The Divide’ at the Old Vic, to ‘The Caucasian Chalk Circle’ at National Theatre, and ‘Pentecost’ at RSC. Her TV and film credits include ‘Midsomer Murders’, ‘Doctor Foster’ (Ros Mahendra), ‘Humans’ (Neha Patel), ‘Broadchurch’, ‘Lewis’, ‘Silent Witness’, ‘Goodnight Sweetheart’, ‘Holby City’ (Tushara “Tash” Bandara), and many many more!
Fabian McCallum made his international screen debut alongside Megan Mullally, Rob Lowe and Jenna Fischer in Sky One series ‘You, Me & The Apocalypse’. Prior to that, he guest-starred in German/Australian co-production ‘In Your Dreams’ and in short films including Meryl Tankard’s Moth alongside Sophie Lowe.
Simon Merrells recently played Templar Knight Tancrede on History’s drama series ‘Knightfall’. and appeared in Amazon/BBC’s ‘Good Omens’. Prior to that, he played Marcus Crassus in ‘Spartacus’, and had guest roles on Syfy’s ’12 Monkeys’, ‘DC’s Legends of Tomorrow’, BBC’s ‘The Musketeers’, along with recurring roles on SyFy’s ‘Dominion’, The CW’s ‘Tomorrow People’.
Geoff Morrell most recently appeared in ‘Harrow’ as Dr. Laurie Badcoe, ‘Top Of The Lake: China Girl’, ‘Rake’, and ABCTV drama ‘The Code’. His Other tv credits include ‘Home and Away’, ‘The Bill’, and ‘Farscape’, along with the films ‘Rogue’, ’10 Empty’ and ‘Ned Kelly’.
Peter Mullan is a veteran Scottish actor and filmmaker who recently starred in Netflix series ‘Cursed’ as the evil Father Carden, and on ‘Westworld’ as James Delos. His other work includes the films ‘Braveheart’, ‘Trainspotting’, ‘War Horse’, and the Harry Potter film series, along with tv shows such as BBC’s ‘Mum’, ITV’s ‘The Fixer’, and Netflix’s ‘Ozark’.
Lloyd Owen is best known on tv for the series ‘Monarch of the Glen’ where he played Paul Bowman, and ‘The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles’ where he played Henry Jones, Sr. He also starred in ‘Viva Laughlin’ for CBS, NBC/Sky production ‘You, Me and the Apocalypse’, and the movie ‘Apollo 18’.
Augustus Prew recently appeared on Apple’s ‘The Morning Show’, and had the recurring guest star role of Whip in FOX’s ‘Prison Break’ revival series. He’s also had sizable roles in ‘The Borgias’, Netflix’s ‘Special’, and CBS’s ‘Pure Genius’.
Peter Tait has been working in the industry since the early 1980s, creating his own work as well as appearing in NZ projects and international TV and film. As evident in his own work, Peter has a penchant for offbeat comedy, however, roles in ‘Underworld: Rise of the Lycans’, ‘The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King’, and ‘Desperate Remedies’ have given him the ability to show another side to his talents on the big screen.
Alex Tarrant played leading roles in the WW1 miniseries ‘When We Go To War’, the BBC co-production ‘Tatau’, and 3 seasons of the Australian hit ‘800 Words’. He then joined the core cast of the award-winning racy drama ‘Filthy Rich’, which streamed on Hulu.
Leon Wadham was a series lead in TV2’s ‘Go Girls’ and has appeared in numerous New Zealand television projects including ‘Bad Seed’, ‘The Brokenwood Mysteries’, ‘When We Go To War’, ‘Terry Teo’ and ‘Pirates of the Airwaves’. His international screen credits include ‘Power Rangers Beast Morphers’, and ‘Roman Empire’.
Benjamin Walker is probably best known to our readers as Erik Gelden in ‘Jessica Jones’, and also appeared in Channel 4 drama ‘Traitors’. Ben just wrapped a lead role opposite Liam Neeson and Laurence Fishburne in the independent feature ‘The Ice Road’.
Sara Zwangobani has appeared in many popular Australian television shows such as ‘Doctor Doctor’, ‘All Saints’, ‘Packed to the Rafters’, ‘Love My Way’, and ‘Home and Away’ where she played Jodi Anderson. Her feature film credits include ‘Disgrace’ (produced by Emile Sherman) and ‘Merchant of Fairness’.
As previously announced, the series is led by showrunners and executive producers J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay; they are joined by filmmaker J.A. Bayona, who is directing the first two episodes and serving as executive producer, alongside his creative partner Belén Atienza; with executive producers Lindsey Weber, Bruce Richmond, Callum Greene, Gennifer Hutchison, Jason Cahill, Justin Doble and Sharon Tal Yguado.
We don’t know exactly when the ‘Lord Of The Rings’ tv series will land on Amazon, but as it is filming now, you would hope we see it at some point in 2021. We do know it was picked up with a massive multi-season commitment. The show will be produced by Amazon Studios in cooperation with the Tolkien Estate and Trust, HarperCollins and New Line Cinema, a division of Warner Bros. Entertainment. We’ll bring you more as we get it.