Amazon Studios’ upcoming television adaptation of the works of J.R.R. Tolkien is now in the process of finalizing casting. Earlier today various TV news outlets confirmed that former Game of Thrones actor Joseph Mawle would be joining the cast of the Lord of the Rings series.
Though Amazon Studios declined to comment on this story, it is believed that Mawle will be playing a potential villain for the Lord of the Rings series by the name of Oren. Mawle will serve as a lead for the series, joining lead actors Will Poulter of the Maze Runner series and Markella Kavenagh of the 2018 mini-series The Cry. Mawle himself is known for his work on Game of Thrones, where he played the role of Benjen Stark, a First Ranger of the Night’s Watch. The casting process for the Lord of the Rings series has taken place across the globe, with Amazon reading actors from the U.S., U.K., and Australia.
The series itself is currently in pre-production. In addition to Amazon Studios, the series is being produced alongside the Tolkien Estate and Trust, HarperCollins and New Line Cinema. Word that the Lord of the Rings series was being developed first broke back in 2017, but news since then has been limited, and the full creative team of the show was not confirmed until earlier this year. Production on the series will begin in Auckland, New Zealand in the coming months.
This high-budget production could mean big things for the New Zealand economy as a whole. The original Lord of the Rings films from director Peter Jackson were also filmed in New Zealand, and Forbes estimates that the New Zealand film industry brought in about NZD $3 billion for the country, which is otherwise reliant on small businesses and agriculture. Lord of the Rings tourism now plays an huge role in New Zealand, bringing in up to NZD $33 million (approx. USD $27 million) per year. However, New Zealanders are hoping for a more positive interaction with the upcoming Amazon Studios production than they experienced back in 2012 when The Hobbit film trilogy was produced. The controversial “Hobbit Law” introduced by the New Zealand government at the time led to many of the actors from The Hobbit feel disrespected and taken advantage of, which you can read more about here.
The Lord of the Rings series is set to premiere some time in 2021. Further details have not yet been announced.