“The Way Back” and “Lovely Bones” star Saoirse Ronan has been confirmed as a cast member of Peter Jackson’s “The Hobbit."

Ronan has long been linked to the role of the elf warrior maiden Itaril. Now the movie’s casting director Ros Hubbard has confirmed that she has officially signed on.

Speaking to IFTN, Hubbard talked about signing Irish stars James Nesbitt and Aidan Turner for the movie. He said, “Jimmy Nesbitt is thrilled to bits, his whole family have gone out, it is just wonderful. And working with Peter Jackson, the director, is like working with a family. So they’ll have a great time.

“Saoirse’s family will go too, everyone is very close and very loving on those sorts of jobs. It’s not like typical studio movies at all.”

Earlier this week the constantly disrupted Tolkien movie suffered yet another set back as Peter Jackson was brought to hospital. Jackson has undergone an operation for a perforated stomach ulcer and is believed to be recovering well.

The movie starring Ian McKellen, Cate Blanchett and Orlando Bloom is expected to begin production in February. British actor Martin Freeman will play the role of Bilbo Baggins.

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