Dateline: Wellington, New Zealand.--Security and silence has been extremely tight around both script and casting for producer Peter Jackson's new project The Hobbit, a follow-up (actually a "prequel") to his enormously popular and profitable The Lord of the Rings films, explaining how Bilbo Baggins came to acquire the cursed Ring while helping a band of dwarves destroy a dragon. However, a minor breach of this security (involving a portion of script being left in the ladies' room of a prominent Wellington restaraunt) has prompted Phillipa Boyens to make a preemptive revelation of certain script details and casting. In an impromptu press conference Boyens announced that the British actress and writer Dawn French has been tapped to portray Bombur, a prominent dwarf in the band of thirteen that accompanies Bilbo on his quest.
"It's all an attempt on our part to 'girl up' our movie," she declares. "If there was very little female presence in The Lord of the Rings, there is practically none in The Hobbit. It's a real sausagefest. Fortunately Professor Tolkien himself provides us with an out from this difficulty." Although all the dwarves are referred to as "he" in the book, Boyens points to a footnote in the trilogy as the source of her inspiration. "It says that Dwarf women look exactly like the Dwarf men, beards and all, and that they only travel abroad in times of great need or danger. Well, what need could be greater than re-establishing the Kingdom Under The Mountain?" Boyens states that the robust character of Bombur put her immediately in mind of Dawn French, who has long been one of her inspirations and role models.
"Dawn will naturally bring her enormous comic talent to this role. Bilbo never knows that Bombur is a she, of course, and when Dawn turns her part of the Unexpected Party into a flirtatious feast, Bilbo thinks it's all part of an eating contest. There will be this undercurrent all through the films of Bombur having a little crush on him and Bilbo being totally oblivious to her. But Bombur will not only be just a fat funny dwarf. She will be a deadly warrior, one of the best of Thorin's Company, and Dawn is already taking lessons with Polish axe-master Lev Czernog to give her the skills to dazzle her way through the Battle of Five Armies."
When pressed for further details on the eagerly awaited film, Boyens merely smiled enigmatically. "You'll just have to be patient. It's a long, complex process, and fraught with contingencies. This was just a fluke; greater caution will be taken with scripts until we're ready to make more announcements. And in the meantime, some people will have to remember to flush twice."