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'Cold Feet's' James Nesbitt cast as dwarf in 'The Hobbit'

"Cold Feet" actor James Nesbitt has been cast as a dwarf in Peter Jackson's "The Hobbit", the director's Wingnut Films said Wednesday.

Nesbitt will play the dwarf Bofur in the two-part prequel to "The Lord of the Rings", which is due to begin filming in New Zealand in February after an industrial dispute that had threatened the production was settled late last month.

"James's charm, warmth and wit are legendary as is his range as an actor in both comedic and dramatic roles," Jackson said in a statement.

The statement said pre-production for the movies was in full swing and they were scheduled for release in December 2012 and December 2013.

British actor Martin Freeman from "The Office" was confirmed as the lead character of Bilbo Baggins last month.