Here’s something quite interesting. The latest piece of casting news from Hobbiton, New Zealand is that Stephen Fry – the part-time actor, full-time national treasure who splits his time between recording Harry Potter audiobooks and lampooning general ignorance – is set to play The Master of Laketown in Peter Jackson’s big-screen adaptation of The Hobbit.

Announced on Facebook, the character is best described as an intelligent and charismatic individual, despite a weakness of character which leaves him greedy and overcome by a lust for treasure. A flaw somewhat exploited by conniving servant Alfrid, to be played by Ryan Gage.

The release also features a new image. While not taken from the film itself, it does pit Jackson against a third addition to the cast. The hulking Conan Stevens, seen towering to the right of his new director in the image below, who will play an Orc called Azog.

With The Hobbit finally on track for an actual release, don’t let this latest batch of additions suggest that the casting phase is now complete. One further rumour – and at present it is just that – is that Benedict Cumberbatch (Sherlock Holmes to you) may be joining his dear Watson on set. While reports suggest that Bilbo actor Martin Freeman dropped the actor’s name backstage at last night’s BAFTAs, no confirmation has yet been made.

UPDATE: This casting news has now been confirmed, Cumberbatch has officially joined the The Hobbit in an as yet undisclosed role.

“I can’t say at the moment, thank you very much.”

Freeman, meanwhile, who let the information slip at last night’s BAFTAs, commented on his earlier revelation.

“I knew I was a sort of a big mouth but I didn’t realise to what extent I was a big mouth, and I’ve just ruined everything. I might not actually go back to a job – they might have just sacked me.”

The film is currently shooting in New Zealand, for a 2012-13 release.