Brian Cox To Play A Dwarf In The Hobbit?

This is rumour control...

Ain't It Cool's "Down-under correspondent" has picked up an unverified but not unlikely sounding bit of casting rumour for Peter Jackson and Guillermo Del Toro's The Hobbit. Brian Cox is apparently "a major contender" for one of the dwarves.

So, speculating hat on. There are a bakers' dozen dwarves in The Hobbit: Fili, Kili, Oin, Gloin (Gimli's dad), Dwalin, Balin, Bifur, Bofur, Bombur, Dori, Nori, Ori, and of course, main-man Thorin Oakenshield.

[Spoilers coming if you haven't read the book]. Most obvious of those roles for an actor of repute would be Thorin (it's pronounced Thaureen, you know): haughty, stern and officious; all traits that Cox has played before with aplomb. He fights alongside Gandalf in the goblin tunnels and dies a heroic death at the Battle of the Five Armies. But he's also a bit annoying and rubbish: getting himself captured before anyone else at Mirkwood, making serious diplomatic gaffes at Laketown and throwing a big strop when Bilbo nicks the Arkenstone. Anyone who spent hours playing the Spectrum game in the 80s, in which Thorin spent vast tracts of time sitting on his arse singing about gold and refusing to help you out of the goblin's dungeon, will have tried to cleave his skull on many occasions.

So if he didn't fancy a bluff idiot, albeit one with a meaty dramatic arc, maybe Cox would also be a good fit for Balin, whose tomb we already visited in The Fellowship of the Ring. Or maybe even Bombur, Bilbo's fat comic-relief mate, who has to be carried or rope-lifted whenever the terrain gets difficult. He's versatile, is Cox.

But maybe he's not on board at all. Do we hope he is or hope he isn't? Will all dwarves in this franchise be grandstanding Scots? And is there a role of greater stature you think might fit Cox better?