Rob Kazinsky will no longer play dwarf Fili in The Hobbit, as he has had to return home (to the UK) for personal reasons.
Peter Jackson's official Facebook page, which is becoming an extremely rich source of Middle-Earth info, broke the news today.
Kazinsky is still best known for his role in Eastenders. He played Sean Slater in the soap from 2006 to 2009. He'll next be seen in George Lucas-scripted WWII pilot drama Red Tails.
Jackson announced the news with the following statement: "I am sad to report that Rob Kazinsky, who was cast in the role of Fili, is having to leave The Hobbit and return home, for personal reasons.
"Rob has been terrific to work with and his enthusiasm and infectious sense of humour will be missed by all of us. I should say that Rob's departure will not affect ongoing filming of The Hobbit, nor will it impact work done to date, as we had yet to film much of Fili's storyline.
"At the moment we are shooting scenes featuring Bilbo without the Dwarves, which will give us time to find a new Fili. I'll keep everyone posted with updates as they come. Cheers, Peter J"
While it's reassuring to hear that filming won't be affected, the casting department will have a stressful task on their hands trying to find someone who has chemistry with screen brother Kili (Being Human's Aidan Turner) at such short notice.
Let's not forget that Jackson is used to recasting roles late in the day, with Viggo Mortensen only joining LOTR after already-cast Stuart Townsend was deemed too young.
That didn't turn out too badly, did it? Mark Wahlberg also replaced Ryan Gosling in The Lovely Bones under similar circumstances.
The Hobbit is still scheduled for release in December 2012.
Sad that Kazinsky's had to depart the production? Or would you have found the presence of an Eastender off-putting? Let us know below...