Andy Serkis has signed up to appear in 'The Hobbit'.

The 46-year-old actor - who played the ring-obsessed creature Gollum in the 'Lord Of The Rings' film franchise - is reported to have inked a deal to appear in the forthcoming movie prequel based on the J.R.R. Tolkein novel in a small but vital role.

Ian McKellan is also set to reprise his role as white wizard Gandalf, providing assistance to hobbit Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) in the Peter Jackson-directed movie, while Orlando Bloom - who played elf Legolas in the first three movies - is set to earn more than one million dollars for a two-minute cameo.

It was announced last month that Cate Blanchett would reprise her character Galadriel in the epic prequel.

Announcing the news the Australian star would return, director Peter said: "Cate is one of my favourite actors to work with and I couldn't be more thrilled to have her reprise the role she so beautifully brought to life in the earlier films."

Elijah Wood will also return to play Frodo Baggins, it was confirmed this week.

Christopher Lee is currently in talks to again take on the role of the wizard Saruman, and Ian Holm could return as an older version of Bilbo Baggins

Other actors confirmed to appear include British TV stars James Nesbitt and Robert Kazinsky.

Filming for 'The Hobbit' - which will be split into two parts - is due to begin in New Zealand next month.