(from Amazon's press release, January 2020) Amazon Studios today announced the first group of series regulars set to star in the new Amazon Original series based on stories from the iconic "The Lord of the Rings" novels by J.R.R. Tolkien. Newly revealed cast members including Robert Aramayo, Owain Arthur, Nazanin Boniadi, Tom Budge, Morfydd Clark, Ismael Cruz Córdova, Ema Horvath, Markella Kavenagh, Joseph Mawle, Tyroe Muhafidin, Sophia Nomvete, Megan Richards, Dylan Smith, Charlie Vickers, and Daniel Weyman. Production will begin in February. As previously announced, the series is led by showrunners and executive producers J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay; they are joined by filmmaker J.A. Bayona (The Orphanage, Jurassic Park: Fallen Kingdom), who is directing the first two episodes and serving as executive producer, alongside his partner Belén Atienza; with executive producers Lindsey Weber (10 Cloverfield Lane), Bruce Richmond (Game of Thrones), Gene Kelly (Boardwalk Empire), Sharon Tal Yguado, Gennifer Hutchison (Breaking Bad), Jason Cahill (The Sopranos), and Justin Doble (Stranger Things). Said McKay and Payne: "After undertaking an extensive global search, we are delighted finally to reveal the first group of brilliant performers who will take part in Amazon's The Lord of the Rings series. These exceptionally talented women and men are more than just our actors: they are the newest members of an ever-expanding creative family that is now working tirelessly to bring Middle-earth to life anew for fans and audiences worldwide." Set in Middle-earth, the television adaptation will explore new storylines preceding J.R.R. Tolkien's "The Fellowship of the Ring." A world-renowned literary work, and winner of the International Fantasy Award and Prometheus Hall of Fame Award, "The Lord of the Rings" was named Amazon customers' favorite book of the millennium in 1999 and Britain's best-loved novel of all time in BBC's The Big Read in 2003. Its theatrical adaptations, from New Line Cinema and Director Peter Jackson, earned a combined gross of nearly $6 billion worldwide and garnered a combined 17 Academy Awards, including Best Picture.