Evangeline Lilly found it ''liberating'' playing a new character in 'The Hobbit' movies.

The former 'Lost' actress joined the cast as Tauriel in second movie 'The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug' and though she was concerned people would instinctively dislike her because she didn't appear in J.R.R. Tolkein's novel, she was relieved not to have to worry about living up to expectations.

She explained: ''It was totally liberating that Tauriel was a new character.

''I was, of course, aware that I would be under deeper scrutiny because people would be wanting to hate her, but once the decision was made to do it, then it was nothing but a blessing.

''At that point it was all about, 'Let's create the best character possible so that people have to fall in love with her' instead of, 'How do I live up to 50 years of people envisioning this character?'''

Movie boss Sir Peter Jackson was keen to introduce Tauriel because he wanted a ''great kick-ass chick'' in the thick of the action.

He told SFX magazine: ''It was a very cold-blooded decision to cast a female character because there's a lot of strength in women within the Elvish rank.

''We just wanted to have a really great kick-ass chick, basically.''