Martin Freeman negotiating to star in “The Hobbit”

British actor Martin Freeman of the original UK “The Office”  (or should I say the nude movie stand-in guy in “Love, Actually”?) is currently in talks to star as Bilbo Baggins in MGM’s two-film version of J.R.R. Tolkein’s “The Hobbit.”

It was reported yesterday by UK paper The Sun that Freeman had turned down the role due to conflicts with his part as Watson on BBC’s “Sherlock,” but now, Entertainment Weekly has dug further into the reports and found that sources close to production say New Line and MGM have approached Freeman again with a shooting schedule that would accommodate both the show and the fantasy epic/role of a lifetime.

Freeman is virtually an unknown quantity in Hollywood though he did star in the movie version of another major book-to-film adaptation, “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.” He certainly has credentials as well as the look of a hobbit and in a film of this reputation, there’s no need for the troubled MGM to be concerned about having a big-name actor.

Auditions have taken place all over the world to find the right Bilbo, but if there’s any ring of truth to this (ok, maybe pun intended), it’s very clear that they want Freeman. Obviously not just because they’re offering him the part, but because they’re willing to renegotiate the shooting schedule of an already delayed project to fit him in. Plus, as already mentioned, MGM is not exactly strolling along here in terms of time and money.

Personally, Freeman seems ideal. He’s got the look and a nice balance between unrecognized and respected in the movie/TV world on both sides of the pond. I don’t know if Bilbo will allow Freeman to flex his comedic talents, but those are available as well. Let’s hope this is the beginning of a bunch of casting confirmations for the highly anticipated two-parter.

1 Comment

  1. Michael Moramarco says:

    This choice would make for the best “Hobbit” possible. I could not agree more.

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