Yesterday, The Sun reported that Martin Freeman (The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy) had unfortunately turned down a seven-figure deal for the lead role as Bilbo Baggins in The Hobbit due to a previous commitment to the BBC series, Sherlock. Every Hobbit fan everywhere even vaguely familiar with Martin Freeman’s work immediately crumpled into a ball on the floor and cried themselves to sleep, myself included.
Thankfully, we can all stop weeping—at least for now. Because according to Entertainment Weekly and a source close to The Hobbit production, New Line, MGM, and Peter Jackson are all so hell-bent on landing Martin Freeman in the titular role that they’ve come back to him with a revised schedule that would allow the comedic actor to play both Dr. Watson and Bilbo Baggins. Score one for the good guys.
This is the rare sort of film news that gives a J.R.R. Tolkien fan hope. Not only does Martin Freeman look enough like Ian Holm, the previous actor to play the lovable Bilbo Baggins, but he also looks and acts almost exactly as one would picture Bilbo himself. Freeman is slightly pudgy, semi-short, dryly funny, incredibly likable, and he’s proven himself to play the lovable loser perfectly (U.K. The Office, Love Actually).
If that’s not Bilbo Baggins, I don’t know what is.
This is the second bit of news to drop regarding The Hobbit casting in the past few weeks, much to my delight. Previously, Sylvester McCoy let slip that he was up for a wizard role, likely that of Radagast the Brown. All of this indicates that despite MGM’s financial troubles and the loss of Guillermo del Toro as a director, things are moving forward with the fantasy film project. Seriously, everybody, stop weeping. We might actually truly for serious this time be getting a big-screen, live-action version of The Hobbit.
MGM, New Line, and Freeman's people are currently negotiating a deal. If a deal is struck, could this be the definitive news Peter Jackson promised us as of last month? When we know something, rest assured, so will you.
Source: Entertainment Weekly