The Hobbit's Martin Freeman, who will play the perpetually-perturbed protagonist, Bilbo Baggins in the two-part epic, has apparently worked extremely well for the film according to director, Peter Jackson.
With the production currently on an extended hiatus as Freeman honors commitments with the BBC series, Sherlock, Jackson utilized that free time to make a surprise appearance at Comic Con last month. In an interview taken there with The LA Times, the director discusses his feelings on the performance of his film's star and how he was able to effectively carry that Hobbit sensibility with his performance.
As Jackson simply puts it, Freeman "is our Bilbo."
“I can’t imagine anyone else doing Bilbo, which is one of the reasons, really, we signed him up even with having the ‘Sherlock’ break — normally on a movie you wouldn’t want to do that with the schedule,” Jackson said. “But we literally couldn’t figure out any other actor and we auditioned, you know. There is no other actor.”
Freeman has apparently meshed with the role, capturing that necessary wide-eyed incredulity at the amazing and dangerous things that are happening around him. In that sense, he'll be playing a Hobbit whose attitude is quite different than what we've seen in The Lord of the Rings trilogy with Frodo, Sam, Merry, and Pippin, who approached their plight in either a stoic or playful demeanor. -- And, for that matter, the older, wiser Bilbo played by Ian Holm.
On Freeman's performance, Jackson comments:
“He’s Bilbo-esque,” the filmmaker said. “You might not always want to say that about you, right? But seriously he has the essential features of this little English gent, this country gent who is slightly old-fashioned and has to go around in the world and try to cope with it. That’s not exactly who Martin is as a person, but as an actor he does that so well. The fish out of water with a sense of courage but also a wonderful sense of humor. The things that happen to him and the way he reacts to them — things he’s never seen in his life before as a stuffy little Hobbit — his response to it all is part of the charm. And he does have a great openness in his face.”
It's certainly good to hear that after years of fan requests that Freeman be given the role (especially after his performance as Arthur Dent in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy,) that the proverbial "fan dream-casting" situation is actually succeeding.