The sporadic, almost contradictory reports that we seem to get regarding the beleaguered film adaptation of The Hobbit seems to be shifting its focus to casting. After the recent rumor about ancillary character Radagast The Brown, it seems that the folks over at New Line and MGM may have their sights set on main character Bilbo Baggins. With his name having been in the dream-casting mix for about half a decade, the UK's Martin Freeman has found himself in the latest rumor spotlight. According to Entertainment Weekly, he is apparently not only a favorite by the studio to take the coveted starring role, but it seems the entire schedule may end up shifting to accommodate him, should he take it.
The news comes after a recent report which claimed that Freeman, star of the UK's original version of The Office and The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, was forced to turn down the role due to a conflicting commitment to play Dr. Watson on the upcoming BBC series Sherlock. While that report was indeed true, it failed to take into account the still fluctuating shooting schedule for The Hobbit which has resulted from its long status in involuntary developmental purgatory. According to EW's report, it seems that the two studios are so high up on Martin Freeman, that they have offered him the role with a revised shooting schedule that would allow him to fulfill his other commitments. With other long-rumored Bilbo front-runner James McAvoy locked-down for Professor Xavier in X-Men: First Class and plans to reprise his lead role in Wanted 2, signs are pointing to this rumor as legit.
If you ask me, Freeman was tailor-made for the role of Bilbo. In many ways, Bilbo is quite similar to that of Freeman's character in Hitchhiker of Arthur Dent, in which his performance was a highlight. He's an impish, reserved man, who is used to controlling his small environment, rarely venturing outside it. Suddenly, he finds himself on an adventure that forces him to step outside his little microcosm and challenges his perceptions. We all got to see the free-spirited end-product of a man that Bilbo eventually becomes in The Fellowship of the Ring, masterfully played by Ian Holm. However, this role will require an actor that can live Bilbo's evolution on screen for us. It requires someone who's not quite polished and can carry a constant aura of discomfort and awkwardness. He needs to be a character with whom the audience can both laugh at and sympathize. Martin Freeman, I believe, has the right looks and fits that mold perfectly.
How are you taking the possibility of Martin Freeman becoming our new barrel-riding, dragon-taunting, hole-dweller? Have anyone else in mind?
Source: Entertainment Weekly