Do We Have Our Hobbit?

by | Sep 9th, 2010 | 1:43PM | Filed under: Hollywood Chatter

Guillermo del Toro backed out of The Hobbit months ago, no new director has been announced, and MGM is still in serious financial trouble, so despite rumors trickling out of Middle Earth itself (aka: New Zealand) that things might be moving forward soon, I’d been extraordinarily worried about the ultimate fate of Peter Jackson’s planned two-part LOTR prequel.

Until today. Today I’m feeling slightly better about things.  And it’s all thanks to “the original Jim” (aka Martin Freeman, whose character in the BBC version was “Tim”) from The Office.  He’s the latest actor to be mentioned in the same breath as “Bilbo Baggins,” but this time it seems the gossip might carry quite a bit of truth along with it.

According to multiple sources, including Entertainment Weekly and, Freeman has been one of the top choices to play Bilbo for a long, long time. He supposedly entered into negotiations for the role, but then talks recently broke down after he declined a seven-figure offer because of his commitment to the British series Sherlock (in which he plays Watson). However, the latest word is that New Line and MGM are trying to work around Freeman’s schedule — that’s how badly they want him involved. (If you’re interested in the latest on MGM’s situation, check out yesterday’s L.A. Times report of a possible restructuring and management change.)

I, for one, would be thrilled if Freeman lands the gig. Though I enjoy the American version of The Office, I much prefer the Brits’ take on things, and Martin’s turn as Tim just broke my heart.  I also liked him as Arthur Dent in the 2005 big-screen adaptation of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.  So I’m hoping this is one Hobbit rumor that pans out!

What do other LOTR fans think about this news?  Would you be down with Freeman as Bilbo, or are you still pining for James McAvoy to go There and Back Again, or are you going to start a petition for someone else entirely?

8 Responses to “Do We Have Our Hobbit?”

  1. Mary
    Posted on September 9, 2010 at 2:26 pm

    I’m always pining for James McAvoy. swoon.

  2. billy
    Posted on September 10, 2010 at 8:58 am

    I would love to have Martin Freeman rather than James McAvoy. Don’t get me wrong, I really like McAvoy, it’s just that Freeman already looks like a bit of a hobbit. And, just like in Hitchhikers, he can definitely play the grumpy, reluctant adventurer. In fact, I would go as far as to say that it wouldn’t surprise me in the least to learn that Douglas Adams wrote Arthur Dent’s character as a little bit of an homage to Bilbo Baggins.

  3. Kelly, UK
    Posted on September 10, 2010 at 10:22 am

    Martin Freeman did a very good job in both the Sherlock and The Office roles – I hope you get to see Sherlock, by the way because it’s brilliant – but I don’t think he would be as good as James McAvoy. Freeman doesn’t really stand out very much, he’s a kind of an ‘everyman’. Do you remember him in Love Actually? The reason I enjoyed him as Watson was because he was like the straight man to the larger than life slightly insane Holmes, providing a perfect balance.
    McAvoy just lights up the screen and can play tender and vulnerable, or confident and cocky really easily. He is a real talent. But I guess he’s put himself out of the running.

  4. Locke Peterseim
    Locke Peterseim
    Posted on September 10, 2010 at 11:12 am

    Right, Kelly, but that’s EXACTLY how Bilbo SHOULD be :) He shouldn’t really stand out at first or be cocky or confident — he should be a befuddled, lost, everyhobbit and we know Martin can do that!

  5. Erika Olson

    Posted on September 10, 2010 at 11:12 am

    Oh my gosh, how did I forget to mention Freeman in Love Actually!?! Yes, I do remember him in that and he was brilliant. I haven’t seen Sherlock but will put it on my list!

    I would still be happy with McAvoy, too, don’t get me wrong. He is lovely. : )

    - Erika

  6. Jennifer Sci Fi Friend
    Posted on September 10, 2010 at 5:38 pm

    The real question is how well will PJ’s Hobbit really do after the majestic LOTR? I never read the story golly gee knows I tried numerous times. However, I did see numerous times the 1977 version which gave me nightmares for always. The nazgul still freak me out from the cartoon.

    So sadly while I agree with Locke (grrr argh) that Bilbo needs to “befuddled, lost and every hobbit” what about the actor from Shaun of the Dead??? While McAvoy is great eye candy where is his depth??? Not sure about the other guy mentioned but I love BBC shows so I will have to check out Sherlock!

  7. Kelly, UK
    Posted on September 17, 2010 at 1:47 am

    Okay, I admit I haven’t actually read this book and didn’t know much about the character. In that case Freeman will be great, or as Jennifer said, Simon Pegg would be good too (Scotty in Star Trek).

  8. Jennifer Sci Fi Friend
    Posted on September 17, 2010 at 11:07 am

    Oh that’s right! Alternate universe Scotty. Now I have to go watch Star Trek again, he was hysterical. Never knew his real name though!