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Martin Freeman was ‘first choice’ for Bilbo

September 7, 2010 at 10:21 am by MrCere  - 

With the recent news, from the somewhat questionable source at The Sun, that Martin Freeman has declined to be a lead in two ‘Hobbit’ films, it is time to talk Bilbo Baggins.

While we have no information (yet) if Freeman actually turned down the role, we can say with absolute certainty that he was the first choice to step into the hairy Hobbit feet as early as last year. Developing and keeping good sources means that sometimes secrets must stay secret but since Freeman has been outed now, we can definitively declare that ‘The Sun’ article is absolutely talking about the right actor and so the rest of the story may well have merit.

However, the source, or the authors, seem confused about some facts, leaving the rest it doubt. The story claims in quotes: “MGM, who are making the film, only got a formal offer over in the last couple of weeks.”

Those following the production, even moderately carefully, will know that MGM is in deep financial trouble and it seems much more likely that the offer, if a formal one was provided, would have come from Warner Bros. and not MGM which lacks a leadership team. But, if a formal offer did come, it points toward MGM’s September 15 deadline as actually having some teeth with significant change in the near future with the legendary studio, allowing production to start on a pair of ‘Hobbit’ films based on the children’s book by J.R.R. Tolkien.

The story also fits with news we heard recently of another round of casting for Bilbo, despite hearing that Freeman was already very much wanted for the role, lending the idea that he no longer in the picture some credibility. On that front we will follow up with a story later and perhaps an inadvertently leaked story detail.

The whole waiting game that forced director Guillermo del Toro to step away from the production and get back to his job or directing movies may have cost the films an excellent ‘Bilbo’ as well. If readers will permit just a bit of editorializing, this reporter at least was very much looking forward to seeing Martin as Bilbo Baggins and can only hope that ‘The Sun’ was given incorrect information or that Freeman would reconsider or somehow juggle his schedule and not pass up a role that would immortalize him and deliver perfectly for fans.

Posted in Casting Rumors, Characters, Director Rumors, Guillermo Del Toro, Headlines, Hobbit Book, Hobbit Movie, MGM, Studios on September 7, 2010 by Martin Freeman was ‘first choice’ for Bilbo | Discuss
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9 responses to “Martin Freeman was ‘first choice’ for Bilbo”

  1. Matt Saari says:

    I seem to recall that early in the casting process, his comments seemed less than enthused about playing the role. He said something about being the front runner seemed like an insult. He has always had a bit of a dry sense of humor, so the ‘oh great I look like am effing goblin’ sentiment may just have been jest. Either way, I hope the producers cast the truly perfect man for the job: Russel Tovey. His moody work as George in Being Human is very compatible with Bilbo.

  2. Rich says:

    I don’t think he was the right choice

    Good TV actor but not in Ian Holm’s class

  3. Adamsmith65 says:

    He would have been a great choice, I hope that Tom Hollander is in the frame

  4. Guest says:

    I really hope they will give an unknown up-and-comer this chance. It worked wonderfully with Boyd, Monaghan, and Orlando before!

  5. Reibusu says:

    If he had already signed a deal for the second series of Sherlock, fans can’t be so arrogant as to expect him to just go back on it as soon as he’s offered the Hobbit role.

  6. Pete359 says:

    Well that sucks.

    I guess the next best thing is for PJ to invent a time machine and travel back and kidnap a 40 year old Ian Holm.

  7. Tolkienfan(PL) says:

    How could you expect that Martin Freeman will drop just like that a big BBC project for a movie that is in talks for over four years and still doesn’t have a greenlight from a studio that has big financial problems?
    I know one thing for sure: if they won’t hurry up with things, after GDT the second to quit “The Hobbit” project will be Ian McKellen. And if it happen we’ll have a burning ground instead of a ready-to-shoot project.
    Greed destroys art, always had and always will. Congrats MgM.

  8. Dan First says:

    If I were worried about going broke (MGM) and i had a gold mine right outside my back door (The Hobbit) I would quit my bickering and get to work!

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