One of our very favorite magazines, EMPIRE Magazine, is publishing their ‘The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey’ edition tomorrow, and they have exclusively shared a few excerpts with us here at This special edition of the magazine will feature a detailing of their set visit in New Zealand, with a special focus on Gollum and Bilbo’s ‘Riddles in the Dark’ sequence.

The excerpt below features Martin Freeman (Bilbo) and Andy Serkis (Gollum) talking about bringing their characters and this memorable sequence from book to screen. For those of you who can’t pick up a copy of the magazine locally, check out the iPad edition. The US iPad edition of EMPIRE will be released tomorrow via the iTunes store, and it is a complete steal for only $20/yr, $1.99/mo or $4.99 an issue. EMPIRE is one of the best entertainment magazines out there and have always treated Tolkien fans to some amazing content. Make sure to pick up your copy! [iPad Editon] [iTunes] [EMPIRE Online]

[Excerpt from EMPIRE Magazine – Exclusively for]


Freeman: [On Bilbo] “It’s funny. Peter particularly wanted to talk about how English Bilbo is, how hobbits are these English gents. But that wasn’t helpful. I am English, so I can’t play English. I get it, there’s a sort of fastidiousness about him, a kind of uptightness.”

Serkis: [On Martin Freeman as Bilbo Baggins]”It was clear as day it should have been him, but he’s so mercurial in his performance. You just don’t know what you are going to get. Yet he’s brilliant at taking direction. There’s a rhythm that one works with Martin. He likes to try it his way and then you start saying, ‘What about this?’ When he gets it, it’s gold. And it’s so totally Bilbo. In all these films it is about finding the character moments within the bigger canvas.”

Freeman: “I want Bilbo to be three-dimensional”[without the aid of special cameras, Freeman means.] “I want him to be as real as you can be in Middle-earth. Also I’m a believer in knowing what state you are in — because I am not in Dog Day Afternoon, I’m in The Hobbit — and so pitching it accordingly.”

Freeman: [On shooting a testing dialogue sequence opposite Andy Serkis in a leotard in his first few weeks on set]. “I’d much rather start with a scene like that, well written, with someone who is brilliant and knows this material. This is a very heightened, stylised world. It’s not Nil By Mouth.”

Serkis: “It was great for Martin to start with a chamber piece. He could find Bilbo within the confines of a relatively straightforward one-on-one scene. But it was a tough week-and-a-half. For the first couple of days it felt like I was doing an impersonation of a character I once played, because there have been so many parodies and jokes. Everyone else has owned him for so long. I was trying to find the emotional core again, get away from the impression — to bring him back.”

Freeman: “I like the fact he [Bilbo] is brave. To go from a fairly peaceful existence, where people roam about quite nicely, to a place where he could be eaten — that’s a proper thing for him. It’s a well-loved character, so don’t fuck with it too much.”

Freeman: “”He’s lighter [than Frodo], I would say. For black-and-white purposes he’s more comic.”

Serkis: “He [Gollum] has lived on his own in this cave in the Misty Mountains for about 400 years. Four hundred and forty years, to be precise — 60 years before Lord Of The Rings. He’s only a little bit younger, really, not that much more sprightly. More to the point, I’m 12 years older so he’s definitely not much more sprightly.”

Serkis: “There are some really lovely dynamic things going on between those characters. All the challenging — who has the upper hand?”

Freeman: “It’s absolutely gargantuan… Everything is bigger and takes more time. I mean, Sherlock is posh telly, but even Sherlock is fast compared to The Hobbit.”


Don’t forget to snag your copy of EMPIRE! (We are pretty sure most of you will!)  [iPad Editon] [iTunes] [EMPIRE Online]