The wait is over and the day has finally arrived as the official release of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is here! Special guest, Mr. Bilbo Baggins himself, Martin Freeman, answers several questions by Ringeer Peter Genovese, including whether or not he ever read “The Hobbit” before he was cast for the movie, his experience when he found out that he landed the role of Bilbo, mental preparations for playing a Hobbit, and his most memorable experiences on set.
Peter: Did you ever read the Hobbit before you auditioned for this movie?
Martin: No, I didn’t, no actually, especially to you, is the wrong answer! <laugh> I didn’t grow up a Tolkien fan. Obviously I knew of him. You certainly can’t be English and not know that name. No, it wasn’t part of my upbringing particularly but I obviously read it before I started the movie. <laugh> I came into it as an adult.
Peter: Do you recall the moment when you found out that you landed the role of Bilbo Baggins and what was your experience with that?
Martin: Well it was slightly staggered because I had found out that I had gotten the part early on. From the moment that I went on tape for Guillermo, when Guillermo was still director, all the way through for months and months there was no other traffic on the road, you know, it was me and I was being told by the artistic team “we want this to be you, there is nobody else we want it to be” but then it came to the point where I couldn’t do it due to my commitments to Sherlock which was a show I was doing in the UK and so I had to walk away, I had to turn it down, I had to not do The Hobbit anymore which was gutting and a very tedious statement of affairs. But, the real sort of changing call was that I was rehearsing a play in London at the time and my London agent Michael had called me and said that “Peter has rearranged the whole schedule around your availability on Sherlock and that you could do both” so I was delighted of course and very excited and very surprised, yeah.
Peter: With respect to mentally getting into character, did you do anything to make yourself feel smaller with respect to the size of a Hobbit, to get into a smaller frame of mind for the character?
Martin: No, because he (Bilbo) doesn’t think he’s small, of course. He is normal sized. You feel smaller when your house is inundated with Dwarves and bigger people and more imposing warrior figures so that makes you feel small but Bilbo is a very reactive character. Part of the pleasure of Bilbo and part of the comedy of it is in the reaction. I do what I do which probably doesn’t really bare a lot of talking about because it would be very boring but one does what you need to do to kind of feel that you’re something else. A lot of that is physical and a lot of that is just the doing of it. There wasn’t particularly a psychological thing, I just felt a way, I knew the way I wanted him to move and I knew that I wanted him to be slightly tentative and slightly cautious and if you walk around tentative and cautious, after a while, you mentally feel tentative and cautious so that was my way.
Peter: Many years from now when you think back on the experiences of making the The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey and the upcoming two movies, was there anything that really stuck out with the whole experience that you’ll cherish, whether it be the wonderful cast that you worked with or even just the locations/scenery that you got to experience working at?
Martin: All of the above, really. I saw some beautiful geography in New Zealand, met some delightful people who I hope will stay friends with and got to work with one of the main directors of my time on one of the main books of our time. I’m kind of spoiled, really. And then there’s the films that are coming out, you know, that whole experience of going around the world and opening the films and doing the premieres was on a scale that few people get to see with the sort of madness of that, enjoyable madness, but it is still a kind of madness. All of that is so memorable and I’ll never forget any of that. I’m a very lucky man.
Make sure to get your copy of “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey “ available on Blu-ray Combo Pack, Blu-ray 3D Combo Pack and 2-disc DVD Special Edition on TODAY! [Official Site] [Full Listing of Available Versions]
Also, don’t forget to submit your questions to Peter Jackson by today. Here’s more info:
Q&A with Peter Jackson
Academy Award®-winning filmmaker Peter Jackson will host a live first look at “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug,” the second film in “The Hobbit” Trilogy, on Sunday, March 24 at 3:00 p.m. Eastern/12pm Pacific at www.hobbit.com/sneak. Just added: The live event will now include a Q&A with Jackson and fans! Video questions can be submitted beginning March 12 through March 19 on “The Hobbit” Facebook page, or through the Vine mobile app using the hashtag #askPeterJackson. Fans can also Tweet links to video questions using the hashtag #askPeterJackson. The live event will be limited to holders of an UltraViolet™ code, available by purchasing “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey,” which arrives on Blu-ray Combo Pack, Blu-ray 3D Combo Pack and 2-disc DVD Special Edition on March 19. Visit thehobbit.com/sneak for more information.