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Martin Freeman talks ‘The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies’ with

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HBT3-bs-343122.DNGMEDIA: As you get a little closer to the end of this journey, how are you feeling about it? Like, how’s it been different from what you expected? Surprising?

FREEMAN: I knew it was going to be epic! And it is epic. It’s still epic. I knew it’d be tiring and I knew it’d be exhilarating and hard sometimes. And yes, it’s been all those things, really. I think expecting the unexpected is quite a good idea and so I wasn’t thinking, “I think it’s going to be like this.” I was just open to however it’s going to be.

The main thing is you just know that you’re going to be doing this character for a long time. Much longer than you are doing most characters, and certainly on films. So it’s just bedding down for that, really, and getting your head down, doing the work, doing what’s necessary for that. And trying to keep a line through it all. Which obviously is not only my lookout, there are other people looking out for that as well. About where your character goes, you know. But yeah, I think that’s the main challenge, really. And I knew that. I don’t want to sound disappointed if I say it hasn’t surprised. I mean, I don’t know.

The scale of it is always still surprising. You know, I come on set and go, “Oh, look. It’s another amazing set.” Another incredible set that will be used for twelve minutes. And then never again. So, yeah. But, no. The main thing that I try to prepare myself with was not to be too prepared. If that doesn’t sound too odd an answer.

MEDIA: Besides the physical journey Bilbo went on, it seems to be quite an emotional thing as well. Is it taking quite a toll on him? I mean, when you get to that head space is he a damaged kind of guy?

bilbo 7FREEMAN: I think by this time he’s definitely altered, yeah. That’s part of the thing of keeping the line on who he is, because it’s playing, the fact that he’s definitely not the same person he was when he left Bag End, but at the same time he has to be.

That’s a conversation that Pete and I have sometimes, when I want to sort of push it over there or push it over there and he says, “Yeah, yeah. But he’s still got to be the same person.” Do you know what I mean? And of course he is. People don’t literally change into another person, but I think combat and war does definitely things to people, you know.

And even though this is a heightened fairytale, you have to ground it in some kind of relatable truth. We’re not making “The Hurt Locker” or whatever, but I think unless the stakes are high, and unless the stakes are relatively real, then why should people care? That’s what I liked about The Rings films, because that pain all seemed to be there for real.

It’s doing that, but also keeping his lightness as well. And keeping his, I guess his sense of humor throughout it all. And his sense of trying to get perspective on what he is going through, because when you’re going through stuff in the moment, you’re not thinking about how it’s changing you. And he’s not thinking about how it’s changing him, but it’s definitely– By the time we get to this stuff, he’s definitely altered, if not completely changed.

MEDIA: Peter was talking a little bit about the influence of the ring at this point. That it has a draw, from the first film. But by this point, Sauron’s growing in power, the ring is growing in power and it is having an effect on Bilbo. How is that affected you by movie three at this stage?

FREEMAN: Well, you know, when I did a bit yesterday where I had to take the ring off and come to tell Thorin to get out of here. And yeah, I think it does have– It’s like, it’s just unpleasant. It’s unpleasant to be in ring world for Bilbo, because it’s just like a massive white noise headache, I think. That’s what I’m sort of seeing it as. Like just someone punching you in the head for five minutes, and it’s just, you want to get out of it and it’s a relief to get out of it.

So, it doesn’t have a sort of delicious kind of feeling of, “Oh, this could be nice.” It’s like, “Fuck, it’s unpleasant,” I think. So, in a way, it’s even more– It’s a double heroism, if you like, of Bilbo’s to kind of put the ring on to come up and to give him this news, because he’s, yes he’s invisible, so he’s got an advantage but it’s also really unpl– He’s not getting a freebie. He’s having to really pay for it. So I would say, this point for him is just difficult, it’s a schlep. Yeah, it’s not nice, putting the ring on.

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