Peter Jackson Praises Martin Freeman's Bilbo in The Hobbit
08.25.11 by Ryan
When British actor Martin Freeman (The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, The Office) was cast as Bilbo Baggins in director Peter Jackson's two-part adaptation of The Hobbit, it seemed like a great move for the Lord of the Rings prequel. Jackson recently revealed to The LA Times that, while Freeman wasn't the only actor who auditioned for the role, there was "simply nobody else" who could play the part.
[Freeman] is fantastic and there is simply nobody else for the job. We couldn’t find anyone who was better than him. He is simply fantastic.
Freeman is so good, apparently, that Jackson was willing to schedule in a month long break in production, a break documented in Jackson's second video blog about the shoot. During that "break", Freeman went back to England to act in another series of Sherlock for the BBC (co-starring with Benedict Cumberbatch, who will also feature in The Hobbit), a commitment Jackson was aware of before he was cast. "He had committed to that show before he signed up for The Hobbit," Jackson explained. "And that’s one of the reasons we took a little break."
Jackson filled the time Freeman was away by shooting some of the second part of The Hobbit, There and Back Again. While Jackson said that there wasn't much they could do without Freeman because his presence in the movies is so large, he felt it was worth it.
I can’t imagine anyone else doing Bilbo, which is one of the reasons, really, we signed him up even with having the Sherlock break — normally on a movie you wouldn’t want to do that with the schedule, but we literally couldn’t figure out any other actor and we auditioned, you know. There is no other actor.
Jackson wasn't finished heaping praise on Freeman, finally offering an explanation of what he brings to the role that is so vital.
He’s Bilbo-esque. You might not always want to say that about you, right? But seriously he has the essential features of this little English gent, this country gent who is slightly old-fashioned and has to go around in the world and try to cope with it. That’s not exactly who Martin is as a person, but as an actor he does that so well. The fish out of water with a sense of courage but also a wonderful sense of humor. The things that happen to him and the way he reacts to them — things he’s never seen in his life before as a stuffy little Hobbit — his response to it all is part of the charm. And he does have a great openness in his face.
Fans will be able to see for themselves when the first part of The Hobbit, An Unexpected Journey, opens on December 14, 2012. There and Back Again will follow on on December 13, 2013.