New Photo of Martin Freeman as Bilbo Baggins in The Hobbit; Plus More From Peter Jackson, Benedict Cumberbatch and Christopher Lee
01.07.12 by Ryan
Since the December release of the first trailer for the upcoming The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, fans have been starved for more images from the two-part adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien's novel (Unexpected Journey opens in December, followed by The Hobbit: There and Back Again in 2013), so USA Today fed the hunger by releasing a new photo of Martin Freeman as Bilbo Baggins, the protagonist of the story (played by Ian Holm in the Lord of the Rings trilogy).
The still isn't filled with action — it only reveals a lone Bilbo walking through a forest — but follows Freeman's recent (sarcastic) admission to MovieWeb that he would like Bilbo to have a love scene in at least one of the two movies.
I think he's [Bilbo] had sex. I'm not sure. I'm trying to convince [director and co-writer] Peter [Jackson] to write that scene in..."
Of course, Jackson has plenty on his plate, directing and producing the movie he co-wrote. Jackson wasn't The Hobbit's original director, co-writer Guillermo del Toro was set to be the movie's original, until he dropped out, leaving Jackson to step in. In an interview with The Telegraph, Jackson revealed that his version of the movie is different than what del Toro would have made.
When Guillermo was working on it I was producing it and working on the script — I was enjoying it, I wasn't disliking it. I thought it would be interesting to have a different sensibility directing the movie so you'd have somebody else's version of a Middle Earth story. But by the time Guillermo left and we were wondering what to do, I just thought, "Well, I can imagine the version of The Hobbit that I'd like to see."
It's not necessarily the film he was going to make, but being part of the production for so long, at that point I'd sort of admitted to myself into the film to such a degree that it was fine to take over, I was completely OK with it.
Jackson did make a few changes from J.R.R. Tolkien's original The Hobbit novel, adding in characters like Saruman (Christopher Lee) from The Lord of the Rings trilogy into The Hobbit. In Lee's Christmas address (via TheOneRing.net), Lee revealed that Saruman won't be the villain but is instead a "good and noble man" in The Hobbit.
Saruman, whom I play again, is indeed still Saruman the White, but he is a good and noble man and the head of the Council of Wizards, as he always was.
How Saruman goes from white to dark is tied to actor Benedict Cumberbatch, who has been cast not only as the dragon Smaug, but also as voice of the Necromancer, as the actor recently explained to Empire.
I’m playing Smaug through motion-capture and voicing the Necromancer, which is a character in the Five Legions War or something which I’m meant to understand. He’s not actually in the original Hobbit. It’s something [Peter Jackson]’s taken from Lord Of The Rings that he wants to put in there.
Cumberbatch actually means the Battle of Five Armies, not "the Five Legions War," but in doing so, Cumberbatch has revealed a major link between The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. See, the Necromancer is Saruman, or at least the dark spirit that inhabits him. In the book, Gandalf leaves Bilbo and the company of dwarves to attend to "important business" — driving the Necromancer out of Mirkwood. Gandalf does so before the Battle of Five Armies, but if what Cumberbatch says is correct, Jackson could be planning to have Gandalf's battle with the Necromancer, aka Sauron, at the same time of the Battle of Five Armies, or so Empire speculates.
The Hobbit was adapted by Jackson, del Toro, Fran Walsh, and Philippa Boyens and star returning Lord of the Rings cast members Elijah Wood as Frodo Baggins; Orlando Bloom as Legolas; Hugo Weaving as Elrond; Cate Blanchett as Galadriel; and Andy Serkis (in motion-capture and later animated) as Gollum.