Martin Freeman turned down Bilbo Baggins in The Hobbit


7th September 2010

Why? Because never shall meet the worlds of Slough and Middle-Earth.

Perhaps the most coveted role yet to be cast in Hollywood is the part of Bilbo Baggins in The Hobbit. Not only is it a huge role in an epic franchise, but it's also an equally epic commitment, requiring at least a year of shooting to film two movies - one based on Tolkien's book, the other a cheeky bridge between it and Peter Jackson's Rings trilogy.

It's thought to be this commitment - and MGM's finanical clusterfuckery - that caused Guillermo del Toro to pack up his extra-strength director's chair and go home. It's also probably why they've yet to cast Bilbo. Case in point: Martin Freeman, aka Tim from The Office, turned down what would surely be the role of a lifetime, because he already had shooting commitments with the Beeb's version of Sherlock Holmes.

Frankly, I don't think Freeman is right for the role anyway. An iconic role like this needs to be approached with as little baggage as possible, and Martin Freeman will always be Tim Canterbury of Wernham Hogg, no matter what he's cast in.

Maybe it'd work if The Hobbit was shot as a mock-doc, with Ricky Gervais as Gandalf. "I'm basically just a chilled out magician: fact." Yeah, I already made that joke on Twitter today, but there's only so much funny to go around here, folks.

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