Rumor: Martin Freeman Can’t Play Bilbo Baggins in THE HOBBIT Due to SHERLOCK Commitments

     September 6, 2010

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Stephen Moffatt’s (Dr. Who) BBC series Sherlock seems like a fine show.  From what I’ve heard, it’s a hit in England.  But when all is said and done, will it have been worth missing out on the role of a lifetime?  That may be the dilemma that faced star Martin Freeman (The Office).  A source at The Sun [via TheOneRing.net] indicates that MGM made a formal offer for Freeman to star as Bilbo Baggins in The Hobbit, but he had to decline because due to his commitments to a second season of Sherlock — “It was agonizing, but [Freeman] had no other choice.”  More after the jump.

Of course, if you’ve been following the drama surrounding the production due to MGM’s financial woes, there could be enough time before The Hobbit starts production that the offer could come back around again.  Peter Jackson has indeed begun casting for the epic, and Spyglass Entertainment is doing its best to erase MGM’s debt, but the project still does not have a director.  (Officially, anyway — Peter Jackson seems poised to assume the reins.)  I find Freeman to be immensely charming, so if he is definitively separated from The Hobbit, that’s unfortunate.  For those who know the book better than I do, would he have been right for the role, or are you keeping your fingers crossed for a different actor?

Here’s the synopsis for J.R.R. Tolkien’s classic fantasy:

Bilbo Baggins, the hobbit, is a peaceful sort of cozy hole in the Shire, a place where adventures are uncommon and rather unwanted. So when the wizard Gandalf whisks him away on a treasure hunting expedition with a troop of rowdy dwarves, he’s not entirely thrilled. Encountering ruthless trolls, beastly orcs, gigantic spiders, and hungry wolves, Bilbo discovers within himself astonishing strength and courage. And at the ultimate confrontation with the fearsome dragon Smaug, the hobbit will brave the dangers of dark and dragon fire alone and unaided. [Amazon]

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