Earlier this week, there was a rumor that Martin Freeman (UK version of The Office) had turned down the role of Bilbo Baggins in Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit due to a scheduling conflict with the BBC series Sherlock. EW now reports that Freeman is still in negotiations with New Line and MGM and is working out a deal to do both projects. Freeman’s not a name-actor who could open the movie, but I think he’s a brilliant choice to play Bilbo and clearly the Hobbit producers feel the same way. Also, The Hobbit doesn’t need a star as the property is big enough on its own.
For a brief history on long and winding road to get The Hobbit in front of cameras, hit the jump.
MGM’s financial limbo has caused its flagship properties—The Hobbit and James Bond—to be put on hold indefinitely. This indefinite delay caused Guillermo del Toro to leave The Hobbit back in May. After looking for a new director, it appears that Peter Jackson, who previously was only going to serve as a co-writer and co-producer on the project, will helm the film. Casting went underway in July and last month there was news of Spyglass Entertainment working on a deal to erase MGM’s debt.
My big question is how can MGM offer a deal when their finances are still a mess and how can they set up a schedule when the lack of a start date has plagued the project for almost a year now?
Anyway, here’s the synopsis for J.R.R. Tolkien’s book, which is a prequel to The Lord of the Rings trilogy:
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]