Martin Freeman IS Bilbo Baggins

On the off chance that the crazy ramblings of fans out here on the ether has any actual impact on casting decisions down the road (and around the corner, across the airport and over a small hill), I thought I’d express my – and Mike’s – views on The Hobbit casting.

The decision has most likely been made, but until an announcement is made and at least a third of the film is shot, I think it could still be open to influence (note Mark Wahlberg replaced Ryan Gosling just before shooting commenced on The Lovely Bones).

So who should play the all-important eponymous character of The Hobbit? In my humble opinion, none other than British actor, Martin Freeman.

Rather than ramble at length (which I am prone to do), I shall list all the reasons why it must be Martin Freeman and couldn’t possibly be anyone else (that I know of anyway…)

1. Bilbo Baggins is Very English. You could almost imagine him as a stuffy professor sitting across the pub (The Eagle and Child, in Oxford?) from Tolkien as the first little seeds of Middle Earth germinated in his mind. Martin Freeman is also Very English, having starred in some of the best and Most-English comedy and drama to come from those fair Isles in the past decade (The Office, Love Actually, Hitchhikers’ Guide).

2. Bilbo Baggins is approaching middle age. 50 or 51 according to the ever-relaible Wikipedia (and confirmed by my hazy memory). Now Hobbits don’t age quite as quickly as humans, so 50’s in a hobbit would look like 40’s in a human. Martin Freeman is a rather weathered looking 38, and could certainly pass for Hobbit middle age.

3. He has an uncanny resemblance to Ian Holm, which simply can’t be ignored. If The Hobbit and LOTR’s are to hold their place in many fans hearts as enduring classics, then they must also flow together and fit. Already Ian McKellan has signed on to reprise his role as Gandalf. Ian Holm is too old, so his successor must at least have some likeness. See here:

4.Martin Freeman does flustered like a Hobbit. (Skip to 4’12” if you don’t wish to be charmed and outsmarted by singing dolphins.) Replace his townhouse with a hobbit hole; Stephen Fry’s voice with Ian McKellan’s and a gaggle of bulldozers with a swarm of dwarves and you’re already watching the opening scenes to The Hobbit.

5. He’s available. A quick look on his IMDb page shows he has no films currently in (pre-)production. Keeping his slate clean for a big announcement? We can but hope…
Now, other names have been bandied around regarding what must be the most anticipated bit of casting news this year. James MacAvoy has been hinted at. Daniel Radcliffe quickly quashed. Even Ricky Gervais has been suggested by some (have they not see Stardust – he almost ruined it for me!?)
Lips in the know around Wellywood are tightly sealed, but these two hints have been found on the internet, and as always may be completely unrelated, or may be quite suggestive. James McAvoy has recently dropped out of a film due to start shooting later this year due to ‘unforeseen circumstances’ or ‘personal reasons’. Could mean he has something bigger and better up his sleeve?
Secondly, Martin Freeman, I today found out, auditioned for Stanley Tucci’s role in The Lovely Bones. He didn’t get that of course, but old PJ knows of him, knows about him and possibly, hopefully likes him. Fingers crossed!
That’s my two cents worth. Feel free to comment, or make suggestions (which will be duly ignored).

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