Martin Freeman cast as Bilbo Baggins in “The Hobbit”

Director Peter Jackson says the star of Britain's "The Office" was born to play the role. Is he just blowing smoke?

Topics: The Hobbit, J.R.R. Tolkien, Movie news, Peter Jackson, The Lord of the Rings, The Office,

Martin Freeman cast as Bilbo Baggins in "The Hobbit"LONDON - OCTOBER 17: (UK TABLOID NEWSPAPERS OUT) Actor Martin Freeman attends The Times BFI 51st London Film Festival opening night gala screening of "Eastern Promises" at Odeon Leicester Square on October 17, 2007 in London, England. (Photo by Dave Hogan/Getty Images)(Credit: Getty Images)

The much maligned “Lord of the Rings” prequel just got a little … funnier?

Director Peter Jackson announced yesterday that British actor Martin Freeman will play the lead role of Bilbo Baggins. Freeman is best known to Americans for playing Tim Canterbury in the British version of “The Office.” The character Tim, a mild-mannered salesman who is drolly aware of his job’s pointlessness, is the U.K. version of Jim Halpert.

Freeman, at the very least, looks the part of Bilbo: boyish, unassuming, short with a decidedly British expression. “Hobbit” fans, however, wonder if Freeman can carry a dramatic movie. He was at ease starring in the underrated “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” and he proved more than capable with short cameos in “Shaun of the Dead,” “Hot Fuzz” and “Love Actually.” But those, like “The Office,” are comedies. Falling in love with the receptionist is one thing; fighting off trolls, goblins and giant spiders is another.

You Might Also Like

Jackson, the project’s mastermind, isn’t worried. “There are a few times in your career when you come across an actor who you know was born to play a role, but that was the case as soon as I met Martin,” the director said in a statement. The CS Monitor thinks Freeman is “the perfect Bilbo Baggins.” The Washington Post says he’ll be fine.

Let’s hope.

“The Hobbit” is scheduled to begin production in February 2011.

Here’s a scene from the second season finale of “The Office.”  It’s dramatic, sad and funny all at once.  Maybe Freeman is the right choice.

More Related Stories

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 11
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails
    Martyna Blaszczyk/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 1

    Pond de l'Archeveche - hundreds thousands of padlocks locked to a bridge by random couples, as a symbol of their eternal love. After another iconic Pont des Arts bridge was cleared of the padlocks in 2010 (as a safety measure), people started to place their love symbols on this one. Today both of the bridges are full of love locks again.

    Anders Andersson/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 2

    A bird's view of tulip fields near Voorhout in the Netherlands, photographed with a drone in April 2015.

    Aashit Desai/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 3

    Angalamman Festival is celebrated every year in a small town called Kaveripattinam in Tamil Nadu. Devotees, numbering in tens of thousands, converge in this town the day after Maha Shivratri to worship the deity Angalamman, meaning 'The Guardian God'. During the festival some of the worshippers paint their faces that personifies Goddess Kali. Other indulge in the ritual of piercing iron rods throughout their cheeks.

    Allan Gichigi/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 4

    Kit Mikai is a natural rock formation about 40m high found in Western Kenya. She goes up the rocks regularly to meditate. Kit Mikai, Kenya

    Chris Ludlow/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 5

    On a weekend trip to buffalo from Toronto we made a pit stop at Niagara Falls on the Canadian side. I took this shot with my nexus 5 smartphone. I was randomly shooting the falls themselves from different viewpoints when I happened to get a pretty lucky and interesting shot of this lone seagull on patrol over the falls. I didn't even realize I had captured it in the shot until I went back through the photos a few days later

    Jassen T./National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 6

    Incredibly beautiful and extremely remote. Koehn Lake, Mojave Desert, California. Aerial Image.

    Howard Singleton/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 7

    Lucky timing! The oxpecker was originally sitting on hippo's head. I could see the hippo was going into a huge yawn (threat display?) and the oxpecker had to vacate it's perch. When I snapped the pic, the oxpecker appeared on the verge of being inhaled and was perfectly positioned between the massive gaping jaws of the hippo. The oxpecker also appears to be screeching in terror and back-pedaling to avoid being a snack!

    Abrar Mohsin/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 8

    The Yetis of Nepal - The Aghoris as they are called are marked by colorful body paint and clothes

    Madeline Crowley/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 9

    Taken from a zodiac raft on a painfully cold, rainy day

    Ian Bird/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 10

    This wave is situated right near the CBD of Sydney. Some describe it as the most dangerous wave in Australia, due to it breaking on barnacle covered rocks only a few feet deep and only ten metres from the cliff face. If you fall off you could find yourself in a life and death situation. This photo was taken 300 feet directly above the wave from a helicopter, just as the surfer is pulling into the lip of the barrel.

  • Recent Slide Shows

Comments

0 Comments

Comment Preview

Your name will appear as username ( settings | log out )

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href=""> <b> <em> <strong> <i> <blockquote>