It turns out Martin Freeman was always Peter Jackson's first pick to play Bilbo Baggins in The Hobbit—but it almost didn't happen. So why did Freeman have Jackson so "panicked" in the final weeks heading up to production?
Before he took on the role of Bilbo, Freeman also made some fan-favorite appearances in the British version of The Office and the BBC's acclaimed Sherlock series. Apparently his commitment to the latter almost cost him the Hobbit gig due to scheduling.
Jackson told Digital Spy:
"We were in trouble. I was really panicking. I was having sleepless nights. We were probably six weeks away from the beginning of the shoot, and we hadn't settled on anyone else, and I was torturing myself by watching Sherlock on an iPad at 4 o'clock in the morning."Luckily, all the schedules worked out, and Freeman was able to finish up season two of Sherlock amidst all his work on the Hobbit trilogy.
It's a good thing, too, because Jackson had his heart set on making Freeman into young Bilbo:
"Martin was the only person that we wanted for that role, and that was really before we met Martin. We knew him from The Office and Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, and we just felt he had qualities that would be perfect for Bilbo. The stuffy repressed English quality. He's a dramatic actor, he's not a comedian, but he has a talent for comedy."What do you think? Does Freeman look like a good fit for Bilbo?
(Via Digital Spy)