Bilbo Baggins

It seems like it’s pretty much always been the plan to have The Hobbit bleed into The Fellowship of the Ring, creating two earnest prequel movies for the giant trilogy. However, Drew McWeeny over at HitFix is right to point out how fascinating the speed of information is coming these days about projects like this. Ian Holm will be returning in his role as Bilbo Baggins which either means Peter Jackson is bravely making Bilbo an elderly man battling dragons (and Martin Freeman is just a decoy) or that we’ll get some degree of bookending with Holm bouncing Elijah Wood on his knee. Maybe the film will open with the storyteller, maybe it will simply close, but at this point, the most fascinating mystery left is the possibility that we’re reading casting news that we might not get to experience on screen until over 2 years from now (when the second installment comes out). Of course, he might very well be in the first installment, too, but can’t we at least pretend to have a few unknowns since the movies haven’t even finished filming?

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Once upon a time, it was Harry Potter, The Doctor, and that guy who helped out Idi Amin that were rumored for the main role in The Hobbit. Those names have all fallen away to the history books only to leave the true Bilbo Baggins – Martin Freeman. Freeman was first propelled to our cultural conscious in the original version of The Office and since then has nakedly thrust himself in Love, Actually and carried a towel hitchhiking across the Galaxy. We reported last month that he was possibly out of the picture because of a scheduling conflict, but then possibly back in again, and it looks officially to be the latter.

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It was one of those things that completely exploded without any noise. The Sun ran a story claiming that Martin Freeman had to turn down an offer to play Bilbo Baggins for The Hobbit because of a scheduling conflict with a BBC show about Sherlock Holmes. Now, the word is out that New Line and MGM have returned to the actor with a proposed schedule that would allow him to do both. Letting the thought of missing out on millions of dollars, a chance to work with Peter Jackson and the opportunity of creating an iconic role slip away for a moment – the big news here is that Freeman might actually get to step into the hairy feet of Bilbo. There’s quite possibly no better actor for the gig. That is, if the movies ever actually get made. [EW]

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It’s no secret around my neck of the woods that I’m a rabidly-obsessive Middle Earth fanatic. So what’s the newest casting rumor to hit the interwebz? It seems Brian Cox just may be joining Bilbo Baggins on the quest to evict Smaug from the Lonely Mountain.

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For some reason I have to write the word ‘Bilbo’ a ton in this post, and it feels slightly gross. Luckily, I don’t have to write “Ryan Reynolds Cast as Bilbo Baggins,” so that’s a relief.

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