Peter Jackson: ‘Martin Freeman was the only person we wanted as Bilbo Baggins in ‘The Hobbit”

Director says he didn't even consider any other actors for the role

The Hobbit director Peter Jackson has revealed that Martin Freeman was his only choice to take on the lead role of Bilbo Baggins.

The Sherlock star plays the titular character in Jackson’s new trilogy of movies based around Tolkien’s prequel to The Lord Of The Rings. And now the director has said that he did not consider any other actors.

Speaking to reporters in New York yesterday (December 5), Jackson said: “Martin was the only person that we wanted for that role, and that was really before we met Martin.”

He added: “We knew him from The Office and The 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.”

However, Jackson almost did not get his man, since Freeman was initially unavailable due to commitments filming Sherlock. He said: “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 four o’clock in the morning.”

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is released in the UK on December 13. It co-stars Ian McKellen, James Nesbitt, Cate Blanchett, Sylvester McCoy and Freeman’s Sherlock colleague Benedict Cumberbatch.

You can watch the trailer for The Hobbit below.