Martin Freeman as Bilbo.
Martin Freeman as Bilbo.
Image: Warner Bros. Pictures

One of Martin Freeman’s most iconic roles is as Bilbo Baggins in Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit. Say what you will about that trilogy, but the casting is perfect. No one else could have played that Bilbo the way Freeman did. Unfortunately, he was almost certain he was going to have to pass on the part.

As Freeman shared in a career breakdown video he did for Vanity Fair, he was initially a shoo-in to play the part, naturally. But his role on Sherlock almost kept him from taking it due to its rigorous shooting schedule. And as he knew he was Guillermo del Toro’s favorite but was not as confident in Peter Jackson’s choice, he assumed, well, there goes that role.

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And then I got a call from [my agent] who said there’s been a change of plan. Peter Jackson has rearranged the schedule of The Hobbit around you, so that you can start The Hobbit, then go off and do Sherlock and then finish The Hobbit again,” Freeman explained.  

That was an amazing thing to hear, because talk about a vote of confidence. He could have had a lot of people doing Bilbo Baggins, and the fact that he had that much faith in me, that was astonishing really. And the fact that he could move a schedule as titanic as that was going to be and a production, which does not move quickly, was kind of amazing. And I felt like an extremely lucky person,” Freeman finished.

And that’s just one of many, many reasons the schedule for The Hobbit was bonkers. At least the movies were—oh, well, at least Martin Freeman was in them.

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io9 Weekend Editor. Videogame writer at other places. Queer nerd girl.

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