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Posted at 8:30 AM ET, 10/22/2010

Martin Freeman cast as Bilbo Baggins in 'The Hobbit'

By Jen Chaney

Martin Freeman, the man who will be Bilbo. (File photo/Helayne Seidman for The Washington Post)

Peter Jackson has already been confirmed as director of "The Hobbit." Now we have confirmation on Bilbo Baggins.

Martin Freeman will play the hobbit who makes the long journey to Lonely Mountain in the two-part film adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien's book, New Line announced and The Hollywood Reporter, among other media outlets, reported. For those closely tracking news of all things "Hobbit" this doesn't come as a surprise, since Freeman had already been the subject of Baggins casting rumors.

The British actor is best known for playing Tim on the original version of "The Office." He also starred in the underrated "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" and appeared in "Shaun of the Dead," "Hot Fuzz" and "Love Actually," among other films.

Several other actors also had their "Hobbit" status confirmed in the announcement, including Richard Armitage (another Brit) as Thoren Oakenshield and Aidan Turner ("Being Human") and Rob Kazinsky (a British TV actor) in the roles of young dwarves Kili and Fili. Two veterans of the previous "Lord of the Rings" films -- Ian McKellen as Gandalf and Andy Serkis as Gollum -- will also appear in the film, which is slated to begin production in February.

Freeman -- who carried "Hitchhiker" as a leading man with total ease -- should make a fine Bilbo Baggins. But what do you think? Post a comment and share your opinion.

And what about other casting possibilities? Hugo Weaving may reprise his role as Elrond. Should he? Who else should join the cast? Tweet your thoughts using the hashtag #hobbitology.

By Jen Chaney  | October 22, 2010; 8:30 AM ET
Categories:  Movies, Pop Culture  
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I am most excited about seeing the smoking-hot Richard Armitage on the big screen...even if it is as a dwarf!

Posted by: lydandy | October 22, 2010 9:18 AM | Report abuse

A great choice. I had no interest in seeing this film until now. After seeing Martin Freeman in The Office, I'll give anything with him in it a look. He's that good. In fact, I'm not a US Office fan, partly because there's no Freeman in it. Now, let's get Martin Clunes, Timothy Spall, and Bill Nighy, and I'll have a new favorite film.

Posted by: avlisk | October 22, 2010 9:18 AM | Report abuse

When casting these movies, it's more important that you get the right actor, not the name-brand actor.

Because while these movies appealed to the mainstream, mostly, they will be attended (and re-attended) by the rabid fan-base.

So Martin Freeman? As wife to a Tolkein fan, I can assure you - excellent choice. (Better than Elijah Wood as Frodo in many respects.)

Posted by: Chasmosaur1 | October 22, 2010 9:36 AM | Report abuse

I misread this headline thinking it was Morgan Freeman rather than Martin Freeman. There's a casting shake up for you!

Posted by: susannajoy | October 22, 2010 9:44 AM | Report abuse

Bilbo was much younger the first time he set out on his quest.
They will have to do a serious makeover!

Who ever played Bilbo in the "Rings" was quite convincing as an "Elder Bilbo"

Posted by: rexreddy | October 22, 2010 10:20 AM | Report abuse

Bilbo was much younger the first time he set out on his quest.
They will have to do a serious makeover!

Who ever played Bilbo in the "Rings" was quite convincing as an "Elder Bilbo"

Posted by: rexreddy | October 22, 2010 10:42 AM | Report abuse

Jen - Martin's also going to be on the tube this weekend in the remake of Sherlock on PBS. In case you're a Freeman Fan.

Posted by: DCLocal20 | October 22, 2010 11:00 AM | Report abuse

Without Sir Ian as Gandalf, I don't see how this film gets off the ground.

Posted by: jsroscoe1 | October 22, 2010 12:37 PM | Report abuse

Who is voicing the dragon?

Posted by: jollyroger2 | October 22, 2010 12:46 PM | Report abuse

Can't wait for the film. Jazzed about Peter Jackson taking the reins. A couple thoughts:

Action in The Hobbit takes place 61 years before The Lord of the Rings, (hence the younger Martin Freeman playing Bilbo instead of the older Ian Holm). How will they make Ian McKellen (Gandalf) and Hugo Weaving (Elrond) look 61 years younger? Or do wizards and elves not age?

Love the casting of Richard Armitage (absolutely great in Robin Hood and the Vicar of Dibley), but similarly, I'm interested how they'll make the 6' 2" actor into the dwarf, Thorin.

Posted by: paul6554 | October 22, 2010 12:52 PM | Report abuse

Gandalf and Elrond both were of indeterminate age throughout both The Hobbit and LOTR. And yes, both wizards and elves are much longer lived than average humans so little makeup magic would be needed. Even the Gondorian men were much longer lived that average men. Aragorn was a hundred and fifty or so in LOTR, so while neither is mentioned in The Hobbit, I think it would be worthwhile to have him (minor makeup) and Arwen in a short cameo (the fans would love this).

Posted by: wildfyre99 | October 22, 2010 1:34 PM | Report abuse

Big fan. And thanks for pointing out that "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" was an underrated film. I thought it was a great telling, and Martin Freeman was a great Arthur Dent (which is a character that is probably equally important to Douglas Adams fans as Bilbo is to Tolkien fans). Also, love him to death in "Love Actually."

Posted by: whatrocks9 | October 22, 2010 2:28 PM | Report abuse

Good choice for Bilbo. I was wondering if they'd be able to find an actor to fit the part better than Ian Holm, who played the part so well. With makeup, Holm might have been able to pull off the earlier Bilbo. The Ring, after all, caused him hardly to age at all. But Holm probably would not be convincing as a reluctant hero who helps defeat a dragon.

Freeman, though, should be great in the part.

Now if the Hobbit can just confirm that it will have the same landscape as LOTR, fans can let out a full sigh of relief. LOTR filmed elsewhere than New Zealand could end up awful. It's a pity, but the success of the LOTR movies is more or less threatening to derail the Hobbit movie at every turn.

Posted by: blert | October 22, 2010 2:33 PM | Report abuse

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