Peter Jackson changed The Hobbit schedule so Martin Freeman could play Bilbo

Last Updated on August 2, 2021

The Hobbit, Martin Freeman, Peter Jackson

No matter what, it was always going to be next to impossible for THE HOBBIT to equal THE LORD OF THE RINGS, and while THE HOBBIT certainly wasn't received nearly as well as as THE LORD OF THE RINGS was, there's still plenty to like about the prequel trilogy. For many, one of the highlights of THE HOBBIT was Martin Freeman's performance as Bilbo Baggins, but there was a point in time when it seemed as though Freeman wouldn't be able to take on the role, that is until Peter Jackson rearranged the entire schedule of the massive production to accommodate him.

Martin Freeman recently chatted with Vanity Fair to break down his career, and discussed just how he was cast as Bilbo Baggins in THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY. "I remember going — along with half of Britain — on tape for it," Freeman said. "And when I arrived in the casting room … there was a note from Guillermo del Toro, who at the time was slated to direct. The note was very nice, it said, 'Martin, we want this to be you, so do your stuff, but just so you know, we think this is going to me you.' That relaxed me a lot, so I was able to do my reading and then sort of forget about it." Unfortunately, due to production delays and the exit of Guillermo del Toro, Freeman's schedule for BBC's Sherlock series wouldn't allow him time to do THE HOBBIT, and the BBC wasn't playing ball. Although he wanted the role very much, Freeman came to the realization that he would probably have to let it go. Sad face.

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. 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, and I'll always love Peter for that.

Martin Freeman went on to star as Bilbo Baggins in THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY, THE HOBBIT: THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG, and THE HOBBIT: THE BATTLE OF THE FIVE ARMIES. Although Freeman was a vital part of the films, the shifting production led to his character not being featured quite as much as he should have been in the final two movies.

Source: Vanity Fair

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Based in Canada, Kevin Fraser has been a news editor with JoBlo since 2015. When not writing for the site, you can find him indulging in his passion for baking and adding to his increasingly large collection of movies that he can never find the time to watch.