'The Hobbit': Martin Freeman to play Bilbo Baggins; other roles also cast

Movie fans, nerds of all stripes, and aficionados of small, furry-footed hominids, take heed! The cast of director Peter Jackson’s long-awaited, much-delayed, crazily anticipated adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s fantasy epic The Hobbit is finally officially taking shape! As EW predicted, English actor Martin Freeman, best known for his deadpan portrayal of cubicle drone Tim Canterbury in the original BBC version of The Office as well as the films Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy and Hot Fuzz, will play the Hobbit hero Bilbo Baggins, who is reluctantly recruited by Gandalf the Wizard and a company of Dwarves to join in a dangerous quest for a dragon’s treasure. “Despite the various rumors and speculation surrounding this role, there has only ever been one Bilbo Baggins for us,” Jackson said in a statement, calling Freeman “intelligent, funny, surprising, and brave — exactly like Bilbo.” Jackson also announced that Richard Armitage, who has starred in the British TV series MI-5, will play the leader of the company of Dwarves, Thorin Oakenshield, while Irish actor Aidan Turner  and English actor Rob Kazinsky will play the Dwarves Fili and Kili. Rounding out the cohort of Dwarves thus far will be Graham McTavish (24) as Dwalin; John Callen (TV’s Power Rangers Jungle Fury) as Oin; Stephen Hunter (TV’s All Saints) as Bombur; Mark Hadlow (King Kong) as Dori; and Peter Hambleton (TV’s The Strip) as Gloin.

There you have it, Middle-earthlings. Now Jackson just needs to get past the sticky labor-union issues and start shooting this thing. (Well, after casting Bifur, Bofur, Bombur, Ori, Nori, Balin, Beorn, Bard, and all the other roles, of course.) What do you think? After all these endless months of build-up, can you get any more amped for The Hobbit? Is Freeman the Bilbo of your dreams? Or did you imagine someone else putting on the ring?

Read more:
‘The Hobbit’ could still exit NZ, reads New Line statement
‘The Hobbit’ will shoot in New Zealand after all. Well, maybe. Hopefully. We’ll see.
Peter Jackson officially to direct ‘The Hobbit’
‘Hobbit’ casting: Martin Freeman could still play Bilbo Baggins

Comments (176 total) Add your comment
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  • Mag

    Haha I thought that said Morgan too! Hm

    • Steph

      Haha,me as well!

      • BA

        Me too! I was thinking… Isn’t he too old,,,? Funny!

  • C

    To google images!!

    • Katja

      LOL that was my response as well. I’m not sure the guy playing Gloin convinces me that he could father John Rhys-Davies, but I’m sure giant beards will work wonders. :)

      • Az

        giant beards and heavy make up do work wonders. the midget who played Gimli was the only truly convincing one in LOTR(the hobbits needed midget doubles as well).

      • RyanK

        Ummm….John Rhys-Davies isn’t a midget. Lol. He’s actually a pretty big guy.

      • RyanK

        Ohhh I see what you’re saying. The giant beard helps hide the fact that he’s not a midget. Got it.

      • Lila

        This is super nerdy but the hobits did have little people doubles, as well the elf and men characters had 7+ft doubles. The beard has nothing to do with height he’s saying it will make him look more like a dwarf and particularly a dwarf that could be the father Gimli.

      • Az

        RyanK, since the dwarves are supposed to be smaller than men and elves, John Rhys-Davies had a midget double in some scenes, though it was pretty unnoticeable, which is the whole point. haaa that didn’t really make sense. w/e

  • Rusty

    Huzzah. Fantastic choice.

    • Seddie Forever!!!!!!!!!

      I’ll hold judgement until I see the movie but the important thing is how the ensemble plays together AND how much screen time there will be for Viggo Mortensen

      • Deez Nutz

        There will be no screen time what so ever.

      • Kvivik

        The Hobbit happens BEFORE LOTR. No Aragorn to be found. Sorry Seddie.

      • Ron

        Wrong. Jackson’s Hobbit will actually be two films, comprised of material from “The Hobbit” and some of the “Silmarillion”/”Unfinished Tales” material that took place between the Hobbit and LOTR. And Aragorn DOES appear in that material (hunting golumn and other things).

      • Seddie Forever!!!!!!!!!

        - I thought I read somewhere that the second film would be a bridge between LOTR and the Hobbit and that some of the original cast – including Viggo would make an appearance

      • Seddie Forever!!!!!!!!!

        One more thing, I would have loved to have seen Nathan Kress aka Freddie Benson (and half of the best future couple on tv – Seddie) be cast as one of the dwarves or hobbits.

      • Katja

        @ Ron. Interesting. Will they also be getting into Gandalf’s battle with the Necromancer?

      • red

        Exactly how the split will go down is still up for debate. First they said that the second film will span the distance between The Hobbit and LOTR. But about a year ago they said that they’re simply making The Hobbit into two movies, while adding in some scenes. We’ll see. It’s still not very clear.

        And yes, they did say that they’d show Gandalf vs. the Necromancer when they were talking about the second film as bridging the gap.

  • LAJackie

    I am so freaking excited about this already I don’t know how I’m going to last until 2012. I love MI-5 but as they never list the actors in the credits I’m not sure who Richard Armitage played. I’ll have to look it up on imdb.

    • Snsetblaze

      Richard Armitage was also in the recent Robin Hood series as Sir Guy Gisborne (sp?).

    • Ellie

      Love, love, love Richard Armitage. He’s a talented actor and I’m glad to see he’s getting noticed. He’s also in the upcoming “Captain America” movie.

      • servo

        Yay!!! Richard Armitage! Count me in. I would watch that man in anything, yummy.

      • Vanessa

        I don’t know why so many people see The Hobbit as a child’s fairy tale. It’s not: the story, the diecvosry of the One Ring and the reconciliation of the peoples of the West, forms the literary bridge between The Silmarillion and LotR. Without these two critical elements, Tolkien’s epic saga would be little more than a collection of random tales.

    • Chabesquen

      Love Richard Armitage, such a great actor. He is in seasons 7-9 of MI-5 (Spooks). He plays Lucas North. So excited about him being in The Hobbit!

  • LAJackie

    Oh he plays Lucas! That’s so cool. Good casting PJ.

    • Resul

      First series left stuff out and chgnead things about, new film adds new characters to the story? Not impressed.Let me guess, since it’s hollywood the new character will either be gay or a transvestite hobbit who’s upset about the ecological damage the dwarven mining operations are causing.

  • McQueen

    YEEESSS!!! Best casting choice ever!!!

    • Abhishek

      It would be a shame, but PJ is an amazing film maker, and he has made 2D mvoies long enough, and known his fans long enough to know that anything less than the best he can do won’t cut it I have faith in his genius, and the genius of Walsh, Lee, Boyens, and Weta Digital It’s gonna be amazing!

  • rgw1946

    Unions….IDIOTS….just paying your dues…maybe you will get a job to buy food..

  • Julie

    So freaking excited about Richard Armitage.

    • LM

      Me too!! Such an unexpected yet brilliant choice!!

    • chelsea

      Same here! He was amazing in “North & South”!

      • steph

        I know him from Robin Hood. Loved to hate him as Guy of Gisborne (haven’t seen season 3 yet!)

      • tina

        he can use the Thornton ‘smolder’ to good use as a dwarf!

      • jcm

        Richard Armitage can run circles around Mr. Darcy…Everlasting fan ever since I discovered him in North and South. So. Freaking. HOT!

      • Kyle

        Thank you so much for posting this airlcte. Loved it.Did I read correctly that RA has lifts in his shoes?? To play a character several feet smaller than he is in real life! Really? That is just amazing. Having read The Hobbit I believe there’s much that can be enhanced in the story to make a film that both children and adults will love, and I’m sure Peter Jackson will do so the right way and the fact that he sees the dwarves as central to the story is just great. So much to look forward to.

    • sbveg

      Me too! I’m good for ANYTHING with Richard Armitage!!!

  • locism12

    For a sec. I thought I was the only one that read MORGAN FREEMAN. lol. But Martin is a great choice.

  • A

    Awesome!! I love him in Sherlock, can´t wait to see him here!!

    • Alber

      Thanks, that was an awesome arictle. Finally some new official images from the movie. My favourite one was Bilbo sitting alone with all the dwarves taking a nap. Love the look of that still. It seems to be in Mirkwood, the dwarves are exhausted and just crashing at the first best spot, but Bilbo the hero of the story canb4t rest. I start to see what Peter Jackson meant with keeping the same spirit of LOTR but at the same time creating its own unique look and I hope that the visuals in the finished film will be much more fairy tale looking than LOTR which most of the time looked like an historical epic with some fantastical creatures in it. I canb4t wait to see what the wargs, spiders and trolls will look like, but I hope at the same time that Jackson keeps them a secret untill the very end. I want to see them in all their glory first day edn the theatre.

  • Crystal

    Yay Martin! But I’d better still get my Dr. Watson!

    • Tara

      I know! I’m happy for him, but I hope this doesn’t affect Sherlock!

      • db

        Agreed. We better get a second series of “Sherlock” in the can before he puts on his furry feet.

    • fish eye no miko

      This. As much as I wanna see “The Hobbit”, if this affects the taping of series two, I’m gonna be really upset. d-:
      I’m also kinda bummed “Sherlock” wasn’t mentioned in the article.

      • Phil

        I agree – He is so brilliant as Watson how can you not mention it?

      • Anna

        My thoughts exactly. I am giddy for Martin and the Hobbit, but Sherlock is still number 1 in my heart.

    • ew-bot

      My first thought too. At least ‘The Hobbit’ isn’t a trilogy, so hopefully filming won’t take him away for quite the mammoth length of time that LOTR did for those actors. And I think he’ll be perfect for ‘The Hobbit’.

  • Contessa

    Richard Armitage! I love it already!! He is fabulous and gorgeous!

  • Baco Noir

    Freeman, Aidan Turner, Armitage. What a bleeping great cast. Top-notch British/Irish talent. I’m very happy.

    • Chelsea

      You took the words right out of my mouth. I’m thrilled about Freeman, who I think is perfect, but adding Mitchell and Lucas is just icing on the cake. So freaking excited!

  • Verity

    Wait wait wait…Richard Armitage is going to be in this?!?!?!?! Is it too early to get in line for tickets?

    • chelsea

      I was excited enough about Freeman, but wow, Richard Armitage too?!I can’t get enough of him ever since I saw “North & South”. He’s gorgeous.

      • erin

        So gorgeous, but he’ll be hidden under make-up and a big beard. And super short which will be weird. Boo for that, but yay ’cause he’s a cool actor.

      • Verity

        My hope is that Peter Jackson will consider Armitage for the character of Will Laurence in the Temeraire series. And now thanks to this casting, he’ll be on Jackson’s radar.

      • @ erin

        i think you might be confusing armitage’s elf character with a dwarf one? no hiding behind a beard there! he is amazingly smoldering!

    • Moriah

      Richard Armitage AND Martin Freeman?!
      Am I dreaming?

  • ebuzz

    I’m getting a calculadah for Christmas!

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