Martin Freeman to play Bilbo in The Hobbit?

Martin Freeman (Tim from The Office!) has long been rumoured to be in the running to star as Bilbo Baggins in the upcoming adaptations of J.R.R. Tolkien’s novel The Hobbit (just as pretty much every British actor was considered to be ‘in the running’).

Well, it seems he is the number one choice of New Line and MGM – the two studios backing the films – and has been offered a seven-figure payday for the plum role.

The news comes from EW, confirming an earlier story run by The Sun claiming Freeman had to turn down the offer due to a commitment to the new BBC series Sherlock. According to EW’s unnamed source, the studios have offered Freeman a schedule that would allow him to shoot both projects.

We didn’t run the story when we first read The Sun’s rumour. After all, this was the same “news source” that claimed Eddie Murphy had been signed to play The Riddler in the new Batman film back in 2008. We will continue to ignore all rumours to emerge from The Sun until confirmed elsewhere.

Rumours of Bilbo’s casting have flitted around the internet since the project was first announced last decade. These rumours subsided in the face of more pressing matters such as, oh, studio MGM tumbling into financial ruin and director Guillermo del Toro abandoning the project.

Although it seems likely Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson will pick up the reins of the project, we still don’t exactly know where the film stands. In the meantime, let’s speculate!

Discuss: Can you see Freeman as Bilbo?

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