If you’re wondering what’s become of Sherlock’s Martin Freeman, you’ll be pleased to know he’s been rather busy of late. After spending the last eighteen months filming his lead role in Peter Jackson’s upcoming blockbuster The Hobbit, Martin’s star is about to be sent stratospheric with the release of the first film in the trilogy on 14 December 2012.
He plays Bilbo Baggins – adoptive father of Elijah Wood’s Frodo in Tolkien’s epic tales – and spoke exclusively to RadioTimes.com about his experiences of filming in New Zealand with much of the same production team as its enormously successful predecessor, The Lord of the Rings.
“There was a big contingent of new blood. The mixture of people who’d done Rings and people who hadn’t was a nice one – I wasn’t the only person coming into a club. We all looked after each other and you couldn’t be in a friendlier place than New Zealand – they’re pathologically friendly.
“I loved the Lord of the Rings films – I hadn’t read the books, but I thoroughly enjoyed Peter’s take on them. And I have, of course, read The Hobbit – I love the scenes in Gollum’s cave. The first bit we filmed was when Bilbo and Gollum (played by Andy Serkis) have a great theatrical scene which consists of telling each other riddles, with Bilbo’s life depending on getting these riddles right. It’s a beautifully written scene and Andy Serkis as Gollum is just a star in every regard.”
And what about his Sherlock co-star Benedict Cumberbatch who’s also involved in the project, portraying deadly dragon Smaug? “Benedict and I did cross over very briefly – he was out there after Christmas doing his bit. I saw him for just one day.”
Widely known for his roles in The Office and Sherlock, Freeman readily admits The Hobbit is “the biggest film I’ll ever do”. So is he nervous ahead of its much-anticipated release?
“I’m excited about seeing it – I want to like it, I want to be pleased with it, and I want to be proud of it. There are inevitably bits that you’ll wish you were better in, but Peter Jackson is a very skilled director and he knows Middle Earth better than anybody else.
“I’m very hopeful, but also nervous because I want to please myself first of all, and I also hope everyone else likes it.”
Sign up to the Radio Times newsletter for the latest TV and entertainment news