Sunday, December 9, 2012


Martin Freeman chatting in New York
   Martin Freeman is known to TV viewers as the likeable Tim in the British version of The Office. But his life is about to change dramatically when The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, the first of three films based on J.R.R. Tolkien's slim 1937 novel is released.

   He stars in all three films as Bilbo Baggins, the hobbit of the title, and will be the focus of  fan fever from fantasy followers around the world.  
 He has already been on a promotional visit to Japan and I caught up with him in New York where he was slightly bemused to find billboards and posters of himself looking down at him from nearly every corner.

Martin Freeman; a portrait
 “The Bilboboards? Yes, it’s kind of weird when everywhere you go there are pictures of you,” he told me. “It’s certainly unusual for any film I’ve ever done.”
   Then he added with a grin: “But it’s a good picture of me and at least I’m happy with it because if it was a picture I hated I wouldn’t go out.”

  Martin was the only actor director Peter Jackson considered for the role of the Hobbit, but problems arose when filming was delayed because of financial problems and Martin instead took the role of Dr. Watson in the Sherlock TV series.

  He could not spend 18 months in New Zealand because of his Sherlock commitments so Jackson took the practically unheard of step of closing down production for two months so Martin could return to the U.K to film Sherlock. 

  He is relatively unperturbed at the prospect of becoming world famous as the Hobbit.   “Until it actually happens it’s all an intellectual exercise,” he says. “What if everyone hates it? I try not to count my chickens.
 “I try to treat it as a nice adventure rather than a huge pressure.”



  It's always a pleasure seeing Nicole Kidman, whom I first met 21 years ago on Batman Forever. A lot of water under the bridge si...