Director Peter Jackson on why he wants "a very English hobbit"
Peter Jackson, director of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, can go on at length about why he had only one actor in mind for the part of Bilbo Baggins, the short, hairy-footed creature at the centre of the movie that opens this week, and in the two sequels.
"Martin Freeman - we always had him in mind for Bilbo. We never wanted anyone else. The part needed a dramatic actor who could do comedy and that is a hard thing to find," says Jackson, 51, who also directed, co-wrote and co-produced the Lord Of The Rings trilogy.
Both sets of movies are based on the novels of J.R.R. Tolkien and set in the same world of Middle Earth.
The Hobbit or There And Back Again, published in 1937, is a fast-paced, comedy-tinged adventure story for children. It was followed by the three-volume The Lord Of The Rings, starting in 1954. It was a sequel, set 60 years after the events of The Hobbit, and offered a darker, more apocalyptic mood.