Martin Freeman Still the Frontrunner to Play Bilbo Baggins in THE HOBBIT

Earlier this week, there was a rumor that Martin Freeman (UK version of The Office) had turned down the role of Bilbo Baggins in Peter Jackson's The Hobbit due to a scheduling conflict with the BBC series Sherlock. EW now reports that Freeman is still in negotiations with New Line and MGM and is working out a deal to do both projects. Freeman's not a name-actor who could open the movie, but I think he's a brilliant choice to play Bilbo and clearly the Hobbit producers feel the same way. Also, The Hobbit doesn't need a star as the property is big enough on its own.

For a brief history on long and winding road to get The Hobbit in front of cameras, hit the jump.

MGM's financial limbo has caused its flagship properties - The Hobbit and James Bond - to be put on hold indefinitely. This indefinite delay caused Guillermo del Toro to leave The Hobbit back in May. After looking for a new director, it appears that Peter Jackson, who previously was only going to serve as a co-writer and co-producer on the project, will helm the film. Casting went underway in July and last month there was news of Spyglass Entertainment working on a deal to erase MGM's debt.

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