Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Who Is The Hobbit?

It's the question of the moment for anyone into the movie-fication of the Tolkien-verse: who will play Bilbo? According to what director Guillermo del Toro has said, when that question went around the table with him, Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh, they all said the same name. Of course he won't tell us what that name was, but that hasn't stopped the speculation on fan-sites and other media.

has a poll up right now that lists the names that turn up most frequently in the rumours/gossip: Jack Black, Daniel Radcliffe, Morgan Freeman and James McAvoy. Now, if these are indeed the people who are on the shortlist, here are my thoughts on how the casting will go:

Jack Black? I love him. I really do. I think he was great in King Kong (a movie I really liked a lot, especially because of him, Adrien Brody, Naomi Watts and that big ape) and he's got that puppy-dog. doofus charm and energy. But as Bilbo? Forget it. Any fantasy movie always skates on the edge of the Monty Python abyss - PJ has admitted as much himself more than once. Not that I don't love Monty Python, I totally do, but for a fantasy movie that doesn't want to come over as parody, they really have to tread carefully. And putting Black in as Bilbo would totally push it over the precipice. His energy is just wrong if they want to "keep it real". Maybe he'll have a cameo as a hobbit, but I really don't think he will be Bilbo. And as much as I love him, I think he'd be absolutely wrong for the part.

Daniel Radcliffe? Come on. Seriously: come on. No way in hell is this happening. The guy's signed up for Potter for another few years and imo, he does not have the acting chops. He also carries all the imagery of Potter with him and that is not desirable for a Tolkien movie imo. Just. say. NO.

Martin Freeman? Maybe. He might be the one they pick. He's got the acting chops, he's British, he doesn't carry a lot of bad karma from previous movies. I loved him as Arthur Dent in Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy. He could do it and do it well. Though the Dent-role might put him out of the running: again it's got a lot of comedy and it may be that the makers of The Hobbit want to steer clear of anything too obviously "campy", even if it's something as marginal as that. He does look very hobbit-ish though and he's got that innocent charm thing going on. He would be a good pick.

James McAvoy? If I were to hazard a guess, I'd say that yes, this is the name they all came up with at the table. He's British, great actor, has had all sorts of buzz for his roles in The Last Emperor of Scotland and Atonement. That means he'd bring a lot of acting heft and weight to the movie, setting it up as much more than "just" a fantasy movie. He's got a good look that kind of reminds me of Elijah Woods (though his eyes are not as otherworldishly huge as Elijah's of course). He did have a part in the first Narnia movie as Mr Tumnus the faun, but that might well work in his favour. That movie was well-received (not that I liked it ...) and he wore a lot of makeup in it so he won't necessarily be all that recognizable. (Not like Radcliffe for example.) He'd be a very solid, exciting pick. Looking at his IMDB entry, it doesn't look like he's got anything much lined up for the future so he may well be available.

Supposedly we'll find out around Christmas time who they pick. Should be interesting!

All pictures from


Nicola said...

Scottish actor Joe McFadden would make a terrific Bilbo. He reminds me a lot of Pippin. I'd like to see Bilbo played in a similar manner to Pippin, as I think Pippin was the best of the hobbits, especially in ROTK.

Mimmi said...

First of all: hi!

Second: I had never heard of this actor, but when I looked him up, I can see that you're right. He does have a Pippin-thing going on! It will be really interesting to see who ends up getting this role.

Thanks for the tip!