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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Movie Discussion: The Hobbit:
Exclusive: Bilbo the Brave? Hobbit casting details
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News from Bree
spymaster@theonering.net

Sep 9 2010, 12:58am

Post #1 of 66 (4845 views)
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Exclusive: Bilbo the Brave? Hobbit casting details Can't Post

We recently got our hands on what we think is some authentic Bilbo casting and production information which seemed to contradict something we knew with absolute certainty: The Hobbit production wanted Martin Freeman for Bilbo and has since as long ago as last year. Seemingly at odds with that fact was apparently concrete casting details about Bilbo and actors still giving audition tapes. Was the role sewn up or not?

A spy has provided an exclusive clue or two about what the role of Bilbo will be like and even a plot detail and a production outline but we were reluctant to report it because of apparent contradictions, but with all the recent Freeman news, it now fits in context. And yes, you have to read on. This is news you must work for, at least a little bit.

Why was the development and production team seeking other actors if the matter was settled? Because Freeman was busy having a career and the MGM situation wasn't resolved so the film couldn't move forward. As we all learned recently with Guillermo del Toro being forced to leave the production, having a backup plan is prudent.

Martin's camp keeps things to itself and we were sworn to secrecy by our unreproachable source but Freeman has been discussed by fans as a potentially great Bilbo for much longer than he was the production's target, for years even.

So with the Sun, TORn and Entertainment Weekly providing pieces of the puzzle, things are still hopeful for a solution for Freeman.

And what are our secrets? Yes, we have buried the news but according to our spy, if things go well with MGM and Spyglass in the next few weeks, 'The Hobbit' will head to production in January, pending negotiations with Freeman and filming could tie up actors for a year. (January happens to be an excellent weather month to shoot at the Hobbiton set.)

And, inadvertently, we know of a possible change to the plot. The character summary says:

although . . . he doesn’t have huge courage he does become, particularly in the last battle, very brave.


As readers will remember, Bilbo is mostly knocked out for "the last battle" which we can assume is The Battle of Five Armies. (That title would mean very little to some actors.) No filmmaker, definitely including producer and probable director Peter Jackson could resist filming and showing such a battle with all its action and emotional wallop, despite the titular character from the source glossing over it (and that is obvious with no spy information at all). But this information is a possible plot reveal that Bilbo will remain conscious and the 'film Bilbo' will get to see wonders of battle that 'book Bilbo' never did and perhaps play a brave role.

Want more details? Okay. We were further told:

Bilbo is described as "charming . . . is renowned for his dry and quirky sense of humor. There is an appealing vulnerability about him"


That sounds a lot like some of the strengths of Martin Freeman.

The casting team, the trusted folks from the LOTR films, have asked to see self doubts as Bilbo faces the decision to leave the Shire.

Now all of this could be an incorrect or perhaps the casting team has deliberately cast out some misinformation but we do know Freeman was a target and we know there was some trouble in signing and delivering him and it seem likely other options were being explored last week, just in case.

A January production start? We hope so.

Send news tips to Spymaster@TheOneRing.net or reach the author at MrCere@TheOneRing.net


Kangi Ska
Half-elven


Sep 9 2010, 8:10am

Post #2 of 66 (3485 views)
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Well that certainly is news. [In reply to] Can't Post

Lets hope it all works out.

Kangi Ska

Make the Hobbit Happen Now!

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Elven
Valinor


Sep 9 2010, 8:36am

Post #3 of 66 (3434 views)
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Thats how I see it ... [In reply to] Can't Post

I posted the same sort of timeline this morning before this post went up:
http://newboards.theonering.net/...sb=post_time;so=DESC;

As I said then, lets see how it pans out - but Im thinking there will be beers and cheers all around in about a month as things start to phopefully progress in the right direction - just my guess - but we must be close now.
Smile Im off to chill the glasses and order a keg.


Silmaril
Rohan


Sep 9 2010, 9:02am

Post #4 of 66 (3432 views)
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beers and cheers.. [In reply to] Can't Post

i hope you are right!


Pipe Dream
Gondor


Sep 9 2010, 12:44pm

Post #5 of 66 (3396 views)
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This is just a guess. [In reply to] Can't Post

According to the BBC Press Office the next batch of 3 episodes will air Autumn 2011. (That could always change) According to this fan site they venture that filming on the second set of Sherlock episodes will last 20 weeks. Going by when they started filming the previous three episodes from Jan 2010 to when it first aired on 25 Jul 2010, (205 days with post etc.) in order to air in the middle of Autumn 2011 say Oct 1st, then I'd guess they would have to start filming (Sherlock) around 10 Mar 2011 and if 20 weeks is a correct guesstimate, then that puts the principal over around 28 Jul 2011. So just say Aug 2011. That's where the time conflict is, 8 months is hard to work around if they want to start filming The Hobbit in Jan 2011. I guess they could have him from Jan to the end of Feb to film the Matamata stuff but what then? Wait around for 8 months? Has anything been easy about this project? Here's another scenario. If they start at the same month like last time, Jan...then that puts principal concluding on 21 May 2011, ready to air July 2011. Maybe the BBC will just hold it to air until Autumn. Still that would put The Hobbit behind...5 months. I guess we all need to keep our fingers crossed.

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Pre-Pre-production goes ever on and on...

(This post was edited by Pipe Dream on Sep 9 2010, 12:52pm)


Pipe Dream
Gondor


Sep 9 2010, 1:10pm

Post #6 of 66 (3363 views)
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Guess I should say... [In reply to] Can't Post

Fans of Freeman to play Bilbo keep your fingers crossed. Team Martin Rulz! Cool

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Pre-Pre-production goes ever on and on...


Voronwë_the_Faithful
Valinor

Sep 9 2010, 1:11pm

Post #7 of 66 (3463 views)
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Very disturbing! [In reply to] Can't Post

The plot details of this spoiler report are potentially very disturbing, representing a much larger departure from the book than I had hoped they would make. It is a critical aspect of the book that Bilbo does not play a brave heroic role in the battle; his heroism is of a very different kind, contrasting with that of Thorin, Bard and Beorn. If they change that, it will take away most of the moral message of the story.

Interestingly, this appears to directly contradict something that Guillermo said (as a friend pointed out elsewhere) in the Empire interview in June 2009:


Quote

Interviewer: Another problem is that Bilbo is largely unconscious during the Battle of the Five Armies...
GDT: That's one of the idiosyncrasies that, from the get-go, I said "That's one of the ones that we need to keep!" It's so unexpected.


'But very bright were the stars upon the margin of the world, when at times the clouds about the West were drawn aside.'

www.arda-reconstructed.com


hamlet
Rivendell


Sep 9 2010, 1:21pm

Post #8 of 66 (3431 views)
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I understand your point, but. . . [In reply to] Can't Post

I was skimming through the book just the other day, and as I came upon the passage where Bilbo gets knocked out and essentially misses the climax of the battle, I said to myself, "There's no way P.J. will let that stand as written. At the very least he'll want his main character to be a witness to the battle, and probably an active participant." Looks like I may have been right.


Voronwë_the_Faithful
Valinor

Sep 9 2010, 1:38pm

Post #9 of 66 (3374 views)
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Sadly, I think you are probably right [In reply to] Can't Post

There are certain aspects of Tolkien that Jackson seems unable to comprehend. This fits in with those.

Hopefully it won't be as bad as I fear.

'But very bright were the stars upon the margin of the world, when at times the clouds about the West were drawn aside.'

www.arda-reconstructed.com


Pipe Dream
Gondor


Sep 9 2010, 2:06pm

Post #10 of 66 (3379 views)
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He put the ring on early... [In reply to] Can't Post

...and was quite unimportant in the battle (to anyone who couldn't see him perhaps?)...but he was in it for most of it, at least until the eagles showed up, so who is to say he didn't participate in a stealthy jab here and there while saving others? I think they have plenty of leeway there. I'm sure he wouldn't just stand there and watch while doing nothing to help his friends, not when he has Sting, a helmet, and the mithril mail on that Thorin gave him. A hobbit could not last in a sword fight one on one, but an invisible hobbit could do some real damage. I think it would be really cool to see that.

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Pre-Pre-production goes ever on and on...

(This post was edited by Pipe Dream on Sep 9 2010, 2:13pm)


Bound
Rohan

Sep 9 2010, 2:54pm

Post #11 of 66 (3334 views)
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... [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
There are certain aspects of Tolkien that Jackson seems unable to comprehend. This fits in with those.

Hopefully it won't be as bad as I fear.



I think you are wrong to suggest that Jackson doesn't understand these aspect of Tolkien - Jackson just doesn't think they work for a film .

Things that work in a book might not work on film and Jackson leans towards the over the top / entertaining side of things. I don't always agree with his choices but i'd not go so far as to say he doesn't comprehend Tolkien. I think he does.


Eruonen
Valinor

Sep 9 2010, 2:59pm

Post #12 of 66 (3319 views)
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There may be a way to tweak it...hopefully not too much like LOTR. [In reply to] Can't Post

I suppose Bilbo could witnesses things, is then hit on the head, and has amnesia....

Then again, just shifting the plot from Bilbo to the conscious actors would be easy to do as well...we all want to see what happens to Thorin, Fili, Kili, Beorn etc.


Voronwë_the_Faithful
Valinor

Sep 9 2010, 3:01pm

Post #13 of 66 (3313 views)
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That would be horrible [In reply to] Can't Post

If I had firm information that invisible Bilbo was going around stabbing orcs and goblins and wargs in the battle, I would like boycott the films altogether. I couldn't imagine a worse departure from what Tolkien wrote.

'But very bright were the stars upon the margin of the world, when at times the clouds about the West were drawn aside.'

www.arda-reconstructed.com


Tim
Tol Eressea


Sep 9 2010, 3:07pm

Post #14 of 66 (3334 views)
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What does the text say? [In reply to] Can't Post

I don't have a copy of The Hobbit (I know blasphemy right?). What does the text say Bilbo does during this battle (of the Five Armies)? I don't remember it's been a long time since I've read the book.

King Arthur: Who are you who can summon fire without flint or tinder?
Tim: There are some who call me... Tim.

Tim: Follow. But. Follow only if ye be TORNsibs of valour, for the making of The Hobbit is guarded by a creature so foul, so cruel that no TORNsib yet has fought with it and lived. Bones of an A List veteran director lie strewn about its lair. So, brave TORNsibs, if you do doubt your courage or your strength, come no further, for Hollywood Studio Bureaucratic Ineptitude awaits you all with nasty, big, pointy teeth!

Studio Exec: And that, my liege, is how we know the Earth to be banana-shaped.
Studio CEO: This new learning amazes me, Studio Lapdog. Explain again how sheeps' bladders may be employed to prevent earthquakes.


Voronwë_the_Faithful
Valinor

Sep 9 2010, 3:14pm

Post #15 of 66 (3304 views)
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Yes and no [In reply to] Can't Post

There are somethings that Jackson has done that can be attributed to things not working in films. For instance, having the destruction of Isengard told in flashback would certainly not have worked in a film, and it was much better to show it in real time. Similarly, it makes sense to show the battle of the five armies in real time, rather than describing most of it after the fact after Bilbo regains consciousness. But other things show a fundamental misunderstanding of Tolkien that can't just be put off to "some things don't work in films". Having Aragorn cut off the head of the Mouth of Sauron when he was acting as a herald. Having Gandalf physically attack Denethor. Having Frodo send Sam home. These are few examples.

But they would all pale before having Bilbo play an active role in the battle of five armies.

'But very bright were the stars upon the margin of the world, when at times the clouds about the West were drawn aside.'

www.arda-reconstructed.com


sphdle1
Gondor


Sep 9 2010, 3:17pm

Post #16 of 66 (3341 views)
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Another possibility they may be entertaining [In reply to] Can't Post

I don't know how things happen when filming begins, but I suspect there are times when actors are not in a particular scene, and don't need to be 'on set' ... If Jackson and BBC directors worked out a schedule that would have Freeman traveling back and forth between UK and NZ, as well as, have Jackson traveling to the UK to shoot some scenes for TH (& vice versa for the BBC director traveling to NZ for some Sherlock scenes ... then that might allow Freeman to do both. Of course he would be one of the busiest actors on the planet for that period of time, but if he's up for it and it can be physically scheduled to make it happen, that would be awesome.

Maybe they could convince the BBC to postpone the Sherlock series a couple of months, and Jackson could allow TH to be behind a couple of months...!?

The good part I like is that Jackson and Co. want Freeman that bad that they are fighting to find a way to schedule him for TH...they see that he is the perfect Bilbo, and every one else is plan B.


(This post was edited by sphdle1 on Sep 9 2010, 3:18pm)


Earl
Forum Admin / Moderator


Sep 9 2010, 3:19pm

Post #17 of 66 (3332 views)
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I agree completely... to me, Bilbo is like Arwen.... [In reply to] Can't Post

... in a manner of speaking, in that, he doesn't ALWAYS have to have a sword in his hand to be heroic. The Dwarves are there for that, for heroism in battle, but Bilbo's heroism is of a completely different nature, one that doesn't require him to wield a sword to display his heroism.

I hope the filmmaking team comes through realizing this the same way they finally came to the realization that Arwen did not have to have a sword in her hand and did not have to be fighting beside Aragorn to make her strong. Her strength comes from within, from what she stands for, and Bilbo, in a similar way, mirrors these aspects.

I don't think I've said what I wanted to very well, but I wanted to say it anyway Smile



Tim
Tol Eressea


Sep 9 2010, 3:31pm

Post #18 of 66 (3287 views)
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Unless it's contractual [In reply to] Can't Post

my advice to Freeman is ditch the BBC series and do The Hobbit. Why? Because it's a huge role for anyone. It will make him a ton more money. It will be a worth while family friendly role that makes him incredibly famous and opens up a whole new world for him - he'll have well paid work the rest of his life. What is this Sherlock series... three episodes or so a year or every six months? How busy can that possibly be keeping him? Besides the new Sherlock Holmes franchise isn't a BBC series - it's Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law. Why compete with that?

If he can do both that's great but if he can't - dude - do The Hobbit.

And by the way I'm not saying he's a bad Watson.

King Arthur: Who are you who can summon fire without flint or tinder?
Tim: There are some who call me... Tim.

Tim: Follow. But. Follow only if ye be TORNsibs of valour, for the making of The Hobbit is guarded by a creature so foul, so cruel that no TORNsib yet has fought with it and lived. Bones of an A List veteran director lie strewn about its lair. So, brave TORNsibs, if you do doubt your courage or your strength, come no further, for Hollywood Studio Bureaucratic Ineptitude awaits you all with nasty, big, pointy teeth!

Studio Exec: And that, my liege, is how we know the Earth to be banana-shaped.
Studio CEO: This new learning amazes me, Studio Lapdog. Explain again how sheeps' bladders may be employed to prevent earthquakes.


Voronwë_the_Faithful
Valinor

Sep 9 2010, 3:32pm

Post #19 of 66 (3265 views)
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I thought you said it very well [In reply to] Can't Post

Thank you!

'But very bright were the stars upon the margin of the world, when at times the clouds about the West were drawn aside.'

www.arda-reconstructed.com


Pipe Dream
Gondor


Sep 9 2010, 3:32pm

Post #20 of 66 (3289 views)
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This may not be word for word... [In reply to] Can't Post

...but it says, "It was a terrible battle the most dreadful of all Bilbo's experiences and the one which at the time he hated most which is to say it was the one he was most proud of and most fond of recalling long afterwards although he was quite unimportant in it. Actually I must say he put on his ring early in the business and vanished from sight, if not from all danger. A magic ring of that sort is not a complete protection in a goblin charge, nor does it stop flying arrows and wild spears, but it does help in getting out of the way, and it prevents your head from being specially choosen for a sweeping stroke by a goblin swordsman."

Granted, a hobbit can't do much. If Bilbo kills a few goblins in the middle of a battle, overall it would be quite unimportant. It's not like they are going to let him be "Ram-Bilbo" or rack up as many kills as Gimli, Legolas or Aragorn...but I'm sure he could take part and wouldn't just stand there. After we see Bilbo handle the spiders of Mirkwood we would expect that he wouldn't just stand around doing nothing. Or is that just me?

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Pre-Pre-production goes ever on and on...

(This post was edited by Pipe Dream on Sep 9 2010, 3:35pm)


Tim
Tol Eressea


Sep 9 2010, 3:43pm

Post #21 of 66 (3283 views)
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It's not just you [In reply to] Can't Post

I don't think they're going to go crazy and make Bilbo another Legolas or Gimli but I can see him ducking and weaving like Merry and Pippin during the Rohan charge that freed them to escape into Fanghorn. Maybe a stab or two to save a friend then he gets knocked out. I was just thinking about how he saves the dwarfs from the spiders like you were. I think most of his bravery is going to be on display in events like in Mirkwood and when he talks with Smaug. Him being invisible does put him in an unique position to observe and he obviously has memories of the battle according to the book - so he can't be knocked out the whole time.

King Arthur: Who are you who can summon fire without flint or tinder?
Tim: There are some who call me... Tim.

Tim: Follow. But. Follow only if ye be TORNsibs of valour, for the making of The Hobbit is guarded by a creature so foul, so cruel that no TORNsib yet has fought with it and lived. Bones of an A List veteran director lie strewn about its lair. So, brave TORNsibs, if you do doubt your courage or your strength, come no further, for Hollywood Studio Bureaucratic Ineptitude awaits you all with nasty, big, pointy teeth!

Studio Exec: And that, my liege, is how we know the Earth to be banana-shaped.
Studio CEO: This new learning amazes me, Studio Lapdog. Explain again how sheeps' bladders may be employed to prevent earthquakes.


sphdle1
Gondor


Sep 9 2010, 4:12pm

Post #22 of 66 (3237 views)
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I agree [In reply to] Can't Post

 


Ainu Laire
Tol Eressea


Sep 9 2010, 4:18pm

Post #23 of 66 (3276 views)
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Very exciting! [In reply to] Can't Post

After Bilbo's bravery with the spiders in Mirkwood, I can certainly see him as brave in the battle.

Perhaps he will get knocked out, if Guillermo's wish was still kept, but rather later on in the battle rather than quickly in? I wonder if they will have him putting on the Ring, and how they would film that. It would be amusing in some aspects to see an orc suddenly just die, or another get pushed by an invisible Bilbo.

My LiveJournal ~ My artwork and photography

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NARF since age 8, when I refused to read the Hobbit because the cover looked boring and icky.


Pipe Dream
Gondor


Sep 9 2010, 4:27pm

Post #24 of 66 (3229 views)
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There's a lot more to it then that of course... [In reply to] Can't Post

but, if Gandalf is fighting, Thorin and the dwarves are fighting, the Elves are fighting, Beorn is fighting, the eagles are fighting and the people of Lake town are fighting all against the goblins/orcs...it should go without saying Bilbo is going to be brave and pitch in as well. I think it would be anticlimactic otherwise.

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Pre-Pre-production goes ever on and on...


RosieLass
Valinor


Sep 9 2010, 4:28pm

Post #25 of 66 (3267 views)
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As long as he doesn't... [In reply to] Can't Post

...turn into a ninja Hobbit. Crazy

I'm sure I've seen Freeman in other stuff but I can't really remember anything about him. (Saw Hitchhiker's Guide and hated it, but that wasn't his fault.)

He certainly looks the part, though!



It is always those with the fewest sensible things to say who make the loudest noise in saying them. --Precious Ramotswe (Alexander McCall Smith)

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