Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 18 September 2014

Freeman talks Hobbit fans

Martin Freeman

Martin Freeman is surprised by how “restrained” fans of The Hobbit are.

The actor plays Bilbo Baggins in the fantasy movies, the second of which hits cinemas this month.

He’s also impressed on the small screen as Dr. John Watson in UK show Sherlock, which he believes has caused a bigger stir than his blockbusters.

“In my life the strongest evidence of any fandom is Sherlock — Hobbit fans are positively restrained,” he mused to British newspaper The Sun.

Fellow British star Benedict Cumberbatch voices dragon Smaug in The Hobbit franchise.

Not having him around on set proved quite a challenge for Martin.

“Someone read Smaug’s words during filming but it wasn’t Ben. The bulk of those scenes is me looking at green tennis balls or just looking slightly to left of camera or slightly to the right of camera,” he explained.

“So the challenge is keeping that real. Because all the best acting is reacting to your fellow actors. And if there isn’t a fellow actor — or a fellow dragon — then you have to slightly manufacture that. So between you and Peter you’re making sure you’re not pantomiming or overacting.”

Second instalment The Desolation of Smaug sees Bilbo in possession of a mysterious ring.

While he generally likes being around actors and props, some of the on-set conditions made things a little hazardous or the star.

“There was a huge set of actual treasure and trinkets and gold and coins and everything,” he revealed.

“That was physically there and as I was walking through I was sinking into like quicksand.

“It was a really good kind of obstacle for me as an actor to play because it’s hard to move over that stuff and it’s even harder to move over that stuff quietly.

“Bilbo is, of course, trying to be as quiet as possible and trying to sort of disappear and not be burned to death in a second. So that was useful.”

Being part of The Hobbit is great for the 42-year-old star, who has children Grace and Joe with his partner Amanda Abbington.

“It’s absolutely part of their world, as much as Justin Bieber or One Direction,” he smiled.

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