Belfast Telegraph

Martin Freeman: No more Mr Nice Guy

Martin Freeman finds it frustrating to be perceived as the "nice guy".

The British actor has made a name for himself as a "nice" guy, playing lovable Tim Canterbury in UK show The Office. His latest project is Fargo, in which he plays a malicious and violent man, and the star welcomed the opportunity to take on a new kind of role.

"I'm under no illusion about what I appear like," he admitted to British newspaper The Guardian. "I just know there's more to me than that as a person, and there's certainly more to me than that as an actor. That's where the frustration comes. My plan was always to be an actor. It wasn't to be a nice guy. I became famous in Britain playing a nice decent guy and that casts a long shadow."

Martin, 42, has been in a relationship with 40-year-old actress Amanda Abbington since 2000. He admits there has been some tension between himself and the Mr Selfridge star since he made it big with The Office and The Hobbit franchise.

"I don't know. Amanda says there was a small period when she felt that I believed it a bit," he answered when asked how fame has changed him. "But I can't remember that, to be honest. It might well be true. But that was also in contrast to where she was at the time. One moment, we're both good jobbing actors and then people are nudging her out of the way at the bar to get to me. That is going to make her feel even more insecure and make me look like I'm being an arrogant p***k. I'm not saying I wasn't an arrogant p***k. If I was, she says it didn't last long."

Along with playing main character Lester Nygaard in Fargo, Martin landed the lead role as Bilbo Baggins in The Hobbit films. His father died when he was ten and he's sure he would be proud of what his kids have achieved.

"I think he would have been absolutely proud, but I'm one of five. Whenever someone says to my mom: 'How's your son doing?' she says: 'Which one?'" he smiled. "If you're a parent, you're not going to go: 'Oh I'll concentrate on the famous one.' I wish he'd met my kids. I wish all sorts of things. I wish I'd got drunk with him. But my family are very proud and that's nice."

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