Martin Freeman back as Bilbo Baggins in ‘The Hobbit’ sequel

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British actor Martin Freeman as the hobbit Bilbo Baggins

British actor Martin Freeman as the hobbit Bilbo Baggins

British actor Martin Freeman returns as Bilbo Baggins in Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, the second in a trilogy of films adapting the enduringly popular masterpiece The Hobbit, by J.R.R. Tolkien.

As the second film begins, Gandalf (Ian McKellen), Bilbo, Thorin (Richard Armitage) and the Company are shaken and exhausted . . . but not broken.

Perhaps most changed of all is Bilbo Baggins himself. “I think, as the journey continues, Bilbo is able to look at the world a bit more square on,” says Freeman of the Hobbit at the center of the tale. “He is still the person he was; he is still frightened. He’s not a fighter or adventurer by nature, but to be among different species that want to kill him or eat him . . . it doesn’t need to be said how huge a change that is. And Bilbo finds a bravery that he didn’t know he had, and, more importantly, that none of the others knew he had.”

From his encounter beneath the Goblin Tunnels in the cave of the emaciated and conniving creature known as Gollum, Bilbo has emerged with something more than his courage. He has managed to steal Gollum’s “precious” ring with the power to make its wearer invisible.


Bilbo chooses to conceal this new information from Gandalf, and, for McKellen, Freeman’s portrayal of Bilbo in this moment illustrates the art the actor brings to his performance. “Martin has a palette of subtlety, and it’s often unpredictable,” McKellen observes. “He doesn’t like to do the same thing twice in front of the camera, so with a multitude of takes, in every one of those takes, Martin will give you a different nuance, a different color, a different aspect of the character he’s playing. You don’t know quite what’s going to happen next, which makes your reaction all the more real. With each take, I discovered something new about Bilbo.”

A production of New Line Cinema and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures (MGM), The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, will be released in 3D, 2D and IMAX theaters in the Philippines by Warner Bros. Pictures on December 11.

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