Peter Jackson has discussed the role of Bilbo Baggins in The Hobbit, and the casting of Martin Freeman, Digital Spy said.
The director described the need for both comedy and danger in the role of Bilbo, a hobbit who is persuaded by the wizard Gandalf (Ian McKellen) to join a group of dwarves on their quest to recover stolen treasure from the dragon Smaug.
“He really wants to be left alone, to put his feet up in front of a fire,” Jackson told Total Film. “And then suddenly he’s dragged off on an adventure. So there’s a lot of comedic opportunities.
“But you want to feel the truth of those moments. You don’t want them to be played just for laughs.
“When he’s holding the sword and faced with a troll, you want the sense of danger, and Martin’s brilliant at juggling the tone, that ability to have one foot in the dramatic world and one in the comedic world.”
Jackson’s co-writer Philippa Boyens, who also worked with him and Fran Walsh on The Hobbit, recently suggested that Freeman’s likeability was crucial, because the character of Bilbo is not “obviously heroic”.
Freeman recently spoke about the decision to make three Hobbit films rather than just two, describing the move as “unexpected”, but not daunting.
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey will be released on December 13 in the UK, and December 14 in the US.