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July 18, 2009

Will the Real Bilbo Please Stand Up


Other than impending litigation, Guillermo del Toro and Peter Jackson have been doing a marvelous job keeping an information black hole on both real news and rumors regarding The Hobbit. Which is probably why I feel the need to mention this:

According to the L.A. Times, three actors are in contention to play Bilbo Baggins. They are David Tennant, James McAvoy and Daniel Radcliffe. Tennant is best known for his current role on the BBC series, Doctor Who. McAvoy, who exploded onto the scene just a few years ago, is everywhere from The Last King of Scotland to Wanted. And Radcliffe, as if you need the reminder, is Harry Potter.

I think all three of these actors are interesting choices. However, what fascinates me the most is the fantasy intersection of the roles.

Radcliffe's is obvious. If he is chosen, he will undoubtedly be a participant in two of the most successful and beloved fantasy franchises the world has ever seen. But at 20, is he too young for the role? And will audiences be able to separate the boy wizard from the hairy-footed hobbit?

I'm not sure I find the tall, nearly 40, quirky Tennant hobbit material but I'm willing to sleep on it. There's a lot that can be done with the magic of CGI.

McAvoy, lest we forget, also got his start (at least, insofar as Americans are concerned) in another adored fantasy series which has struggled to find its footing on screen--as Mr. Tumnus the faun in The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, the first in the C.S. Lewis series often uttered in the same breathe with his friend and colleague J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings. For me anyway, McAvoy may be the best choice.

These are, I remind you, only rumors, and as ComicCon prepares to rear its head in San Diego next week, some of those rumors are already being tamped down. But still, we can dream, right?

What do you think of these casting possibilities? Who would you place in this role?


McAvoy all the way!

This is interesting. My vote would go to McAvoy. He's an excellent actor who would be able to place himself in the role. I enjoy Radcliff as Harry Potter, but he is to recognizable for that part. McAvoy is very underrated in my opinion. He should be getting more roles. He's excellent, and can even elevate an otherwise not so great movie through his skill.

One error in this post, though. McAvoy got his acting start several years before Chronicles of Narnia. His first US role was actually in the Sci-fi channel's miniseries Children of Dune. Technically, Chronicals of Narnia was his first US movie role, but the way you word it is a bit misleading. It would have been better to say that he is most remembered for the part, because that is probably true.

Really! Bilbo is 50 years old when he arrives at the Lonely Mountain. Hobbits tend to be round in the stomach. So I think someone older and better 'upholstered' is needed. How about Bob Hoskins?

Hobbits also age a lot slower than humans. Frodo is 33 at the start of LOTR, so we need someone who is only slighly older than Elijah Wood was when LOTR was filmed.

His name is popping up all over, but I would have to say Seth Rogen. He would be a much better Bilbo, than he would a Green Lantern. Bilbo is the anti-adventurer, that is thrust into a situation where he is over his head. He should be more comical and blundering, than leading man.
Another one I would pick even over Seth Rogen would be Ryan Gosling. I am convinced after watching The Notebook, and Lars and the Real Girl, that he can do anything. Because of that ability, he would be able to develop Bilbo, from scared, to heroic, quite well.
Ryan Gosling is my final answer.

I agree that it should be someone "better apholstered", but Seth Rogen? I've seen some of his other work and I can't imagine him carrying such an important role.
Of the three bandied about, I would definitely choose McAvoy. He has great range as an actor. Maybe they should try Seth Rogen as one of the dwarves in the Hobbit.

i agree with laura g. you need someone just a bit older than elijah wood for this role. out of the three, james mcavoy would be my choice. he is underrated, and doesn't do enough as an actor. why on earth, or middle earth (lol) would you even think of daniel radcliffe - too harry potter, everyone knows who he is, and thats why people will go see the hobbit, to see him - or even seth rogen - come on people, a filthy comedy actor for one of the best beloved characters of all time??? he'd probably decide in the cave of trolls to start stripping and singing kung fu fighting!!!!

mcavoy would be ideal for this role because he's a great character actor - did you see him in LWW? - and if your worried about him looking like a hobbit, there is such a thing as prothsetics, and fat suits.