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?