Martin Freeman turned down Hobbit role

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Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law portray the crime-solving duo of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. John Watson in this 2009 crime/mystery flick based on the character of the title name. With aid from former adversary Irene Adler (Rachel McAdams), Holmes and Watson investigate a series of murders connected to occult rituals. Mark Strong plays the villain Lord Blackwood, who has somehow returned after his execution to take over the British Empire using an arsenal of dark arts and new technologies.
September 7th, 2010

Martin Freeman turned down the chance to play Bilbo Baggins in 'The Hobbit'.

The actor was offered the lead in Peter Jackson's big-screen adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien's classic novel but declined because he had already signed to 20 weeks filming BBC TV drama 'Sherlock' next year, in which he plays Sherlock Holmes sidekick Dr. Watson.

A source said: "It was one of the most difficult decisions of his career, MGM, who are making the film, only got a formal offer over in the last couple of weeks.

"It was too late for Martin because he had already signed up for another series of 'Sherlock'. It was agonising but he had no other choice."

Jackson - who directed the 'Lord of the Rings' trilogy, a follow-up to 'The Hobbit' book - is now holding auditions in London, New York and Sydney in the hope of finding an unknown actor for the role.

The source added to The Sun newspaper: "All the actors had to read four pages of the script to camera which is being shown to Peter Jackson. He is now looking for a hidden gem now Martin has ruled himself out of the job."

'The Hobbit' is set to hit cinema screens in 2012.