Martin Freeman talks about how Andy Serkis set the tone for ‘The Hobbit’

I guess it’s just a matter of time until they announce John Krasinski as the lead in “Episode VII,” right? 

I mean, seeing Jim from “The Office” wielding a lightsaber is just as unlikely as Martin Freeman being the lead in “The Hobbit.”  And yet, here we are, and I did indeed sit down with Freeman to talk about stepping into the familiar feet of Bilbo Baggins for “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey,” the first in the three films that will tell the story of the dearly beloved book.

Freeman first came to popularity with his work as Tim in the original UK version of “The Office,” and the same qualities that made him perfect for that role have served him well in other roles, like Arthur Dent in “The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy,” John Watson on Stephen Moffat’s outstanding “Sherlock,” and of course, the completely out-of-water Mr. Baggins, far from his Shire, doing his best to survive an adventure.

We talked about playing such an iconic character, and also about stepping into a group of people who have already made three giant films together.  Freeman struck me as a very thoughtful interview, someone who doesn’t just fire off rote answers to things.  We talked a bit about how strange it is for him to find himself acting opposite “Sherlock” co-star Benedict Cumberbatch in very different circumstances.

More than anything, though, we talked about how important Andy Serkis was to Freeman’s process and how shooting the “Riddles In The Dark” sequence was key to setting an overall tone for the film.  We’re going to have interviews with both Andy Serkis and Peter Jackson coming up this week as well, and you’ll hear how they describe the shooting of that same sequence.  It is one of the most important things in all of Tolkien’s work, and it sounds like it was also incredibly important to the production of “The Hobbit.”

“The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” opens this Friday in theaters everywhere.