There is so much news knocking around regarding The Hobbit at the moment and very little of it seems to be encouraging. We have financial problems at MGM, directors on board, then not, union problems in New Zealand and now casting issues as well.

Martin Freeman has spoken with Empire about his possible involvement in The Hobbit as Bilbo Baggins, played in The Lord of the Rings trilogy by Ian Holm. It seems he was offered the part and was all ready to accept it, until he was offered a second season as Watson in the BBC’s popular and critically acclaimed drama, “Sherlock”.

“I did have to say no to it for the second series of Sherlock, but if something could be worked out, that would be great.”

So maybe never say never? With the ongoing and well-publicised wranglings over even getting the Hobbit off the ground, perhaps Freeman can don the hairy feet after filming season two of Sherlock?

“I’d like to think so. If there is any outside possibility, then that would be great. But I’ve learned not to think too much or hope too much about stuff. It will happen if it happens.”

Freeman went on to praise the work by cast and director on the original trilogy, before admitting that he thought he could do a good job of playing a younger Ian Holm and that at his present age he was probably about right for the role.

In related news, the UK’s Daily Telegraph is reporting that the budget for The Hobbit may exceed $500m, which even for a two-part film seems excessive. Obviously Harry Potter and the Twilight franchise are the most recent examples of final instalments being stretched to two parts, nonetheless it is difficult to imagine where that sort of money might be spent.

Part of this cost seems to have been caused by the endless wranglings over rights, studios and Tolkien’s estate. No doubt the sooner those arguments can be sorted out, the less money will be wasted  and the more that can be put toward making the actual films. Ongoing questions as to whether the films are to be shot in 3D or post-converted will likely have a bearing on the cost as well.

Let us know your thoughts below. Who is right for Bilbo? And how much should a tent pole picture actually cost these days?

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Dave has been writing for HeyUGuys since mid-2010 and has found them to be the most intelligent, friendly, erudite and insightful bunch of film fans you could hope to work with. He's gone from ham-fisted attempts at writing the news to interviewing Lawrence Bender, Renny Harlin and Julian Glover, to writing articles about things he loves that people have actually read. He has fairly broad tastes as far as films are concerned, though given the choice he's likely to go for Con Air over Battleship Potemkin most days. He's pretty sure that 2001: A Space Odyssey is the most overrated mess in cinematic history.