martin freeman as the hobbit

Martin Freeman almost wasn't The Hobbit

25 Jun 2019

For what it's worth, we're glad you accepted!

Martin Freeman almost turned down his lead role in The Hobbit because he didn't want to be away from his family.

The actor admits signing on to play Bilbo Baggins in the movie series wasn't as easy as many might think it was, because he worried what impact spending so much time away from home would have on his then-partner Amanda Abbington and their two children.

"I went to New Zealand in January, 2011 and my last day was July, 2013 - two-and-a-half years between the beginning and the end," the Sherlock star said during a recent BAFTA career retrospective.

"I [knew I] was going to be away for a long time and Amanda, who I was with at the time, she's an actor, a brilliant actor, and it wasn't the '50s, [so] I didn't feel I could say, 'Right, you're coming with me'. She had her own life, her own career."

The time apart did put a strain on the couple's relationship and the stars split in December, 2016, during a Sherlock season in which they played a couple.

"By the time of the last Sherlock that we've done, we were sort of in the midst of splitting up, so that wasn't that much fun, but when we weren't in that midst it was great (sic)," he recently said. "She was and remains one of my favourite actors. I think she's a fantastic actor."