Read below who we think should play Bilbo, then sound off on your choices for the Ring Bearer, Smaug, Beorn, and all the characters in the world’s most eagerly anticipated film.
Book Says: Hobbit of the Shire content to live a peaceful and happy life until coerced by Gandalf the Grey into joining a group of dwarves to recover their lost treasure. Brave and wise, Bilbo becomes the bearer of the One Ring and, soon after, the company’s savior on several occasions. Fifty-one years old at the time of “The Hobbit,” Bilbo was played by Ian Holm in Jackson’s “Lord of the Rings” trilogy, which begins at Bilbo’s eleventy-first (111th) birthday.
We Say: That Ian Holm gets a raw deal. Although he plays a younger Bilbo in one brief, flashback scene in “Fellowship of the Ring” – and there’s canonical evidence to suggest that Bilbo appeared to age very little while in possession of the ring of power – we fear that the 76-year-old Holm is too old to convincingly play “The Hobbit,” particularly given that he may be nearing 80 by the time the shoot wraps. This is especially true in the universe Jackson created given that he cast a then 19-year-old Elijah Wood to play the 51-year-old Frodo in “LOTR.”
So would should it be? Well, for starters it needs to be someone who could conceivably pass as a younger version of the same character, someone who at least looks and sounds like Holm. Bilbo spends much of “The Hobbit” playing in over his head, confused by the circumstances that brought him to where he is, but cocky and excited enough to, say, talk to a dragon, for instance. The actor who plays Bilbo should be good at exhibiting inner intelligence, but even better at masking that intelligence under a veil of foolishness. Months ago, internet rumors pegged Martin Freeman for the part. Sometimes the internet has it right. We like MARTIN FREEMAN.
Alternates: Anything’s possible in this day and age, with computer technology a veritable fountain of youth for some actors (Look no further than the opening shots of “X-Men: The Last Stand” for proof.) If there’s a will and a way, of course we’d love to see IAN HOLM reprise his role.