Posted on Thursday, July 16th, 2009 by Russ Fischer
When Peter Jackson and Guillermo del Toro get The Hobbit going before cameras soon, Ian Holm, who played Hobbit hero Bilbo Baggins in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, won’t be back in big rubber feet. Casting Bilbo is a big deal; any actor chosen will have to hold his own against a horde of effects while still putting across a lot of character. Now three names are increasingly being rumored as options for Jackson and del Toro: Dr. Who‘s David Tennant; Wanted‘s James McAvoy; and Harry Potter‘s Daniel Radcliffe. Musing about the options and probability of all three after the break.
Peter Jackson will be at the San Diego Comic Con next week, leading to supposition that we’ll get a casting announcement then. David Tennant is an interesting option; he’s making his first Comic Con appearance next week, which was originally surmised to be part of a push for a Dr. Who feature film. Now the Hero Complex blog of the LA Times wonders if he might not actually be there because of The Hobbit. Tennant would certainly be a neat choice. He’s done great things in Dr. Who and isn’t wildly exposed outside of genre circles, which would allow mainstream audiences to approach his work as Bilbo with fresh eyes.
That’s exactly why having Daniel Radcliffe’s name in the rumor ring doesn’t make sense. He’s already demonstrated an interest in playing smaller roles after Harry Potter; why would Radcliffe jump right into a long commitment to another big fantasy adaptation just as his last Potter films wrap? He can’t possibly need the payday.
That leaves James McAvoy, possibly more flexible and capable than Tennant, and only a bit more exposed. Sure, a lot of people saw Wanted (and some even saw Atonement and The Last King of Scotland) but McAvoy is hardly a household name. Tennant could get Bilbo’s good nature perfectly, but it’s easier to imagine McAvoy playing a little game with Gollum, down in the dark.
Or, it should go without saying, maybe it will be none of these names at all. If I recall correctly, McAvoy was originally rumored as a choice by one of the British tabloids, and trusting those is about as safe as chowing down on week-old roadkill.