Rumor Watch: James McAvoy As Bilbo Baggins In The Hobbit?

Rumor has it that James McAvoy will play Bilbo Baggins in Guillermo del Toro's The Hobbit.  A source tells British newspaper the Daily Express:

"A number of names have been doing the rounds, including Daniel Radcliffe and Jack Black, but James (MCAvoy) is the one the film's bosses really want. They're expected to have talks soon so hopefully it could be confirmed in the not too distant future."

Daniel Radcliffe? Jack Black? Really? The Daily Express isn't exactly the most accurate source of information and these names seem more random than believable. In Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings, Baggins was played by Ian Holm. Guillermo said in an online chat last week that he still has plans to utilize Ian Holm "in some fashion for sure" and that "the difficulty of the role will be better assessed after" the screenplays are completed. del Toro told Empire Magazine last week:

"We are writing based on [Ian Holm's performance], but other than that, we have ideas [of who could play him]," Del Toro told us. "I can tell you that it's down to a few names that we all agree upon. And that our first choice...completely, magically, we said the same name. All of us!"

del Toro also said that we can expect "at least a year before we announce any casting". So true or not true, don't expect an official selection for a while.

Discuss: Who should play Bilbo Baggins in The Hobbit?