Benedict Cumberbatch's Sherlock Almost Stopped Martin Freeman Becoming A Hobbit

'Unexpected Journey' star almost missed out due to TV show

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Martin Freeman certainly looks the part as Bilbo Baggins in 'The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey', but the star almost wasn't cast in the role despite being the only choice of director Peter Jackson.

That's because commitments alongside Benedict Cumberbatch in Sherlock almost led to a scheduling conflict that stopped him appearing in the follow up trilogy to 'The Lord of The Rings'.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Jackson told reporters in New York on Wednesday: "Martin was the only person that we wanted for that role, and that was really before we met Martin."

Jackson also talked about how he'd known that Freeman was his man, saying: "We knew him from The Office and Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, and we just felt he had qualities that would be perfect for Bilbo. The stuffy repressed English quality. He's a dramatic actor, he's not a comedian, but he has a talent for comedy."

However the director faced the torture of an unrequited crush for a while, as he gave himself "sleepless nights" watching Sherlock and worrying about whether he'd get his man.

Jackson said: "We were in trouble. I was really panicking, I was having sleepless nights. We were probably six weeks away from the beginning of the shoot, and we hadn't settled on anyone else, and I was torturing myself by watching Sherlock on an iPad at 4 o'clock in the morning."

PHOTOS: The characters of 'The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey'

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Bilbo Baggins (Photo: Warner Bros)