Jackson takes us back to Middle Earth with The Hobbit, the story of Bilbo Baggins, a young Hobbit who is taken on a vast, sprawling quest by a group of dwarves to save their village and rescue their treasures from Smaug the Dragon.
Martin Freeman, famous for his roles in Sherlock and as Tim in the original UK version of The Office, takes on the staring role of Bilbo. Peter Jackson is quoted as saying that Martin Freeman was the only person who could ever play the young Bilbo Baggins and that he spent countless nights watching Freeman as Dr. Watson in the BBC's Sherlock. The entire filming schedule of the trilogy had to be reworked around his commitments filming the second series of the show with Benedict Cumberbatch in London.
Starring alongside Freeman is an all-star cast featuring more than its fair share of British talent. Sherlock himself, Benedict Cumberbatch appears as Smaug, Richard Armitage puts in a critically acclaimed performance as Thorin the dwarf backed up by James Nesbitt and Ken Stott as Bofur and Balin. Sylvester McCoy, Aidan Turner, Ian McKellen, Ian Holm, Stephen Fry, Christopher Lee, Andy Serkis and Orlando Bloom all complete the British contingent.
The Hobbit has been in development since 2008 with various changes of directors, actors, producers and studio problems causing long delays in bringing J. R. R. Tolkien's story to the screen. The three films of the series were finally shot over 2 years near Wellington in New Zealand, the same location as the Lord of the Rings Trilogy with An Unexpected Journey being finished just days before its premiere.
Peter Bradshaw in The Guardian writes that 'Jackson has made The Hobbit with brio and fun, and Martin Freeman is just right as Bilbo Baggins: he plays it with understatement and charm.'