From Collider.com, ‘Martin Freeman, Sir Ian McKellan, Andy Serkis and Peter Jackson Talk THE HOBBIT, the Possibility of Three Films, 48fps, 3D, SHERLOCK, More’.
We’ve clipped Martin’s section below, where he talks about the use of scale to fulfill his role as Bilbo, his previous experience with an effects packed blockbuster in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, as well as the reconfirming of filming for Sherlock Series Three from January 2013 for the likely standard three months of principal photography, which would see shooting end in April 2013.
Martin, as one of the actors who is new to this world, what was it like to be a part of this and play a character that is so small?
MARTIN FREEMAN: For me, it became really noticeable when we went to Lake Town.
PETER JACKSON: Spoiler alert!
FREEMAN: In the book, in Lake Town, there are human beings. That’s when we became more aware that, “Christ, we’re really small!,” because we spend so much of the time just hanging out with each other. We’re very aware that Gandalf is bigger. We’re used to looking two feet above Ian’s eyes. But, among all of us, we’re just the heights we are, so it doesn’t really occur to you very often. My scale double hasn’t been used that much, really.
JACKSON: Not as much as on Rings, no.
FREEMAN: So, it’s felt fairly painless, and it hasn’t felt to contrived. Personally, I’ve been surprised by how quickly I’ve gotten used to these ways of filming that I haven’t used before. The first time that we ever shot a scene with Gandalf, where Ian had to be in a completely different room, I thought, “This is ridiculous! This will never work! Who are these people? Why are they doing this to us?” And then, an hour later, you go, “That looks brilliant!” You rehearse it and rehearse it, and it becomes normal. Your whole frame of reference for how you normally work on a film shifts. What, one minute, is completely unworkable and ridiculous, the next week just works. It becomes very easy, actually.
Martin, how does this literary adaptation of Tolkien compare to the experience of making The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy?
FREEMAN: It’s even more green screen this time than with Adams. They’re very different. Apart from the fact that they have a fantastical element to them and I’m playing in adaptations, they’re literally completely different worlds. The experience of this is genuinely unlike anything I’ve ever done, and unlike anything I’m likely to do again, just for breadth of scale and time, and being in a different part of the hemisphere than I’m used to. It’s a whole different experience. It’s like a huge chunk of your life. That, alone, makes it different from anything else. The budget makes it different. You’re constantly walking onto sets and soundstages where what you’re acting on would take up the entire budget of any other film I’ve done. So, just the scale of it is quite phenomenal. For me, they’re incomparable.
In taking a character from a book, did either author make it easier to inhabit the character?
FREEMAN: That’s a good question. Not that I’ve noticed, particularly, no. With Arthur Dent, he serves, I suppose, a similar function to Bilbo, in that he’s the nearest thing to an audience member, in the film. He’s the audience’s way in. And to a certain extent, you could argue that they’re archetypes, in the hands of a much lesser actor. Cue laughter. They’re ciphers, in a way, I suppose you could say. And, they’re reluctant heroes who end up being heroes by accident because they’re archetypal stay-at-home people. Also, a lot of the time, it’s not just about whether the author makes it easier because that goes for an adaptive process, and then you’re working with directors as well. It’s the entire experience that determines whether you’re going to have an easy time of it or not. It’s not just Tolkien versus Douglas Adams, both of whom are brilliant writers. It’s who’s directing the film, who’s adapted it, and everything.
Will you shoot a Season 3 of Sherlock soon?
FREEMAN: Yes, in January until about April, I think.
It’s such an incredibly well-written show with great dialogue, and you and Benedict Cumberbatch are just so fantastic together.
FREEMAN: It’s a pleasure for us to do. We love it!
Read the full interview, including questions for Peter Jackson and the other cast, over on Collider.com
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