British actor Martin Freeman, best known for his role as Tim in The Office, will play Bilbo Baggins in the two-part Lord of the Rings prequel, The Hobbit.
In a statement released this week, director Peter Jackson confirmed the news, saying there had "only ever been one Bilbo Baggins for us."
Praising Martin, 39, as "intelligent, funny, surprising and brave – exactly like Bilbo", he added: "There are a few times in your career when you come across an actor who you know was born to play a role, but that was the case as soon as I met Martin."
Meanwhile Peter's wife reportedly revealed this week that filming for The Hobbit could move to the UK because of an industrial dispute in New Zealand.
Like the Lord of the Rings trilogy, the movie had been due to be made in Peter's homeland.
But Fran Walsh – also the director's creative partner – told Radio New Zealand that the producers "had people in the UK taking location photographs."
"They've got a huge studio there that Harry Potter has vacated that they say would be perfect for us."
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