In 2010, due to unavoidable timetabling clashes with the filming of Sherlock, Martin Freeman advised director Peter Jackson that regrettably he would be unable to play Bilbo Baggins in the two-part "Lord of the Rings" prequel "The Hobbit".
Freeman Pulls Out of the HobbitJackson had been so desperate to cast Freeman that he had proposed suspending filming for over two months. But ultimately, Freeman realized that it was simply too much. And in fact, he had privately decided to build upon his success in films for Television.
A number of second choice actors now entered consideration, Toby McGuire, Daniel Radcliffe, Elijah Woods (who was already cast as a younger Frodo) and even Freeman's colleague from "The Office" Ricky Gervais.