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First Look: THE HOBBIT - Martin Freeman as Bilbo, Ian McKellen's Gandalf!!

Ever since Peter Jacksonfirst mentioned that he very nearly cast Martin Freeman against type as the murderer in The Lovely Bones before Stanley Tucci's audition blew everyone away and he hinted that there was a much more friendlier role The Office actor would be perfect for - I've had my heart set on the lovable Brit playing Bilbo Baggins in The Hobbit. That Freeman was the only right man to play a young Bilbo and to live up to Ian Holm's iconic work ten years ago became such an obsession in me, that I blogged about it to the hilt. I was so desperate for it to happen. But honestly, you see, the truth is deep down I never thought Freeman really ever had a chance of nabbing the role. The long rumoured James McAvoy was so much more well known and had become such a Hollywood star that he was always going to be the easier choice to sell the movie on but I couldn't accept anyone else as Bilbo and it concerned me that I wouldn't be able to get over it if they cast someone else. But, it all ended happily and the right man was picked for the role and don't we have something special to look forward to here? Our very first look at official production stills from The Hobbit has come through via EW - one featuring Bilbo, I mean Martin Freeman playing Bilbo in an actual shot from the film, and the returning Ian McKellen as Gandalf, looking like he almost hasn't aged a day. Doesn't it feel so right? Full images after the jump....
''He fits the ears, and he's got some very nice feet,'' Jackson says of his Bilbo. ''I think he's got the biggest hobbit feet we've had so far. They're a little bit hard to walk in, but he's managed to figure out the perfect hobbit gait.''
''He's in fantastic form,'' Peter Jackson says of McKellan. ''In a way, his role in The Hobbit has more technical difficulties than Lord of the Rings did, because he has scenes with 14 smaller characters €” obviously the dwarves and the hobbit are shorter... I remember saying to him , ''Look, this isn't Waiting for Godot or King Lear. This is The Hobbit. This is the real thing.''
''There's no way you can pace yourself for shoots like these,'' Jackson says. ''When we were going through the schedule for The Hobbit, I felt a terrible drop in my stomach when I saw that we'd be shooting for 254 days. We're only 12 days short of The Lord of the Rings even though we're only doing two movies. When I saw that, I had to sort of pick myself up off the floor and carry on.''
EW promise more in their new issue hitting stands tomorrow on June 24th.... The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey opens Dec. 14th, 2012.
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Matt Holmes is the co-founder of What Culture, formerly known as Obsessed With Film. He has been blogging about pop culture and entertainment since 2006 and has written over 10,000 articles.