Martin FreemanWith 'The Hobbit' finally getting a greenlight after what seems like forever, the spotlight now shines on Martin Freeman. The English actor, perhaps best known as Tim on the original 'The Office,' has been long rumored as the frontrunner to play Bilbo Baggins, the diminutive fellow who defeats a dragon and finds a ring.

Where does the rumor mill stand right now? Here's what we know:

- 'The Hobbit' will start shooting in February and be directed by 'Lord of the Rings' guru Peter Jackson.

- Deadline Hollywood is reporting that Martin Freeman will indeed play Bilbo Baggins (also that Jimmy Nesbitt, Michael Fassbender and David Tennant are being offered other roles). MGM has not yet confirmed this news.
- Freeman was originally offered a seven-figure salary to play the part, but reportedly had to turn it down to appear in the second 'Sherlock' series on the BBC (he plays Dr. John Watson).

- Freeman, despite having had to bow out, retained hope that the role could yet be his, telling Empire Online, "if something could be worked out, that would be great."

- Entertainment Weekly reported that the studio went back to Freeman to re-negotiate and accommodate the actor's schedule, allowing him to film both 'The Hobbit' and 'Sherlock.'

So are the rumors true? Do we finally have our Bilbo? Keep it tuned here to get the latest on Martin Freeman's potential casting and all 'Hobbit' news.

More 'The Hobbit' news
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
PG-13 2012
Based on 40 critics

Hobbit Bilbo Baggins joins 13 dwarves on a quest to reclaim the lost kingdom of Erebor. Read More

categories Movies, Cinematical