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‘The Hobbit’ Filming Started With The Precious

New film series star Martin Freeman gives inside look at production

Fans still have a year to wait until they get to see the first part of Peter Jackson’s return to Middle Earth with “The Hobbit,” but Bilbo Baggins himself has shared some behind-the-scenes tidbits, including his encounter with Gollum.

“The first thing I filmed was finding the ring in Gollum’s cave,” star Martin Freeman told Comic Book Movie. “It’s good to know, but not play, the importance of the Ring. I’m trying to put a bit more heaviness into it. It’s not all comical.”

Freeman, who many may recognize as Dr. Watson in Steven Moffat’s popular “Sherlock” series, steps in as a younger Bilbo from Lord of the Rings trilogy actor Ian Holm in the prequel. Based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s book that set the stage for Lord of the Rings, “The Hobbit” tells the story of Bilbo’s travels, which were alluded to in “Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring.”

Freeman is no stranger to the genre. He played Arthur Dent in the 2005 film “Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy,” and has also been a part of Simon Pegg’s successful films “Shaun of the Dead” and “Hot Fuzz.” Yet he has never had to play a character quite like Bilbo Baggins.

“In the normal run of things, there’s be quite a lot going on for me,” Freeman said. “I’ve for the ears, the wig and the feet, which three more things than an actor normally has. But then, I look over at the dwarves and see what they’re lugging. They’re absolute troopers.”

“The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” chronicles many of the events in the original Tolkien book. Freeman will be joined on screen not only by the return of Ian McKellen as Gandalf, Cate Blanchett as Galadriel and Andy Serkis as Gollum (in a much smaller role), but also his co-star on “Sherlock,” Benedict Cumberbatch who plays Smaug.

Other familiar genre names in the film include “Lost’s” Evangeline Lilly as Tauriel, “Being Human’s” Aidan Turner as Kili, “Jekyll” star James Nesbitt, and former “Doctor Who” Sylvester McCoy as Radagast.

The first “Hobbit” film is set to open Dec. 14, 2012.

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