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artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

omg: is Sylvester McCoy going to play Bilbo Baggins?

Screenrush.co.uk is screaming:

EXCLUSIVE: Sylvester McCoy Rumoured For The Hobbit

(Sylvester McCoy was, of course the last actor to play the Doctor in Doctor Who in the classic iteration of the series.)

But it gets a tad confusing once you get into the piece:

Loathe as we usually are to report on casting news before it’s made official, we simply had to tell you about this one. On a trip to the theatre last night (what you think we only ever watch movies?), we bumped into the venerable Sylvester McCoy, aka the Seventh Doctor, and were made aware that he’s been cast for a major role in The Hobbit.

Now we have to assert that this incredible tidbit didn’t come from the man himself but a close source has confirmed that he’ll be playing “the second biggest lead” in the upcoming Lord Of The Rings prequel opposite Ian McKellen and Andy Serkis.

The second paragraph here seems to contradict the first, or else that mention of running into McCoy at the theater is just a bit of name-dropping and has absolutely nothing to do with the Hobbit rumor.
But what is the “second biggest lead” in The Hobbit? Screenrush proposes that McCoy could portray

an older version of Baggins recounting the adventures of his early years.

I’d be delighted to see McCoy as Bilbo, but an older Bilbo narrating the film as “the second biggest role” in the film seems like overkill — the story simply doesn’t need such narration, and any framing story should neither demand a second actor (you just age up whoever is playing young Bilbo) nor require the second biggest role in the film.

Sp I’m confused. Unless someone considers Gandalf the biggest role and Bilbo No. 2?

(Thanks to reader Martha for the link.)



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  • Shawn

    Or it could be Thorin Oakenshield- after Bilbo and Gandalf, the most important role..

  • MaryAnn

    That’s a good point. He’d be great as Thorin!

  • Bilbo was supposed to be comfortably settled in to middle age when Gandalf came along and hooked him up with the dwarves and rocked his world. And I seem to recall that hobbits live longer than humans. He was supposed to be ancient in LotR–even by hobbit standards. I’m hoping this is true–would love to see Sylvester in the part!

  • Erik

    The only thing that concerns me is, isn’t everything related to this movie at a complete standstill due to the MGM mess? Ian has even been talking about how he’s nearing the point of having to drop out due to other work possibilities. If that’s the case, what the hell are they doing casting other people?

    That said, I really, really hope this is true.

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