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Published on July 20th, 2010 | by Andrew Reynolds

The Ballad of (McCoy as) Bilbo Baggins

Despite the financial difficulties facing MGM and the subsequent departure of original director Guillermo Del Toro (Hellboy, Pan’s Labyrinth) several casting rumours have put Seventh Doctor, Sylvester McCoy, in line for a role in The Hobbit.

1980s Doctor Who star Sylvester McCoyNothing has been confirmed yet but Peter Jackson, who is close to putting pen to paper on directing both installments of the adaptation of  J.R.R Tolkien’s seminal novel, was believed to have jetted across the globe to speak to his actors last month, taking for granted that Warner Bros deal to buy MGM’s rights to The Hobbit was a sure thing.

Already confirmed to reprising their roles from the Lord of the Rings Trilogy are Sir Ian McKellen (X-Men, Apt Pupil)  as Gandalf the Grey, Andy Serkis (King Kong, Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll) as Gollum and Hugo Weaving (The Matrix, Transformers)  as Elrond.

McKellan had threatened to walk from the project unless he was informed of what was happening with the rights hampered, director-less and not yet greenlit films.

Rumours have already circulated that McCoy was to be cast as Bilbo Baggins, the protagonist of The Hobbit who 60 years later would return in the follow up; Lord of the Rings.

In The Hobbit Bilbo is charged with the quest to reclaim the Lonely Mountain and stealing the Dragon Smaug’s treasure. Along the way Bilbo avoids capture by Gollum after he finds the Ring and uses its powers of invisibility to slip away.

McCoy was said to have been close to getting the role in Jackson’s Lord of the Rings Trilogy but lost out to Sir Ian Holm (Time Bandits, Brazil).

Given that Holm is 77 and McCoy, a sprightly 66 (Bilbo was fifty in the novel) it seems likely that a second stab might be given to the former question mark zealot. The role is expected to be filled by a younger actor with an older Bilbo recounting the tale.

Actors rumoured for Young Bilbo have been Toby Maguire (Spider-Man, The Good German). James McAvoy (The Last King of Scotland, Wanted) and the Tenth Doctor himself David Tennant (erh…Doctor Who).

Screenrush were the first to break the news after bumping into McCoy outside a theatre in London where they were given the exclusive that he may be  playing Bilbo by:

“a source ‘close to him’”

Nothing has been confirmed by McCoy’s agent yet, though frankly the man must be doing cartwheels around Piccadilly Circus with all the free publicity his charge is getting.

Who writer Paul Cornell has already commented on the news via his Twitter page:

“I think Sylvester McCoy would be a great choice to play The Hobbit. I hope it’s true. I’d enjoy seeing the annoyable annoyed at that”

What do you think of the former Doctor, who has had his detractors, entering Middle Earth?

(via LatinoReview)


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About the Author


Everyone has a favourite Doctor and mine - just for his honesty, his fairness and his ability to not notice the Master's awful, awful disguises/anagrams (Sir Gilles Estram!?!) - has to be the Fifth Doctor, Peter Davison. The stories didn’t serve him as well as his acting served those stories.

4 Responses to The Ballad of (McCoy as) Bilbo Baggins

  1. avatar Carn says:

    I hope it’s true as I like McCoy and am a fan of the 7th Doctor era (except for Battlefield and Time & the Rani) and after how dull I found the Lord of the Rings trilogy this might be the sort of thing to get me interested in this movie.

  2. avatar Paul Cavanagh says:

    Bring it on! I’ve never thought about it before (don’t know how I’ve managed to miss the rumours up til now), but Sylvester would make a superb Bilbo. He’s just so right for it. Fingers crossed that the movie does actually happen, Jackson is a visionary, and a true cinema legend.

    Carn – dull? Really? Are you not a fan of the books? I know people who haven’t read the books find the films hard to get into. A friend of mine summarised: “It’s run, hide, get into a fight. Run, hide, fight.” – it can seem a bit aimless I guess. But for most fans, it’s a stunning piece of work.

  3. avatar Leosw4 says:

    Will these movies ever get made?

    Carn, The Hobbit, is, in book certainly, very different in tone to the Rings trilogy and is more of a sprint than a steady pace.

    I realise that two films and not one are to be made in this regard and so could alter the pace, but the price of the admission alone should be worth it , just to see Smaug the Dragon, one of the main villians of the book, realised on the big screen. Peter Jackson does excellent monsters and I for one cant wait. And Gollum(Andy Serkis) is always good value for money.

    It is a terrific story.

    Maybe one day PJ will direct an episode of our favourite show.

  4. avatar Paul Cavanagh says:

    Oooh, yeah, Jackson directing Doctor Who would be amazing. And not as unlikely as we might imagine. After all, Jackson and Moffat have worked together on the new Tintin movie. Not sure how much a fan of the show Jackson is though. We do know that Andy Serkis is a fan. Would love to see him in the show, in any capacity.

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