Martin Freeman on being Bilbo Baggins
British actor talks about the Tolkien film trilogy
Well, when I played Bilbo in the Hobbit films, the day would start by my going into makeup and in the makeup chair, my makeup artist, Georgia would put on my wig, my fake big ears, my hobby ears, and my facial makeup, which although it looked fairly simple in the book had to be layered on quite carefully, partly with brushes, makeup brushes, and partly with an airbrush because that's often our makeup is put on as well. So, so you have this very faint air blowing on your face is quite nice, actually on a hot day, you kind of feel it's like someone blowing on you to call you down. The wig would take quite a while to put it off the ears, which were kind of heavy rubbery texture had to be glued onto your head, whatever hair you've got in order to put your wig on nor to fit the wig properly, whatever hair you have. And I had it quite short, but it has to be greased back with what they call gaff quit, which is a kind of glue, basically glued back to be as tight to your head as possible. So that weak fits properly. That would take about an hour and 15 minutes. Then I would go and get into my costume. And the costume would usually consist of like corduroy britches, which are kind of half knee length trousers, braces, a waistcoat or woolenl waistcoat, and usually a kind of corduroy jacket for most of the films. It was quite battered and dirty. And cause he'd been on these adventures, then I would go and get my feet put on. And so the big Hobbit feet, they take about 15 minutes to put on with the aid of two other people. So I sit down and I put my legs out. I've got no shoes or socks on I've shaved my legs. Cos the thing is, when you pull these feet up, they can catch on the leg, their hairs of your legs. So that's quite painful. I had shaved legs for all the time I was doing the Hobbit, which was kind of weird to look in the mirror and see these kinds of white plucked legs, which didn't to me look very good, but the legs would be pulled up almost like a pair of rubber tights. And I would have to fit my real foot inside this kind of skeleton of a foot inside the, uh, the rubber foot. And you could actually move your toes if you moved your toes, the toes of the rubber foot moved. And that would take, say 15 minutes. I would then get up, walk out onto set and the first time for about the first week of having these feet on, you already have to get used to holding your feet. Like, you know, walking normally is walking normally, but with the size of these feet, which were about another half foot on the size on the end of your foot, you have to lift your knees up much higher than you normally would. At first you feel a bit like you're flopping around like a duck, you know, a big sort of webbed feet on the end of your legs On set it was actually a mixture of what we call green screen. So like pretend digital backgrounds and very, very real sets. So there would be real trees, there'd be real rocks, real doors, real windows and all of that and mud and dirt and everything. And there would be some things that were not real. We also went out into the beautiful parts of New Zealand where we would be at mountains. Where would it be in Hills waterfalls like quarrys. It was, it was really beautiful. So we got to see a lot of real nature, very, very fresh air in New Zealand, which if you're from London is kind of an eye opener or nostril opener.