He played affable everyman Tim in ‘The Office’, affable everyman Watson in ‘Sherlock’ and affable everyman Bilbo in ‘The Hobbit’; so what’s next for Martin Freeman?
Er, probably not what you expected: shortly after his ‘Sherlock’/’Hobbit’ co-star Benedict Cumberbatch was confirmed to play Hamlet, lovely Martin Freeman has announced that he will be playing Shakespeare’s murderous monarch Richard III, possibly the most evil creation in the entire literary canon.
Let’s be honest, this came as a bit of a shock. It’s not that the man can’t act nasty – his last stage role was as a slimy American in the award-winning ‘Clybourne Park’ – it’s more that Richard flies so far in the face of everything that Freeman is famous for that it’s hard to actually imagine how this is going to work.
And obviously that’s the brilliance of the casting – if Freeman and director Jamie Lloyd can pull this off then this could be a whole new act in Freeman’s career – Bond villain, anyone? The Avengers’ next nemesis? Or maybe it’ll be the other way around, another step in the rehabilitation of Richard III, as his grotesque acts of infanticide, uxoricide and other crimes are replaced by a series of exasperated grimaces at the audience.
Freeman may be one of Britain’s biggest stars, but he has everything to prove, and that should make this worth a look, at the very least.