Martin Freeman: 'Sherlock' bigger than 'The Hobbit,' but what about 'The Office'?

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Martin Freeman, the star of "The Hobbit" and "Sherlock," has had a rather impressive career for an English TV actor. He now claims that people know him better as Watson from "Sherlock" than for his Bilbo Baggins role.

"It's enormous but when people make themselves known to me it is more for 'Sherlock,'" Freeman told British talk-show host Graham Norton when discussing 'The Hobbit' fame.

But what about "The Office"? Or "Love, Actually"? What is Freeman's most iconic role so far? Here are five possibilities.

"Sherlock"
As Dr. John Watson, Freeman is one of two leads on this fan-favorite show. He is, in addition, a major reason why the show works. Holmes needs his Watson, after all -- and it has never been clearer than in this modern-day version where Sherlock is either a sociopath or a sufferer of Asperger Syndrome.

Freeman is more than a little brilliant as a new version of a sidekick too. This Watson is a military doctor who thrives on the excitement of life-and-death situations and isn't exactly shy about violence. Like Benedict Cumberbatch's Holmes, Watson only manages to be charming because of the brilliant acting.

"The Hobbit"
Is there an actor better-suited to playing the "Hobbit"-era Bilbo Baggins than Freeman? It almost seems like Tolkien wrote the role with this actor in mind. But one of the outcomes is that Freeman almost disappears into the role. Add in some funky makeup and lots of special effects, and even a giant movie isn't so much of a showcase for Freeman.

"The Office"
Before American audiences fell in love with Jim and Pam over many years, Freeman's Tim Canterbury in the original version of "The Office" pined over Dawn ( Lucy Davis). The entire workplace often seemed insane, so it was Tim that got to be the rational, decent center around which chaos swirled.

And it's hard to argue that Tim and Dawn's "happy beginning" wasn't more moving than anything in the American version.

"Love, Actually"
Sandwiched in between several more fleshed-out stories was an incredibly sweet tale of two sex movie stand-ins falling in love while at work. In a film full of funny moments, the reserved and almost embarrassed meet-cute of two shy people -- who happened to be simulating intercourse -- was one of the most memorable.

"The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy"
"The Hobbit" is not Freeman's first leading role in a major motion picture. Several years earlier, the actor fronted "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" in the role of Arthur Dent, the last human man in the universe. Freeman and his towel were perfect for the part.


"The Hobbit" opens Friday, Dec. 3, while "Sherlock" Season 3 returns in January.
Photo/Video credit: Getty Images
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