J.R.R. Tolkien describes Hobbits as being good-natured, simple, and irrevocably kind. It’s no wonder, then, that the actors who brought these creatures to life in Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies also endeavored to perfectly embody all of these traits, even though according to Martin Freeman, who portrayed Bilbo Baggins in the latter, there’s always a danger of being typecast as the good guy when you take on these parts.
In a recent conversation with MovieWeb, the Black Panther star explained how his role in The Hobbit put him off playing nice guys for a while.
“Probably after playing Bilbo Baggins in The Hobbit, who’s a very likable character and a certain type of character which I loved playing, but I thought that I can’t really keep playing likable, nice people and then wonder why people don’t give me dark types of roles to play. You have to sort of make that space for yourself. Really just go, ‘I like that thing, I like that script, but I can’t play another person who just seems like a nice guy next door.'”
The creative inclination to introduce gray morality or evil in some of his characters was so great, in fact, that Martin had to turn down a couple of major roles after appearing in the Middle-Earth live-action adaptation.
“There are a couple of things that I did turn down, and my kids end up going, ‘Why did you turn that down? I love that!’ […] But in a way, that would’ve kept me potentially in a certain mindset for people that hopefully now I’ve widened. I’ve widened I think how people view me now, compared to 10 or 12 years ago.”
Martin’s role in the MCU as Everett Ross is certainly a far cry from the simple-minded Hobbit in love with food and green-tilled earth, so all in all, it’s safe to say the approach has dissuaded the industry from picturing Martin only as the “nice guy.”