British actors Martin Freeman and Richard Armitage find their characters Bilbo and Thorin at opposing sides in “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies.”
In the halls of Erebor, the Hobbit Bilbo Baggins has not only survived his nerve-shattering battle of wits against Smaug, but has ultimately prevailed. But in helping Dwarf Prince Thorin Oakenshield reclaim his Kingdom from the Dragon who took it by force centuries ago, Bilbo now sees that possessing this vast treasure renders Thorin more like the Dragon that stalked him through the gold than the brave and noble leader he calls a friend.
|Photos courtesy of New Line Cinema, MGM and Warner Bros.|
Martin Freeman, “The Hobbit” Trilogy’s inimitable Bilbo Baggins, comments, “Bilbo’s relationship with Thorin started out very rocky, but has thawed to become quite cordial, so, for him, to see what’s happening to Thorin is like losing a close friend. Thorin has become consumed with this all-encompassing greed and fear—fear of losing anything, fear of giving anything away; he has to keep the treasure close at all costs.”
As Bilbo faces a deeper test than any since he left Bag End, directir Peter Jackson notes that the actor continues to bring new emotional dimensions to his embodiment of the Hobbit. “Martin always has a truth to him. He really gets under the skin of this character, and what he delivers is a very honest performance. For us, there was never any other choice for Bilbo Baggins. As you watch these films, you see that he’s managed to build a character that is something iconic, but also very real.”
Richard Armitage, who has essayed the fierce, brave and loyal Dwarf Warrior determined to restore the lost Dwarf Kingdom of Erebor, observes that what should be the end of Thorin’s journey is actually the beginning of a much darker, internal one. “In some ways, reclaiming the great wealth of his people brings Thorin back to life and ignites the great King that he has the potential to be,” the actor notes. “But it exacts a heavy price—greed, paranoia, the alienation of his friends. As soon as his skin comes in contact with that particular gold, it seeps into his soul and poisons him.”
Producer Fran Walsh notes that despite the efforts of Bilbo and his loyal Dwarves to help Thorin, the battle for his soul is one he must fight alone. “Thorin is an extremely noble and flawed character, but his story is a tragic one, and very moving,” says Walsh. “He is not someone you can judge for the decisions he makes. What he’s fought for has become the most important thing, but it has turned on him, and he now stands to once again lose that great dream.”
Dragon-sickness is named for the creatures that cannot resist gold, but has an equally corrosive effect on the Dwarves who hoard it. “Thorin had looked into his grandfather’s eyes and seen the madness of Dragon-sickness firsthand,” Armitage says. “But he has suppressed the fear it provoked in him so deeply that he can’t see what is happening to him even as it slowly consumes him.”
Though fractured, Thorin’s loyal Company of Dwarves, including Balin (Ken Stott), Dwalin (Graham McTavish), Fili (Dean O’Gorman), Kili (Aidan Turner), Bofur (James Nesbitt), Bombur (Stephen Hunter), Bifur (William Kircher), Oin (John Callen), Gloin (Peter Hambleton), Dori (Mark Hadlow), Nori (Jed Brophy) and Ori (Adam Brown), remain steadfast in their support of their King. But as the Dragon-sickness takes hold of him, Thorin narrows his trust to the one most responsible for expelling Smaug in the first place, even as Bilbo realizes that in securing the gold, he may have doomed his friend.
Now showing across the Philippines in 3D, HFR 3D and IMAX®, “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies” is distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company.