In an interview with Yahoo! Moovies, English actor glossed over the significant changes his once mild-mannered character Bilbo Baggins has undergone since the first film in The Hobbit trilogy. With a little over a month pending for the premiere of the second installment of the saga (The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug), Freeman expatiated thusly on the short-statured yet brave hobbit's character evolution after the ending of the first film (subtitled An Unexpected Journey):
Bilbo, certainly by the second film, should be different. Not a different person, but be showing different things about him than when he was in Bag End at the start of the film.
It’s very clear who and what he is at the beginning of the first film. He’s us, really. [By the second film] he’s killed a few things and people and other species and been in near-death experiences a lot. He’s very different in that way that people who come back from combat are different.
The Aldershot-born actor also mentioned co-star , who voices the greedy, strong and wicked dragon Smaug. Unfortunately, both thespians were unable to meet each other on set for shooting of the film:
He had recorded his stuff before I got there for this last block.
So how did Freeman know how to interact in his scenes with Smaug? Easy peasy:
I had Leith, our dialect coach, reading in this sort of amplified mic. It was all done with her voice, very, very loud and me reacting to it.
However, it's not like he had absolutely zero connection to Cumberbatch for these dialogues:
But I'm familiar with Ben's voice and Peter had played me his read. So I had Ben’s voice in my head while I'm getting the dialogue from Leith. So at least we were able to do something live.
Freeman isn't the only Hobbit actor talking to the press about his Middle-earthen exploits. , who's returning as albino Elf Legolas, had this to say in an interview with Today:
It was a joy actually, I mean, I had such a wonderful time playing the character to begin with. And to have had the call to come back and get to don the blonde wig and the pointy ears was just wonderful.
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug premieres on December 13th.