September 07, 2010 07:44:09 GMT
The British actor is withdrawing from the offer to play a lead role in the classic novel adaptation because he's still under contract for the TV version of 'Sherlock Holmes'.
British actor Martin Freeman has reportedly turned down a lead role in "The Hobbit" - so he can continue playing Sherlock Holmes' sidekick on U.K. TV.
The "Love Actually" star was approached to appear in the upcoming big-screen adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien's classic novel but was forced to reject the offer because he is still under contract to play Dr Watson on the BBC's series Sherlock.
A source tells Britain's The Sun, "It was one of the most difficult decisions of his career. MGM, who are making the film, only got a formal offer over in the last couple of weeks. "It was too late for Martin because he had already signed up for another series of Sherlock. It was agonizing but he had no other choice."
Director Peter Jackson is said to be searching for an unknown to take the role.