Who is the actor who plays Watson on “Sherlock”?
—Charles Samrock, Tulsa, Oklahoma
Martin Freeman plays Dr. John Watson to Benedict Cumberbatch’s Sherlock Holmes on the PBS series. If you’re a filmgoer, you will also recognize him as Bilbo Baggins in the “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” and “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.”
Freeman, 42, says he has no fear of taking on such iconic roles, because his straight-forward view of acting is: It’s not life and death.
“If you don’t like what I do, there’ll be another John Watson along in a couple of years,” he says of his role on “Sherlock.” “In fact, there’s a Joan Watson [Lucy Liu on “Elementary”] now. Someone else will have a go at these characters. I don’t expect [my performance] to be definitive. It’s one interpretation.”
Freeman’s notable credits also include the BBC version of “The Office,” as well as the films “Love Actually,” “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy,” “The World’s End” and “Nativity.”
Born in Aldershot, Hampshire, United Kingdom, he is the youngest of five children. He attended Salesian School, a Roman Catholic school in Surrey, followed by the Central School of Speech and Drama in London.
“I left drama school early to work, and I’ve never really stopped working,” he says. “I enjoy work. Even when it’s driving me mad, I’d still rather be doing that than anything else.”
Freeman has been nominated three times for a BAFTA [British Academy of Film and Television Arts] — in 2004 for his performance in “The Office” Christmas special and in 2012 for “Sherlock” — winning for “Sherlock” in 2011.
Even with the acclaim for his work, Freeman doesn’t take celebrity seriously, saying, “I’d rather not make a career out of celebrity. When I go to a showbiz event, that’s four hours of my life lost. If people make a fuss over me, I just think, ‘You should get out more.'”
What Freeman is the proudest of is his son and daughter with partner/actress Amanda Abbington. The family resides in Hertfordshire.