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Radcliffe isn't feeling Baggins

August 19, 2009|Geoff Boucher

Who will star as Bilbo Baggins in "The Hobbit"? You can cross one name off the list: Daniel Radcliffe, of "Harry Potter" fame, says he has no interest in the project.

"I'd have to say, 'Thanks but no thanks,' not that anyone has asked me," the 20-year-old actor said during an interview last week in England. "Honestly, I don't think they would want me anyway; it's just too close. Whatever I do next, I don't think there will be any wizards in it!"

Radcliffe is now at work on the seventh and eighth films in the "Potter" franchise, and by the 2011 release of the last film in the series, he will have spent more than a decade inhabiting the role of the orphaned boy wizard. The sixth "Potter" film, released in the U.S. on July 15, is closing in on $830 million in worldwide box office. The franchise has made north of $5.3 billion in global box office.

Radcliffe is one of several names that has popped up again and again as fans chew on the casting challenge for "The Hobbit," the two-film companion piece to the massively successful "Lord of the Rings" franchise. Oscar-winning "Rings" director Peter Jackson is back as a producer this time, and Guillermo del Toro ("Pan's Labyrinth," "Hellboy") is in as director. "The Hobbit" which is planned as a $300-million project with releases in 2011 and 2012, will be a prequel to "Lord of the Rings" and loyal to its canon. The films will follow the adventures of Baggins as he ventures past the Shire on a perilous quest.

In a recent reader poll on the Hero Complex blog, there were more than 5,700 votes cast, and Radcliffe came in third behind James McAvoy ("Atonement") and David Tennant ("Doctor Who") as the best choice to play the itinerant Bilbo. Radcliffe says he casts his own ballot for McAvoy.

"James McAvoy is fantastic. I think he should play it. I've done the fantasy film thing. Actually, so has he, with the 'Chronicles of Narnia,' of course. But I've done it for longer. He can take over. I'm done."

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geoff.boucher@latimes.com

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