There has been much speculation that Martin Freeman, star of the original UK version of The Office, will take the lead as Bilbo Baggins in The Hobbit. The actor has officially signed onto co-star in Animals, directed by Marcal Fores. According to Variety, he will be done shooting the fantasy-laced coming of age tale long before The Hobbit begins production, so there is still a chance that he will be appearing in Peter Jackson's long delayed prequel.

The actor will play a secondary school teacher in Animals, which has been described as a mix between Donnie Darko and Gus Van Sant. Which means it could involve time travel, death, and a lot of shirtless young men.

Martin Freeman began rehearsals this past week, and will return on Monday of this coming week for a full six-day shooting period. The movie also stars Augustus Prew and Dimitri Leonidas.