Martin Freeman On “Animals” & “Hobbit”

British star Martin Freeman (“Sherlock,” “The Office,” “Love Actually”) has officially signed onto the fantasy-tinged coming-of-age story “Animals” for Escandalo Films reports Variety.

Freeman will play a secondary school teacher in the film, the feature debut of Catalan director Marcal Fores. The actor was in Barcelona this week for rehearsals and will return for six to seven days of the eight-week shoot.

Augustus Prew and Dimitri Leonidas have also joined the project which commences filming next Monday around Barcelona and the Pyrenees. Fores, Aintza Serra and Enric Pardo penned the screenplay.

Freeman has been the hot tip to play a young Bilbo Baggins in the upcoming “The Hobbit” films but there’s been scheduling concerns as the actor will soon kick off filming on a second season of “Sherlock” for the BBC.

Freeeman tells Empire that he did say no to the project due to his “Sherlock” commitments, but “if something could be worked out, that would be great… I’ve learned not to think too much or hope too much about stuff. It will happen if it happens.”

Chances are likely to improve with time as despite excited online chatter, things haven’t moved much at all on the films. Director Peter Jackson told Empire late last week that “We are nowhere different to any other reports or conversations. We haven’t got a green light yet. We’re still waiting… There is only one thing you want to believe and that’s when the studio announces a green light.”