Martin Freeman is always on our radar. And we’re not jumping on the bandwagon just because he’s in the fan-favorite series Sherlock; we’ve been watching his career from the start.
And, he continues to grow his impressive list of roles, starring in a new film premiering today (April 20). The anthology horror thriller Ghost Stories revolves around three unsolved mysteries. Andy Nyman (Wanderlust) takes on the role of professor Phillip Goodman, a skeptic who finds himself wrapped up in the unexplained hauntings. He discovers the details in a long-lost file, and can’t turn his back on the events that transpired, even though he doesn’t believe in the supernatural. Freeman steps in as Mike Priddle, whose photo is in one of the files, warning the academic-turned-ghost hunter, “You don’t know everything.”
He’s absolutely correct…
Take a look at the terrifying trailer:
Now let’s circle back to the Freeman roles we’ve loved so much we could revisit them again and again. Here are the best-of-the-best — and where you can watch them:
1. The Office
Before we met Michael Scott (Steve Carell) and Jim Halpert (John Krasinski) in the American reimagining of The Office, their British counterparts made us die laughing in the original version. The show’s co-creator and star Ricky Gervais played David Brent opposite Freeman’s Tim Canterbury. The U.K. version ran from 2001 to 2003, and Tim was that the cool, collected colleague who really wanted to be anywhere else. If you’ve seen the American version but not the original, the below clip may still seem familiar.
2. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
In the 2005 film adaptation of Douglas Adams‘ The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Freeman plays Arthur Dent. It’s a day like any other when Arthur finds out his friend (Yasiin Bey) is actually an alien and the Earth is about to be destroyed. The two just make their escape by stowing away on a passing spaceship. Arthur’s home planet may have been demolished but all is not lost because his love interest (Zooey Deschanel) has survived too.
3. The Good Night
In the 2007 romantic comedy The Good Night, Freeman is a chronically unhappy man living with his girlfriend (Gwyneth Paltrow). He finds escape in his dreams, where he meets the love of his life (Penélope Cruz).
4. The Hobbit
In 2012, we saw Freeman as Bilbo Baggins… THE hobbit. Reluctantly, he signed on for a mission to retrieve a precious ring in the film adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien‘s epic story. Luckily, he had guidance from Gandolf the Great (Ian McKellen) and the companionship of a rambunctious and, more importantly, fearless, group of dwarves, led by Thorin (Richard Armitage). Freeman returned for the film’s follow-ups — 2013’s The Desolation of Smaug and 2014’s The Battle of the Five Armies.
5. Boy Meets Girl
In 2009, Freeman took on the role of Danny Reed in ITV comedy drama, Boy Meets Girl. Danny is struck by lightning and wakes up in the body of fashionista Veronica Burton (Rachael Stirling). And she’s in his. It’s a sort of British Freaky Friday.
Freeman starred in FX’s 2014 adaptation of the dark comedy Fargo. The cringe-inducing storyline may not be a gut buster, but the dry dialogue induces nervous laughter. Freeman plays hapless insurance salesman Lester Nygaard whose life is turned upside down when he unwittingly strikes up a conversation with a hired killer (Billy Bob Thornton).
7. Whiskey Tango Foxtrot
In 2016, Freeman teamed up with Tina Fey for the film adaptation of journalist Kim Barker’s 2011 memoir The Taliban Shuffle Strange Days in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The story is an account of Barker’s time in that region as an international correspondent. Fey takes on the role of Barker, with Freeman stepping in to portray a wartime photographer, who doesn’t think about anyone but himself.
8. Black Panther
We first saw Freeman as Marvel’s Everett K. Ross in 2016’s Captain America: Civil War, which also introduced us to Chadwick Boseman as T’Challa, the ruler of Wakanda, also known as Black Panther. The two reunite in the 2018 superhero flick, Black Panther. Following his father’s death, T’Challa takes the throne of his African nation. But, he is challenged by an enemy, who he’s known since childhood. Freeman’s Ross is the Deputy Task Force Commander of the Joint Counter Terrorist Center. Freeman describes his character in the below as “ambiguous,” saying, “He works for the government. The American government. And certain agencies who work to tame the superheroes.” He’s supposed to be an aid to T’Challa, but it may just be the Black Panther who helps him.
Dr. John Watson needs no introduction with this crowd, but for the sake of consistency, he’s Sherlock Holmes’ second in command. Freeman plays the latest incarnation of Watson in the hugely popular Sherlock, opposite Benedict Cumberbatch. The series first aired in 2010, and we saw the fourth season rollout last year. We’re currently on pins and needles waiting to find out if we can expect a fifth installment, but while time stands still, we can enjoy a digital library of Sherlock over at Netlix. In the trailer for the series opener, we learn Watson is writing a blog to help adjust to civilian life after being a wartime doctor. He says to a therapist, “Nothing happens to me.” At this point you can go ahead and give the screen a knowing looking.
In the Netflix original film, Cargo, Freeman takes on the role of a distraught father named Andy. The movie is based in rural Australia and tells the story of a devastating pandemic that turns those infected into the living dead. Andy has fallen victim to a life-changing bite. He has 48 hours before he turns, but in addition to the looming zombification, there is one wee problem… well, actually, a very large problem… he’s carrying precious cargo and is in search of refuge for his infant daughter.
Bonus: Paul Weller’s “Pick It Up” Music Video
Let’s indulge a little bit with this fun, upbeat, and slightly chaotic short film, better known as a music video, which provides a showcase for the Modfather Paul Weller‘s song “Pick It Up.” And, a platform for Freeman to dance his head off.
Are you up for a Martin Freeman marathon this weekend? We’ll join you!