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Last Updated: Tuesday, 17 May, 2005, 11:12 GMT 12:12 UK
Comic actor Freeman aims straight
By Caroline Briggs
BBC News entertainment reporter in Cannes

Martin Freeman
Freeman has been promoting comedy The All Together at Cannes
Having made a name for himself playing the hapless Tim in The Office, Martin Freeman is on the look out for something a little different.

The 34-year-old actor admits that while his success in the BBC comedy has brought fame and many more scripts, playing such an indelible character does have a downside.

He says the Tim-like character he plays so well is proving "a little difficult" to shake off with regard to new film and television roles.

And his recent starring role as Arthur Dent in the big-screen version of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy has done little to change his fortunes.

Typecasting fear

"I can't keep playing that person for the rest of my life," Freeman told the BBC News website.

"People see you do a certain thing and, if they like it, they want you to do more of it.

"Hitchhiker's means more scripts are coming in, but there is also an element of 'let's have him play another comedy character, the sort of person who doesn't really know where he is in the world.'"

Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
The Hitchhiker's film saw Freeman play the bemused Arthur Dent

Other big screen roles include Shaun of the Dead and Love Actually, while his latest BBC drama, The Robinsons, was also a comedy role.

Freeman - who is at the Cannes Film Festival to promote his latest comedy, The All Together - says he is itching to get stuck into a "totally straight" role.

"I want to play someone totally straight," he says.

"No capers, no chases and no shyly asking a girl out. I have to start shooting some people instead."

But while craving the chance to do something different, Freeman laughed at the idea of playing a James Bond-style character.

Martin Freeman
No capers, no chases and no shyly asking a girl out - I have to start shooting some people instead
Martin Freeman
"I wouldn't be offered something like that, but if I was, I would turn it down," he says.

"Ride a boat, fly a plane, say four lines - no thank you! There are people out there better at that than I am."

Freeman's chance to play a straight role will come next week when he starts filming alongside Jude Law in Anthony Minghella's latest film, Breaking and Entering.

He plays an architect in the movie, which will also star Ray Winstone, Robin Wright Penn and French actress Juliette Binoche.

"It's a tale about modern London - crime, immigration and what it means to be an outsider," Freeman explains.

The Office
Freeman gained prominence as hapless Tim on sitcom The Office

"It isn't a comedy, so that is a nice change."

In his latest film The All Together - another comedy - Freeman plays a frustrated TV producer in search of a new career, home, girlfriend and best friend.

A sneak preview of the low-budget film was shown at the festival, landing the makers a UK distribution deal.

Freeman says: "The script is really funny. There was something about it that was genuinely funny as opposed to pretend-funny, which is what most scripts are."


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