Why Martin Freeman Almost Didn't Star in 'Sherlock'

Martin Freeman almost missed out on playing one of the best roles of his career in Sherlock due to a misunderstanding.

While BBC's Sherlock is one of the most popular adaptations of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's detective novels, John Watson is hardly played by Martin Freeman. From 2010 to 2017, Freeman was the best friend, assistant and former roommate of Benedict Cumberbatch's Sherlock Holmes. Despite Sherlock's problems in seasons 3 and 4 and what was seen as a dip in quality after the first two seasons, the success of the series is largely due to the two actors.

However, at first, Sherlock's producers barely chose Martin Freeman. Freeman revealed through Vanity Fair that he inadvertently gave the impression that he didn't like the role when he first auditioned. "Obviously, I realized later that I was a bit of an idiot," he admitted. "I don't remember what it was, the place was a bit of a mess. And I think when I got there, I was easily grumpy. And I think I accidentally let that show show up." Get the truth from his agent Finally, he begged to let the show know that he was very interested and got Cumberbatch a second audition. Things would have been okay if he hadn't saved the day, though. very different.

Why Martin Freeman's Reading With Benedict Cumberbatch Got Him Watson

Although Sherlock auditioned other actors for John Watson, it wasn't until Freeman read it with Cumberbatch that everyone knew they had finally found the perfect partner for Holmes. "As soon as we started reading, it was obvious that we had chemistry," Freeman told Vanity Fair. "The room was kind of crackling. You could feel it. The material was elevated." Cumberbatch echoed Freeman's feelings: "When Martin walked in, I just felt like my game was on! I totally did ,” he told the audience at the 2012 Cheltenham Literary Festival (via Radio Age).

Cumberbatch also speaks of the value Freeman brought to Watson. "He has no small gift. He can lay the groundwork for [Sherlock] a remarkable, exaggerated character—he can provide a realistic backdrop for something that would otherwise be very fantastical." His statement shows the relationship between Holmes and Watson An important sense of balance between the former eccentric but smarter and the latter more down-to-earth and human. Cumberbatch can be as dark and flamboyant as he wants, because Freeman's calm and patient presence keeps the show from getting too outlandish.

Why Sherlock Needed Martin Freeman

However, Freeman is not just Cumberbatch's heterosexual Man, because he has acting skills, can convincingly follow the lines of drama and comedy. One of the best examples is "Sherlock," the season 3 premiere of Sherlock. For two years Watson believed Holmes had jumped from St. Barth's Hospital to save his own life and the lives of others, only to find that Holmes was still alive. While Cumberbatch tries to joke about the embarrassment, Freeman delivers a controlled display of disbelief and relief — until his rage explodes and he grabs Sherlock by the neck and throws him to the ground for putting him through hell. This emotional depth, in contrast to Cumberbatch's mannered protagonist, underscores the importance of Freeman's Watson.

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