As fans prepare for the premiere of "The Hobbit" on Friday, the film's stars have opened up about the latest adventure fantasy from Peter Jackson.
"The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" sees newcomers from the U.K. Martin Freeman as the hobbit Bilbo Bobbins and Richard Armitage as the king of the dwarves, Thorin Oakenshield.
Described by Jackson as "the only person" who could ever play the role, Freeman served as the emotional center as the hobbit in the film.
"It's a classic tale small guy who ends up being a hero against his will," said the "Sherlock" actor of his character, Bilbo, during a press conference.
"What's said is true, that heroism is when deeds of bravery are done when you're scared, because when you're not scared than you're not really brave, you're just being normal," Freeman continued.
"The Hobbit" was written in 1937 by J.R.R. Tolkien with "The Lord of the Rings" following as a successor. Freeman's character starts out as a grumpy, inhibited hobbit but develops into a big-hearted swashbuckler.
Meanwhile, Armitage, who is a favorite in the U.K. for television productions such as "Robin Hood," addressed what he felt were Catholic undertones in Tolkien's world-famous books.
"One of the things that I really find when I look at the book is a sense of Tolkien's Catholicism, his kind of Christianity, not necessarily in a denominational way but just in terms of his chivalric view of the world," explained the English actor speaking to reporters. "His nobility which is expressed through kindness and mercy I think that is in his writing and in his characters and I find that inspiring."
Elijah Wood briefly appears in "The Hobbit" as Frodo from "Lord of the Rings," a role he first assumed when he was 18-years-old. Reflecting on his work in the films, the actor said the role helped shape him.
"My experience was unique, they were formative years for me, it was the first time I'd lived away from home for a long period of time, enduring responsibilities as an actor that I had not had before," said the actor, now 31. "I am partially the person I am today because of that."
Sir Ian McKellen also reappeared as the wizard Gandalf the Grey in the film. Also well known for his role on "X-Men," the actor defended the new film, including the decision to create three films surrounding Tolkien's "The Hobbit."
"It's not a franchise, they are films, this isn't 'X-Men,'" McKellan quipped during the press conference.
"The Hobbit" sees other "Rings" veteran actors Cate Blanchett, Christopher Lee, Hugo Weaving, and Elijah Wood all reprise their roles as Galadriel, Saruman, Elrond, and Frodo, respectively.
"The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" hits theaters everywhere on Dec. 14. The film is available in 2-D, 3-D, and IMAX, and boasts razor-sharp images of Middle-earth after it was shot at 48 frames-per-second.
Fans can look forward to two more installment films, "The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug" in 2013 and "The Hobbit: There and Back Again" in 2014.