Hollywood Notebook: Martin Freeman's busy schedule

The Fresno BeeFebruary 1, 2014 

Martin Freeman, shown as the Hobbit Bilbo Baggins in "The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug," is one of Hollywood's busiest actors.


It was a little disheartening to see Meghan Ory on the new CBS action series "Intelligence."

It's not that she does a bad job as the agent assigned to protect the show's human computer (Josh Holloway). The Canadian actress can handle the action part with ease.

It's just that she was so good on the ABC drama "Once Upon a Time," playing Red Riding Hood/Ruby Lucas.

She tells me there's nothing to worry about. There's always a chance she could reprise her role on the ABC series when time permits. If the ratings of "Intelligence" don't go up, she will have plenty of free time.

For now, Ory's enjoying her role as a government agent.

"I get to run around with a gun. On 'Once Upon a Time,' I'm a CGI wolf, which is very cool, but I don't get to actually do that. So this is really fun," Ory says. "Red Riding Hood just kind of disappeared into the mist, and I'm told that she will be back. But this has been such a blessing and so much fun. And I've loved every second of it."

The two shows are just the latest in a long line of TV and film credits for Ory, which include: "The Darklings," "Higher Ground," "Vampire High," "John Tucker Must Die" and "Her Sister's Keeper."

Busy man

Who is the busiest working actor at this time?

Don't guess George Clooney, Adam Sandler or Matt Damon. Their work schedules don't compare to that of Martin Freeman.

Those of you who are asking "Who is Martin Freeman" obviously aren't fans of "Love Actually." He played one of the stand-ins for the adult film being shot in one of the multiple story lines.

At this moment, Freeman stars in "The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug" and has reprised his role as Dr. Watson in the PBS "Masterpiece" series "Sherlock." He can be seen later this year in his new FX series "Fargo."

Freeman had an ulterior motive for returning to "Sherlock" — he got to work with his wife, Amanda Abbington.

"I've worked a few times with Amanda before but nothing as sustained as this. We are playing partners on the show. I love it. It made the day go even quicker and even more enjoyable. We have a natural kind of chemistry and rhythm together that I love. I really appreciate that part of my day," Freeman says.

Rumors have been circulating about a fourth season of "Sherlock."

Freeman has not read any new scripts and the schedules of all the cast — particularly Freeman — would make it hard to get everyone together for another round of mysteries. But, Freeman's willing if time allows.

Esquire Network

It's only been four months since the cable channel G4 ended and relaunched as the Esquire Network.

Esquire magazine has always stood for higher standards, but those don't seem to apply to some of the new shows. "Friday Night Tykes" is such an awful look at football for young boys that it makes "Toddlers & Tiaras" look like a show on good parenting.

The real disaster is "Knife Fight," a cooking reality competition show that pits a pair of chefs against each other. They both must make at least two dishes in an hour using three ingredients.

The format sounds familiar, but there's a twist. The restaurant is filled with an audience that's spent most of the day drinking. They crowd around chefs, host and judges shouting encouragement or heckling.

Seeing a taping of the show at the Gorbals restaurant in the lobby of the Alexandria Hotel ranks up there with having a root canal with no medication.

As soon as the filming starts, the hooligans take over and they take their part of the show seriously. In an attempt to duck out of a scene, I ended up in front of one of the patrons.

"You got right in front of me you (expletive deleted)," he growls with a wild-eyed look. It's as if the chefs were the caterers for the "Lord of the Flies" Christmas party.

The only thing original about "Knife Fight" is the rowdy crowd. It seems an odd fit for a show on a cable channel named after a respected publication.


TV and movie critic Rick Bentley can be reached at (559) 441-6355, rbentley@fresnobee.com or @RickBentley1 on Twitter. Read his blog at fresnobeehive.com.

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