Speculation over who will play Bilbo Baggins in the upcoming Lord of The Rings prequel has been rife for months, with Tobey Maguire, Daniel Radcliffe and James McAvoy all linked to the job.
Freeman was rumoured to have been offered the part, which was played by veteran actor Ian Holm in the previous movies, and has now admitted he had to refuse as he had already signed up to star in a second series of British TV show Sherlock.
He tells Empire magazine, "I did have to say no to it (The Hobbit) for the second series of Sherlock ... I did it with a heavy heart, definitely."
The Hobbit is currently on hold due to the ongoing financial problems at MGM Studios and Freeman hopes the delay might mean he is able to take up the role when he has more time.
He adds, "I'd like to think so. If there is any outside possibility, then that would be great. But I've learned not to think too much or hope too much about stuff. It will happen if it happens... Bilbo isn't 20 at this stage of the story and I reckon I could do a young Ian Holm. I think I could give that a go."