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How Martin Freeman Spots The Difference Between The Office Fans And Sherlock Fans

Martin Freeman has taken profiling to a new level. Just as actors are type cast for certain roles, the well-known British actor says he can tell, by looking, which fandoms his admirers belong to.

There are tons of reasons to love Freeman from across his 25-year career and the many films and TV series he's featured in. You may be a more recent fan of his, from his leading role as Bilbo Baggins in "The Hobbit" trilogy, or as Sherlock Holmes' sidekick Dr. John Watson in the BBC series "Sherlock," or from his turn in the Marvel Cinematic Universe as CIA operative Everett K. Ross in "Black Panther." Or perhaps you've loved him for a long time, since his 2005 appearance in "Love, Actually" as a lovesick adult film stand-in, or as the lovesick Arthur Dent in "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy," or as the lovesick office worker Tim Canterbury, the original British counterpart to Jim Halpert in Ricky Gervais' British series "The Office." (Are we sensing a theme here with these early roles?) He also appeared in all three of Edgar Wright's "Cornetto Trilogy" films with Simon Pegg and Nick Frost.

As much as you may recognize him from his various performances, Freeman now says he can recognize you, too, for the type of fan you are and which of his many roles made you love him.

Martin Freeman knows what kind of fan you are

In a March 2021 interview with "The Late Show" host Stephen Colbert, Martin Freeman admitted that he can tell which kind of fan is approaching him. "You've got some intense fanbases out there," Colbert said to the actor, specifically naming "The Office" fans, Middle Earth fans, and fans of "Sherlock."

"Can you tell who they are walking toward you, like when they recognize you, can you go, 'Oh that's from this show or that's from that movie?'"

Freeman said yes, he can — or at least he could at one point. "You can a little bit," he said, acknowledging that it may have changed now because "Sherlock" first aired in 2011, more than a decade ago, "so some of those fans would have grown up."

Speaking of "Sherlock" fans, the actor continued, "There was a period where there was a kind of sweet spot of a couple of years where I knew, if it was a girl or a woman aged between say 16 and 25 with long dark hair and glasses, and a rucksack, that was 'Sherlock' without question. Without question." He does admit that some of those girls might cross over into his other fandom because, "They're also allowed to like 'The Hobbit,' and they do."

"The Office" fans, on the other hand, are "mainly 53-year-old men," Freeman says. "They haven't got the energy to run towards me, thank God." Stereotypes do come from somewhere, apparently.