Short Starts: Watch ‘The Hobbit’ Star Martin Freeman in ‘I Just Want to Kiss You’

By  · Published on December 9th, 2012

There’s a great short starring Martin Freeman making the rounds this week, and I recommend watching that two-year-old film, titled The Girl is Mime, when you get the chance. But there’s another short led by the actor that I’d like to showcase this weekend in anticipation of The Hobbit. Way back in 1998, before Freeman was in Sherlock or The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy or Love Actually or even his breakthrough, the original UK version of The Office, he had two small yet notable gigs. One was appearing alongside Doctor Who’s Shaun Dingwall in Vito Rocco’s music video for Faith No More’s cover of “I Started a Joke.” The other was starring in the 11-minute black and white film I Just Want to Kiss You.

Written and directed by Jamie Thraves, best known for music videos he’s helmed for Blur, Radiohead and Coldplay, this French New Wave-style throwback has Freeman looking very young and very skinny and actually quite goofy as a guy just hanging out with his mate and meeting girls and getting into trouble with his dad. The goofiness is a bit surprising if you primarily think of Freeman as the straight man of The Office and Hitchhiker’s Guide and other such gigs. I certainly don’t know of him doing a lot of voices and vocal sound effects and the sort of spry physicality he exhibits in the short these days. Yet it does fit nicely alongside his completely physical performance in The Girl is Mime, and though he’s a bit older now I’d be interested in seeing him do more of this broader kind of comedy for a change. If only Confetti had been more successful.

Check out I Just Want to Kiss You after the break.

Christopher Campbell began writing film criticism and covering film festivals for a zine called Read, back when a zine could actually get you Sundance press credentials. He's now a Senior Editor at FSR and the founding editor of our sister site Nonfics. He also regularly contributes to Fandango and Rotten Tomatoes and is the President of the Critics Choice Association's Documentary Branch.