In the Lord of the Rings film trilogy, Peter Jackson chose Ian Holm to portray Bilbo Baggins, Frodo Baggins’ older cousin (although he is often portrayed as the character’s uncle) and the hobbit who first found the One Ring in The Hobbit when he managed to find it in Gollum’s cave and steal it from the cannibalistic creature. While Martin Freeman was cast as Bilbo Baggins in the film adaptations of The Hobbit, Ian Holm nonetheless appears as an old Bilbo, retelling Frodo his story.
Ian Holm, before starting his career in films, was already quite well known as a stage play actor although his first big break in the movie industry would be none other than his portrayal of Ash the Android from the Alien film franchise. He first begins as a relatively quiet and amiable android that seeks only to serve the rules and regulations of the company. However later he proves to be quite dangerous when he starts attacking Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) and appears to be directly aiding the deadly creature of the film.
Another of Ian Holm’s most notable roles would be his portrayal as Sir William Gull, a talented surgeon helping the heroes of the story track and finally capture the notorious Jack the Ripper in Victorian London in the movie From Hell in 2001 (the same year of Fellowship of the Ring). The film itself was based loosely on the comic book of the same name written by Alan Moore and Eddie Campbell with the iconic Johnny Depp being cast in the role of Frederick Abberline, the inspector tasked with finding the lady killer and putting him to justice. Though, knowing how the comic actually goes, William Gull may be more than just a concerned citizen offering helpful advice to the Abberline.
Ian Holm appears again in the epic disaster movie Day After Tomorrow, where he portrays Professor Terry Rapson, a brilliant scientist who is trying to help warn the world about an incoming weather phenomenon that could destroy civilization as we know it.
It should be noted that Ian Holm’s superlative acting almost made Peter Jackson cast him into the role of Bilbo Baggins again if it were not for his now frail body. Ian Holm does return as an older Bilbo in The Hobbit film trilogy, recounting his story but it seems Peter Jackson was hoping for more from the actor.