EW Staff
August 25, 2009 AT 08:25 PM EDT

You’ve been reading about this, right?  Fans online have said Daniel Radcliffe would be their first choice to play Bilbo Baggins in the upcoming adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkein’s “The Hobbit”—so someone finally asked Radcliffe if he’d be interested. “I’d have to say, ‘Thanks but no thanks,’ not that anyone has asked me,” he said. “Honestly, I don’t think they would want me anyway; it’s just too close.” Yes, it sure is.

Let’s come right out and state for the record that it’s capital-k crazy to imagine the folks making “The Hobbit” (producer Peter Jackson and director Guillermo del Toro) asking Harry Potter to play the Hobbit. It may be  years before moviegoers can believe Radcliffe’s anyone other than Harry P.  If you were launching “The Hobbit” would you want audiences spending the first hour wondering why Bilbo doesn’t have a scar on his forehead?

The movie theaters have become so crowded that franchises need every chance they can to seem different, bigger and better. Also, Tolkein’s middle-earth novels influenced the Harry Potter, and casting Radcliffe would suddenly make ‘The Hobbit’ seem like a lesser book in need of a little Potter magic to work at the box office.

So why are all those fans online saying they want Radcliffe to play Bilbo? Probably because they’re usually asked to pick between him and people like James MacAvoy who’s a zillion times less famous and beloved.  I’d actually love to see MacAvoy (“Atonement,” “Wanted”) play Bilbo. How about you, popwatchers? Who’s your ideal Hobbit? And how would you feel if Radcliffe was cast? Would that be a disaster–or just twice as much as magic?

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