Exclusive: McKellen On The Hobbit

Sir Ian talks Thorin & filming

You may have noticed that Empire has a new issue out, and that it comes with five gorgeous lenticular covers that are all connected to The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. But there's more! Inside we interviewed Sir Ian McKellen about the film, and he dropped a few tidbits about what's in store.

"It's Thorin, not Gandalf, driving this quest. Gandalf is not quite certain that the quest is the right thing to be doing. It is, after all, just rescuing some money. He also has doubts that Thorin is up to the job. But every suggestion Gandalf makes seems to be rejected."

The main frustration for the actor, who says he had no hestitation in returning to the role, was not quite getting to work with people who were of a radically different size or entirely CG in nature. "I have a fight with Barry Humphries, playing the Goblin [King], but he wasn't around. I didn't get to work with Stephen Fry or Benedict Cumberbatch. Ian Holm and Christopher Lee both did their work here. I did get a little bit to do with Billy Connolly. And the gorgeous Bret McKenzie, one of the Flying Conchords (sic), is back as Figwit."

McKellen also talked Radagast. "He's a curious thing and that appeals to Gandalf's inquiring nature. Saruman... has no time for Radagast. But he's really just a simple person, in touch with nature and animals and birds... Gandalf sends him off on little jobs."

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is out on December 14, and the new issue of Empire is in stores now, with much more from McKellen and everyone involved with the film (as well as other non-Hobbit related goodness).