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Exclusive: McKellen talks The Hobbit
Sir Ian on Tolkien... and Magneto

30 April 2008  |  Written by Glen Ferris  

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Guillermo Del Toro, the loveable big-mouth that he is, may have already confirmed that Sir Ian McKellen is set to return as Gandalf The Grey in his two-movie adaptation of The Hobbit - but in the ever-changing world of moviedom you just can’t believe what you hear until it comes from the horse’s mouth.

So, on spotting The Lord Of The Rings star at the UK premiere of Speed Racer (no, we don’t know what he was doing there either), we grabbed him for a quick chat.

“Yes, it’s true,” he said. “I spoke to Guillermo in the very room that Peter Jackson offered me the part and he confirmed that I would be reprising the role. Obviously, it’s not a part that you turn down, I loved playing Gandalf.”

So he’s happy to be back in the robes again?

“We talk occasionally and he’s looking forward to coming out of retirement, yes,” he said. “Guillermo will be getting around to starting the script in about six weeks when he’s finished filming Hellboy 2.”

The major question on everybody’s lips is what are they going to do with the second film, which takes place directly after The Hobbit and before Fellowship of the Ring?
“Well I’ve read The Hobbit so I’ve got a good idea of what the story would be,” said McKellen. “But as to how it’s going to work over two films and what going to happen on screen, well Guillermo has not got down to working out the major details yet – I can tell you it’s going to be amazing though.”

While on the subject of big-screen returns, what are the chances of McKellen re-appearing as the Master Of Magnetism in the long-mooted X-Men spin-off?

“They are making a Magneto spin-off but I don’t think it will involve me because it’s about the younger Magneto, it’s a back-story.”

But surely with the anti-aging special effects employed in the third X-Men film he could well reprise the role, at least for a cameo?

“Would I be willing to return to play a young Magneto? A cameo in my own movie? I don’t think so,” he said. “I don’t think I could get away with playing a 19-year-old.”

Watch this space for all the latest Hobbit-related developments.

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Your Comments

time flies
all this talk about new films is great but its a big shame the didnt start makin the hobbit a couple of years after the return of the king so things were all still cool and exciting. understood that it took a while to get the film rights for the hobbit but its a big risk askin original actors to reprise roles years after in a prequel!! the only character i will let go is indiana jones because hes going to plat an older indiana supposedly than the original 1930s films. mr lucas AS MUCH as i love More

Posted by skoundrel at 02:27 on 03 May 2008 | Report This Post

Ian Holm: No
Ian Holm was great in LOTR but in that he was 111, in the Hobbit he is 33 the same age as Frodo in LOTR. I think everyone could see the age difference between Frodo and Bilbo. As for Gandalf his age isn't exactly known but he is thousands of years old, and is described exactly the same in all the books. Del Toro isn't writing, Fran Walsh and co are back on board. There is soooo much material in the Silmarillion and the History of Middle-Earth books that numerous films could be made. Maybe we'll More

Posted by borgsblueyes at 23:22 on 01 May 2008 | Report This Post

RE: Exclusive: McKellen talks The Hobbit
The people saying that Ian Holm should be cast again as Bilbo need to be realistic, by the time these films fully end shooting he will be around 80.  As much as I loved his portrayal in the LOTR trilogy, I really don't won't to see a heavily made up, semi CGI puppet, old man playing the hero in two epic films.  He will not be cast. Yeah Ian McKellen is only eight years younger, but eight years is a hell of a difference once you reach that time of your life. More

Posted by My name is Legion at 13:50 on 01 May 2008 | Report This Post

they should get Michael Sheen to be the new Magneto More

Posted by Hughezy at 17:41 on 30 April 2008 | Report This Post

What's it all about, Gandalfie?
Hobbit is all sewn up but perhaps the second film could highlight the love life of the roguish old wizard. More

Posted by keyzersaulsie at 16:57 on 30 April 2008 | Report This Post

Ian Holm?
Though it would be great continuity, they'll probably go for a younger actor. Why not James McAvoy? He's already done a faun, he could tick another fantasy character off his to-do list! More

Posted by Mr Grizzly at 14:33 on 30 April 2008 | Report This Post

Christopher Lee's getting on now and he's semi-retired.  Apart from a few cameos in recent films he's said he doesn't want to do any proper full-on acting that this type of story would take. More

Posted by jpt1976 at 13:16 on 30 April 2008 | Report This Post

Del Toro is writing this? Please say that's a mistake, he's got some talent as a director (visually at least) but he cant write for shit, in all his films characters are driven by actions which help the story go to where he wants to take it next at the expense of believable characterisation. More

Posted by Steve Irwin at 13:02 on 30 April 2008 | Report This Post

RE: 2 movies
Ian Holmes would look like he did during the opening montage of FOTR. I don’t see a problem with that… More

Posted by grucl at 13:00 on 30 April 2008 | Report This Post

2 movies
What's this about stretching out the book to make two movies. I thought they've made it quite clear by now that the first movie would be based on the book and the second would be a bridging story between the Hobbit and LOTR. You're a movie site, surely you've heard of this. SURELY. More

Posted by boriordan at 12:34 on 30 April 2008 | Report This Post

Ian Holm
I agree with the casting of Ian Holm as Bilbo again, cause I was also remembering that line, 'you haven't aged a day'. If he already looked the part in the beginning of Lord of the Rings then it won't take the youth enhancing cgi that many people were speculating on. I'm sure he'll handle the action scen too. I mean they're not Spiderman style acrobatics we're talking about here. It's very little more action than Gandalf will have to do. More

Posted by keaneye at 12:31 on 30 April 2008 | Report This Post

Legolas and Gimli's dads also turn up in the Hobbit so perhaps they could cameo at some point. Although not in the book, Gandalf's disappearence from the story was due to him organising an attack on the newly reappeared Sauron before he fled to Mordor. I'd like to see that put in the film if possible. Think that would lead to a full cast reunion of sorts as Aragorn, Elrond, Galadriel and Saruman were involved with that. More

Posted by steveg66 at 12:00 on 30 April 2008 | Report This Post

I would hope it would be Ian Holm! Remember, "you haven't aged a day..." More

Posted by tom_poynton at 10:26 on 30 April 2008 | Report This Post

Peace at last. It wouldnt of been the same if they changed characters. yet, saying that, Gandalf features really only in the first half, and the last bit of the book if i remember, it is not as though it is surrounding him. What i am most intrigued to know is, who they are thinking of casting for Bilbo?! More

Posted by Estel Productions at 10:11 on 30 April 2008 | Report This Post

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