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Exclusive: Christopher Lee On The Hobbit
He may play Saruman again

04 June 2008  |  Written by Glen Ferris  

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Speaking to Christopher Lee earlier this week, as you do, we discovered that the venerable 86-year-old has hopes of dusting off his wizard’s robes to play Saruman again in Guillermo Del Toro’s adaptation of The Hobbit.

Now you’re probably asking how the evil white wizard could possibly show his face again when he’s not even featured in The Lord Of The Rings prequel. Well consider the fact that the mooted two-film adaptation will probably be forced to add plenty of new material and Lee’s encyclopaedic knowledge of his character could fill in the gaps.

“I’ve read the books time and again,” said the 86-year-old. “Originally Saruman The White and the rest of the wizards, or the Istari as they call them, were immortal. There were five of them, two of them never appear, I know their names but they never appear, and the only three that are mentioned are Saruman The White, Gandalf The Grey and Radagast The Brown who you never see – so basically it’s two wizards.

“They lived for thousands of years and they were sent to the earth and they are virtually immortal. When it all started, Saruman was the noblest, the finest, the bravest, the most dependable and reliable of them all, he was number one. But somewhere, somehow, and it was never actually explained, he turns and it’s probably the Palantír (the wizard’s crystal ball thingy) that makes Saruman realise that if Sauron can do this, why can’t I do it and Saruman wants to become The Lord Of The Rings himself.”

“I’d be interested in seeing how that transition from good to evil occurred and, yes, of course I would return to the role if I was asked.”

So there you go, assuming Guillermo’s not the kind of guy to hold a grudge (apparently Lee turned down the role of King Balor in Hellboy II: The Golden Army) and assuming he’s got some space to fill in The Hobbit parts one and two, he could do worse than to get a willing Christopher Lee back in the robes again.

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Your Comments

the istari
i think it would be pretty awesome to see Gandalf,Saruman and Radaghast in the hobbit,but who would be a fab Radaghast?? More

Posted by arastrider at 13:37 on 07 June 2008 | Report This Post

Radagast should be in it! More

Posted by Bluehawk at 21:53 on 05 June 2008 | Report This Post

Sir Christopher Lee
Surely Christopher Lee is too evil to be knighted? Only kidding, he is a legend - he can name all the British executioners, speak about seven languages, is the tallest leading man, been in the most on screen sword fights ever, and done loadsa films. I bow down to him. More

Posted by frankydisaster at 16:39 on 05 June 2008 | Report This Post

Right on!
Yep, this is the one piece of casting that will be crucial for F2, presuming the writers will be going down that route of the treachery of Saruman. Just as with McKellen, this casting is a no brainer. More

Posted by Halfling at 11:42 on 05 June 2008 | Report This Post

Who else can be Saruman?
And since we are talking about the guy, shouldn't he be SIR Christopher Lee by now? (unless he's already been offered one and turned it down, which I totally respect by the way) More

Posted by boredbluekoala at 00:47 on 05 June 2008 | Report This Post

Would seem obvious have Saruman back
If you're going to pad out The Hobbit into 2 films (as they have said they will be) surely the first place to start would be Gandalf and Saruman teaming up to push the Necromancer of Dol Guldur out of Mirkwood (who turns out to be Sauron and takes up residence in Mordor instead). Its mentioned in passing at the end of the Hobbit and could easily be made large scale and exciting? More

Posted by albo1uk at 23:38 on 04 June 2008 | Report This Post

He's a great actor whos presence always seems to make any film even better. I hope hes in it. More

Posted by Ricorodrigeuz at 21:32 on 04 June 2008 | Report This Post

Christopher Lee can't die anyway...
I've seen those Dracula movies. More

Posted by Wrathschild at 21:19 on 04 June 2008 | Report This Post

They could record a read through of all his dialogue
early so if he dies during filming they can replace him digitally visually. I thought Peter Weir was the best suggestion for these films. Del Toro's ok I guess. More

Posted by Wrathschild at 21:16 on 04 June 2008 | Report This Post

be quick GDT
GDT best get a wiggle on and film his scenes sharpish,86 is old in anyones book and i would hate for him to 'retire' due to health reasons half way to see him again though.good news indeed. More

Posted by danbo1138 at 21:10 on 04 June 2008 | Report This Post

The first film will be The Hobbit, the second is presumably about Sauron regaining power and returning to Mordor. More

Posted by doctorolorinbats1975 at 21:03 on 04 June 2008 | Report This Post

timkins - shoot me if I'm wrong, but I thought it was fairly well publicized that it WAS going to be two parts? More

Posted by keir at 18:42 on 04 June 2008 | Report This Post

Glen does know The Hobbit isn't going to be two parts, doesn't he? It's been fairly well publisized.... More

Posted by timkins at 18:31 on 04 June 2008 | Report This Post

Christopher Lee TURNED DOWN a role? More

Posted by Silvertouch at 17:57 on 04 June 2008 | Report This Post

Well obviously this is great news but I'm just terrified he''l die during filming. 86 ! The man deserves a rest! Looks good though, I would have put him at at least 10 years younger based on appearance. More

Posted by Mr. Chumba at 17:23 on 04 June 2008 | Report This Post

Sounds good, apart from the the fact that he'll be nearly 90 by the time this gets going! More

Posted by coljohnmatrix at 17:17 on 04 June 2008 | Report This Post

Very VERY good
Considering one of the major events of the Hobbit (spoiler alert! Spoiler alert!) is that Gandalf and the other wizards go off to fight some evil sorcerer (I think he's called the Necromancer or something, and he turns out to be Sauron in LOTR) I've always assumed they'd use this an "excuse" to pad out the Hobbit into two films. Think about it: a massive wizard battle, five good guys against one all-powerful super-bad guy! Then to portray Saruman's fall from grace would be excellent. More

Posted by britesparc at 16:24 on 04 June 2008 | Report This Post

RE: Exclusive: Christopher Lee On The Hobbit
This is interesting.   I'd personally love to see this happen.  He was superb as Saruman the White.  I found him to be a unique villain.  If the part was in another actor's hands, it would probably have been a hammy performance, but with Lee, who is a huge fan of the books, the character was portrayed to perfection. More

Posted by paul.mccluskey at 16:01 on 04 June 2008 | Report This Post

This can only be a good thing. The fact that everybody from the original trilogy that have spoken so far are so up for it warms my cockles. Hopefully they'll recreate the magic (I don't think there's much doubt about that really). All signs point to this being excellent. If they haven't already discussed it then they should definately make space in the script for him. As Arnie would say "DO EEEEEEEET!" More

Posted by chriscoulthard at 15:58 on 04 June 2008 | Report This Post

Re: Exclusive: Christopher Lee On The Hobbit
Darn, double post. More

Posted by doctorolorinbats1975 at 15:53 on 04 June 2008 | Report This Post

I hoped Lee could reprise his role, like all the other actors in Rings, despite his age and annoyance at being unceremoniously cut from ROTK. This sounds good. More

Posted by doctorolorinbats1975 at 15:50 on 04 June 2008 | Report This Post

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