Exclusive: Ian McKellen on The Hobbit

The thesp on returning to Gandalf the Grey.

by | September 24, 2009 | Comments

Sir Ian McKellen is spending the week at the San Sebastian Film Festival in Spain, where he was last night presented with a special Donostia Award in recognition of his career as an actor. RT was in town to catch the presentation, and earlier in the day we sat down with McKellen to discuss the award and his work. Of course, as Guillermo del Toro readies to direct The Hobbit, which will see McKellen pull on the cloak and hat of Gandalf the wizard for the first time in seven years, we couldn’t help but look to the future and find out how things were going with the project.

In fact it was McKellen who raised the wizard’s name before we asked, rather controversially declaring to RT, “I don’t want to play Gandalf again.”

But before a million Rings fans cry out in terror at the thought of another thesp stepping into the role, McKellen was actually discussing the risk of typecasting the wake of a big success. “If you play a part that gets an awful lot of attention,” he explained, “forever after you’re being asked by directors to play the same part in their movie. But I played the best wizard, and I’m happy to revisit him, which I shall do in The Hobbit with Guillermo del Toro.”

Not only will The Hobbit afford McKellen another chance to find his feet with one of literature’s greatest wizards, but the film will also allow him to return to the earlier incarnation of the character, Gandalf the Grey, who only appeared in the first of the trilogy, Fellowship of the Ring.

“Grey Gandalf is my favourite,” he told us. “Peter Jackson‘s too, we always preferred Gandalf the Grey. Peter liked him because he got down and dirty. He slept in the hedgerows; he was closer to the earth and not quite so spiritual. He’s also funnier — he’s got more variety to him. We thought there was more scope in that Gandalf.”

One of the joys of playing the character for McKellen is his broad appeal. “He appeals to really young people. Gandalf has 8 and 9-year-old fans who’ve seen his films a great deal more than I have. Their faces when they meet the actor who plays Gandalf are wonderful to behold, so that’s been special.”

Del Toro and Jackson — the latter acting as a producer this time around — are deep in pre-production on The Hobbit, which will be released as two films in 2011 and 2012. There’ll be more from our chat with McKellen, and our time at the San Sebastian Film Festival, soon.

  • David Ferry

    oh man can’t wait! sounds like it will be an exciting adventure.

Tag Cloud

golden globes zombies Showtime 2016 DGA Music The Walt Disney Company Netflix Film TV Land rt archives cancelled TV shows Amazon Prime USA quibi Star Trek stand-up comedy RT History CW Seed joker slashers Film Festival halloween HBO Max ABC Signature VH1 Alien Year in Review Marathons Trivia ABC nbcuniversal SundanceTV Black Mirror war Netflix Christmas movies Action Brie Larson Black History Month 2019 animated award winner justice league Toys TCA Reality Adult Swim chucky movie psychological thriller Holiday Sundance Funimation Comic Book 20th Century Fox The Purge Nominations screen actors guild reviews Starz Thanksgiving 99% CBS All Access DC Universe National Geographic Fantasy Avengers Comics on TV harry potter adventure Disney BBC America crime thriller cartoon Awards Tour Horror Disney streaming service cinemax political drama halloween tv black Sundance TV ghosts YA aliens ViacomCBS APB blaxploitation elevated horror TCA Awards Martial Arts social media The CW latino BET Awards adaptation ITV 71st Emmy Awards serial killer Mudbound twilight historical drama television christmas movies SDCC crossover thriller Chernobyl ratings YouTube Red cats BBC One versus Set visit james bond blockbuster Vudu ABC Family Opinion MTV zombie Paramount Plus El Rey jurassic park Amazon Studios miniseries Song of Ice and Fire scary movies Disney Plus sports President archives football History ESPN romantic comedy rotten movies we love technology fast and furious Western Mary poppins Country films psycho Super Bowl singing competition based on movie critics 72 Emmy Awards Travel Channel unscripted Lifetime festivals Freeform Reality Competition indiana jones Turner Classic Movies 2017 stop motion spain HBO Go Paramount Hallmark Christmas movies remakes Podcast FX french a nightmare on elm street 2015 First Reviews boxing HBO Election documentary TV composers mockumentary canceled TV shows true crime The Academy nature Classic Film disaster A&E Calendar Tubi rotten Tomatazos Anna Paquin strong female leads toronto Amazon Prime Video hist comics indie Mary Tyler Moore Photos emmy awards San Diego Comic-Con worst movies mission: impossible rom-coms Drama Superheroe Rocketman TLC DC Comics Baby Yoda 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards Infographic hollywood Rock MCU Lionsgate worst The Walking Dead IFC spanish dogs Hear Us Out Countdown Bravo Emmy Nominations 4/20 australia cancelled PlayStation witnail Disney+ Disney Plus 2020 anthology video police drama FX on Hulu Apple Disney Channel Spring TV jamie lee curtis Pirates Watching Series mutant screenings LGBT Peacock Paramount Network Rocky binge Spectrum Originals reboot Ghostbusters Christmas Food Network Ovation Dark Horse Comics science fiction werewolf children's TV The Witch casting Quiz Awards DC streaming service laika RT21 ID Pet Sematary Sony Pictures dc Cartoon Network Crackle YouTube Premium sequel vampires biography SXSW finale spinoff Animation Box Office Lifetime Christmas movies Marvel cops A24 hispanic Elton John renewed TV shows PaleyFest batman CBS scorecard toy story GIFs Turner zero dark thirty comic books Biopics Holidays Pop TV die hard Sneak Peek Hallmark Apple TV Plus Emmys Marvel Studios pirates of the caribbean Spike parents cooking Trailer Television Critics Association Cannes Winter TV best 21st Century Fox dark Grammys Captain marvel VOD Heroines Cosplay video on demand BBC IFC Films CMT festival TNT Best and Worst Schedule TruTV Musicals stoner discovery Apple TV+ tv talk Endgame Television Academy cancelled television Musical japanese Marvel Television franchise venice TBS Oscars satire Acorn TV space VICE Pride Month Rom-Com dramedy deadpool revenge Masterpiece trailers Mystery spy thriller TCA 2017 Extras superhero comic directors Star Wars Binge Guide TV One doctor who OneApp nfl series politics Shudder medical drama PBS TIFF Epix criterion Trophy Talk kids romance Superheroes CNN Stephen King Pop Video Games Amazon streaming AMC crime drama boxoffice breaking bad Comedy Central 45 Premiere Dates 24 frames game show Summer DirecTV travel sitcom name the review Nickelodeon dragons sag awards Nat Geo Lucasfilm Women's History Month docudrama Crunchyroll documentaries E3 Fox News Tumblr Creative Arts Emmys comiccon OWN natural history BAFTA WGN Writers Guild of America Mindy Kaling independent Hulu universal monsters Fall TV golden globe awards Family free movies WarnerMedia Valentine's Day FXX X-Men concert italian Mary Poppins Returns Red Carpet fresh facebook cults teaser anime BET GLAAD child's play foreign Chilling Adventures of Sabrina asian-american all-time cars The Arrangement Columbia Pictures YouTube TCA Winter 2020 south america Discovery Channel Polls and Games Syfy movies canceled Universal robots New York Comic Con spider-man sequels obituary Tarantino NYCC Esquire what to watch NBC talk show Academy Awards Certified Fresh transformers USA Network spanish language 2018 period drama Comedy E! First Look TCM Ellie Kemper 007 Pixar crime classics cancelled TV series MSNBC Walt Disney Pictures book Britbox diversity Teen dceu Fox Searchlight theme song Shondaland LGBTQ Sci-Fi game of thrones Interview Winners Character Guide richard e. Grant FOX comedies GoT Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Arrowverse Sundance Now supernatural Warner Bros. Kids & Family TV renewals See It Skip It American Society of Cinematographers news Logo green book