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.

Tag Cloud

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