Are you a fan of Ian McKellen’s portrayals of Gandalf in the Lord of the Rings movies and of Magneto in the X-Men franchise? Thought so. Well, you’re in luck on both counts!
The guys over at Empire got a chance to talk to the legendary Mr. McKellen at the San Sebastian Film Festival (where he spoke to Rotten Tomatoes the last time he talked about Gandalf) and he gave some more tidbits of info on the status of the LOTR prequel, The Hobbit, and of the planned X-Men solo spinoff movie, X-Men Origins: Magneto.
We’ve known for some time that McKellen will be returning to portray Gandalf in Guillermo del Toro’s adaptation of the pre-LOTR book, The Hobbit. And ever since then, McKellen has been feeding us little bits of info and opinions on his reprising of the role – and we’ve happily been nibbling at them like the movie news-hungry fans we are. Adding to that, Empire spoke to the wizard again recently, in which he gave some rather forthright answers:
On the status of the The Hobbit at this point, here’s what McKellen said:
“The scripts for the two films will be delivered very soon… Then they’ll be budgeted, and then they’ll be cast. And they’ll be going when they’ve always said they would be, which is next spring – March or April.”
That got him onto talking about how he finds del Toro and Jackson as filmmakers:
“Guillermo even told me at one point, ‘We’re going to film for 383 days.’ He’s got that artistic autism! Jackson’s the same; they’re very, very, very alike. They also very different, but they’ve so much in common. They both can’t stand Hollywood and have wonderful imaginations, and they’re both obsessed with gore and fantasy. Both of them laugh a great deal. Guillermo’s one of the most brilliant men I’ve ever met. His English vocabulary is way superior to mine!”
It really sounds like del Toro and Jackson are as good to work alongside as it is watching their final products… Moving on from his opinions of the director and producer of The Hobbit, McKellen laid down a pretty disappointing piece of info for those hoping we would see some of the characters from LOTR make appearances/cameos in The Hobbit:
“Unfortunately, there won’t be many of the actors going back… unless they’re going to put masks on and be disguised as dwarves! Andy Serkis is, at the moment, I think, the only other actor who’s doing this film.”
Of course, McKellen isn’t del Toro, Jackson or anyone else truly “in the know” about what the ins-and-outs of the story is, what characters are returning and so forth… but I would trust his judgment at this point (even though he failed to mention Hugo Weaving returning as Lord Elrond). I wouldn’t totally rule out cameos from known and loved LOTR characters, but I’m certainly not expecting them (or at least, as many of them as people are hoping for).
Unfortunately, there wasn’t as much said about the spin-off x-film, X-Men Origins: Magneto, as there was about The Hobbit, but nonetheless it’s nice to hear thoughts on the project from the actor who played played Magneto in the three X-Men movies. McKellen basically says he hasn’t heard anything, but speculates on what his involvement (or lack thereof) will probably be:
“There’s meant to be a Magneto script floating around, but I’ve not read it, so I suspect it wouldn’t involve me… I think it would be about the younger Magneto, and the most I could hope for would be to top and tail that. They can’t have someone whose face is as lined as mine any longer!”
McKellen also went on to laugh about the fact that Patrick Stewart made a brief, de-aged appearance in X-Men Origins: Wolverine this summer, saying that Stewart was pleased with getting a part in it, but that it was only about an hour’s work. On a serious note – could we see the same thing at the end of the Magneto spin-off, to link it up to the first X-Men? I’m all for that.
So there you have it, another little update from McKellen on two highly anticipated projects. As much as I like McKellen as Magneto – and am looking forward to a standalone film involving the character (there’s some real potential there) – I have to admit I’m much more looking forward to him returning as Gandalf in The Hobbit. Maybe it’s because his role is guaranteed to be huge, as opposed to (at most) a cameo in a solo Magneto flick… not unless they use CGI to make him look REALLY young (a la X-Men 3) – Fox, please don’t!
What do you think about what McKellen has most said about The Hobbit and Magneto? Are you disappointed that we apparently won’t be seeing many of the LOTR actors make appearances in The Hobbit? And would you like to see McKellen appear in the solo Magneto movie? Or should they just cast somebody younger and leave McKellen out of it?
Part 1 of The Hobbit is set to hit theaters in December, 2011, with Part 2 following a year later in December, 2012.
X-Men Origins: Magneto has a tentative release date of 2011, but nothing official has been confirmed yet.