Rotten Tomatoes had a chance to speak with the incredibly talented Sir Ian McKellan at the San Sebastian Film Festival in Spain yesterday, where the actor was receiving a special award for his career accomplishments.
They spoke about the reward and then McKellen turned the conversation to the inevitable topic of The Hobbit by saying "I don't want to play Gandalf again."
Relax, folks. I had you going there, didn’t I? Well, in truth he did bring up the topic by saying exactly that - but what he was referring to, was the idea of typecasting and I don’t think that’s something he should be worried about.
"If you play a part that gets an awful lot of attention, 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."
McKellen where’s a massive awesome beard and a fake nose, he can’t be typecasted like that. He played Magneto in three straight movies in addition to LOTR and I never thought of Gandalf when seeing him on screen there as the master of magnetism. In fact, I want to see him in more movies for both the X-Men and Lord of the Rings/The Hobbit franchises.
As for the character he brought to live on screen, Ian much prefers the Grey variant than the wizard with shiny and clean clothes… and that perfectly white beard.
"Grey Gandalf is my favourite… 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."
I dig both Gandalfs, but they’re right about the Gandalf the Grey being more down to earth… get it?
Next, McKellen went on the explain the wide range of appeal for the character, especially amongst the youthful audiences.
"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."
And rightly so. Gandalf was played to perfection in the epic Lord of the Rings trilogy and I can’t explain how excited I am for more.
With Guillermo del Toro directing and Peter Jackson producing (the perfect people for the job), The Hobbit: Part 1 is scheduled to show off Middle-earth, December, 2011 and its sequel the following year.
Are you psyched for more Gandalf the Grey?