Ian McKellen E-Posts

"Mercy!" cried Gandalf: "if the giving of information is to be the cure of your inquisitiveness, I shall spend all the rest of my days in answering you. What do you want to know?"

29 October 2002


From: Christina Isacson

Q: Do people always, when you walk down the street, jump over you and scream like: "Wooow! Hi Gandalf! Sign this picture! Can I have a pic taken with you?" Anyway when people DO jump over you and ask for "Gandalf's autograph" do you think that's just fun or is it getting to bother you? I read that you had been in Sweden, and since that's where I live: Can't you get back here!? I'm only a 12 year old girl, so you probably won't listen to me. But if you read ALL fan mail you get, there's still a chance for me.

A: So you see I do read my mail and reply too. I am still learning to cope with being a bit famous or rather "recognised as the actor who plays Gandalf and Magneto." Remembering how I stood in line for autographs when I was a kid, I don't like to let anyone down who has an album. I get a little suspicious of those with lots of photographs "for my friends honest Ian!", knowing that most will turn up on E-bay before long. I never sign Gandalf's name as I don't suppose he would like it.

The nearest I have been to Sweden of late is to act in your countryman August Strindberg's play Dance of Death in New York (2001).


From: Larry Flock

Q: When Peter Jackson announced he was doing Lord of the Rings, he said that if the trilogy was successful, he would go back and do The Hobbit. It has been a couple of years since this was brought up—i.e. FAQ—so I pose the question again Sir Ian. Have you heard anything recently about bringing The Hobbit to the screen, and would you be interested in reprising your role? Also do you think that Ian Holm would be interested in coming back to be the younger Bilbo, as he plays the younger Bilbo in the Lord of the Rings prologue? P.s. My wife wants to know if they gave you an extra bit of length for your nose in the Gandalf make-up—-she says yes and I say no.

A: I recently asked about the film rights to The Hobbit, which seem to be somewhat controlled by Peter Jackson, as far as I can tell. I hope that's the case because obviously he should have first refusal at translating the novel into a movie. I should be intrigued to return to Middle-earth, even though it involved putting on Gandalf's nose, which is even more distinctive than my own, tell your wife. I thought it might be possible to make a really long screen version, probably for television, with every episode of the book covered week by week in a multitude of episodes. Ian Holm — who was proud to look so young as well as so old as Bilbo in The Fellowship of the Ring — even he might think the young Bilbo of The Hobbit was unlikely casting for an actor of his age.


From: Min rtistmin@yahoo.com

Q: In the scene between Gandalf and Saruman, when Saruman is talking about the Eye's great power to perceive, Saruman is eyeing Gandalf quite intensely. For two seconds you can see a Ring on Gandalf's finger. Was this intentionally supposed to be Narya? If so, is it Saruman who sees it, or just a wink from PJ to Tolkien fans? Fantastic job btw.

A: I don't usually wear a ring to work and it's unlikely that it wasn't noticed if I inadvertently did during that scene. I am certain it was agreed that Narya's entrance would be reserved until The Return of the King. So the ring you saw may have been a shadow rather than a mistake.


From: Eric BC eric.cool@netcabo.

Q: I saw in the new TTT trailer that when you are falling with the Balrog, you are holding your sword. How can that be if you lost her (the sword had fall first) before you completely fall in the bridge? Many thanks and keep the great work. :)

A: You will be answered early in The Two Towers when Gandalf and his sword are reunited.


From: Cate cate@c5sound.com

Q: It seems that no one in Middle-earth has dark eyes! Was there a "blue eyes only" rule on LOTR? Was this specified by Tolkien?

A: Can you be right? what about those dark-eyed Orcs? I've seen actors slip in blue-tinted contact lenses for their close-ups and others, like reputedly Peter O'Toole, who insists on a special light directed onto his eyes to enhance their native hue.


From: Kirsteen Boyde KBoyde@manx.net

Q: Thank you so much for bringing Gandalf to life for me, I've been waiting for it for so many years and wasn't disappointed. What are your favourite moments in the films and which scenes (if any) are you disappointed with?

A: One of my favourite moments in The Fellowship of the Ring was Gandalf's conjuring tricks for the hobbit kids at Bilbo's birthday party. What tricks? You will have to wait I expect until the outtakes resurface in the absolutely final DVD version.


From: Ann Griggs griggso@ntlworld.

Q: I have recently been to see Andy Serkis (who plays Gollum) as Iago in the Manchester Royal Exchange Theatre's "Othello"! is there any chance of you two getting together and performing in a Shakeseare play together?

A: Andy and I discussed Iago a little in New Zealand and I'm sorry to have missed the production in Manchester. What about him playing the Fool in "King Lear"?

"TTT"t (The Two Towers trailer)

Q: I have to say that the new Two Towers trailer is probably one of the most powerful trailers I have ever seen. You said in your recent post on The White Book that you read lines for the trailer while in Canada. This leaves me wondering...how is this possible? Can you give some details as to the process, i.e. why is it neccesary when the movie has already been made and your lines already in it?

A: You will notice that Gandalf's voice in "TTT"t is often "voice over" i.e. spoken whilst another, non-Gandalfian image is onscreen. Even if his words were already on the finished soundtrack for The Two Towers maybe a different sound quality was required for the trailer, hence the need to re-record.


From: Anthony Tan antan@pacific.net.

Q: Greetings from Singapore! Are you a history buff? Historiography in its various forms is explored in the book, but I found it striking that knowledge of history saved Middle-earth, as it were. If not for Gandalf the Historian doing research in the Gondorian archives, the one ring would never have been positively identified to begin with! I was delighted to see Gandalf shown studiously poring over manuscripts (but having a drink with precious parchments nearby? oh dear...), an image of which I have not been able to find anywhere on the Internet.

A: Peter, Fran, Philippa and I were all very taken with the image of Gandalf in the library. Books are important to Middle-earth. Bilbo wrote one. Gandalf finds one at the tomb of Balin. The image of wizard and old tome was used to support the American Library Association's Teen Read Week initiative. I kept my Tolkien in Gandalf's satchel along with a hanky or two.


Q: hi! I have probably seen the movie about, ten million times I have loved every time. I just turned 11 and I love reading I have not gotten to read all of the LOTR trilogy yet, but, I probably know who everyone is in FOTR better than any one in my family. I was wondering how far you fall when you fall off of The bridge of Khazad-Dum?

A: If you mean how far did I the actor fall when we were filming it - not far at all. If you mean how far does Gandalf fall, The Two Towers has the answer.


Q: Your horse in the book, Shadowfax, is described as grey-silver, like starlight. But the first photos show a totally white horse, rather looking like snowmane. So, will Shadowfax be grey-silver or white in the film?

A: Shadowfax could be called white but certainly not albino - his coat was mutli-coloured in light shades of white, cream, silver, grey, straw. Of course the grading of the finished film may "paint" him somewhat so we shall have to wait his arrival in The Two Towers - only seven weeks to go now!




Additional E-Posts about LOTR may be found in

The Lord of the Rings