Sir Ian McKellen on The Hobbit Films
Q: So has it come to pass, good Sir McKellen? Shall the dreaming masses with their musty books and their blackened pipes at long last hear those immortal words issue from under that famous nose? "Yes, yes, my dear sir-and I know your name, Mr. Bilbo Baggins. And you do know my name, though you don't remember that I belong to it. I am Gandalf, and Gandalf means me! To think I should have lived to be good-morninged by Belladonna Took's son, as if I was selling buttons at the door!" Looking about, I find I share the same hopes as millions of others, so I ask, a single query in a chorus... Will you again be our Gandalf in "The Hobbit" now that the deal is settled?
A: Yes I will, if Peter Jackson and I have anything to do with it, he being the producer and me being, on the whole, a very lucky actor. I've just read your quote out loud - fabulous speech.
Q: Have you been approached yet by Peter Jackson or anyone else about reprising your wonderful role as Gandalf for the two upcoming "Hobbit" movies. I read that principal photography begins in 2009, and I can't imagine those movies without you!
A: Encouragingly, Peter and Fran Walsh have told me they couldn't imagine The Hobbit without their original Gandalf. Their confidence hasn't yet been confirmed by the director Guillermo del Toro but I am keeping my diary free for 2009!
Warner Bros.' New Line is planning 2010 and 2011 releases for the two films.
Guillermo del Toro, long rumored to be the director for The Hobbit, says the movie is moving forward in capable hands. Speaking with Entertainment Weekly, del Toro says that everything is still in the talking phase: "There have been a lot of discussions of cast and crew, agreements on the direction the movies would go, and if and when I come on board. But other than that, frankly it's all immaterial until everything is signed and put on paper."
The Hellboy and Pan's Labyrinth director is quick to remind fans that patience will be needed; he hasn't officially signed a contract yet, and even if he does, it's a "huge endeavor"—at least a five-year commitment, he says. "It's two movies back-to-back that are massive. So a lot has to be sorted out. All I can say is, creatively we are all in sync and eager to commit and move forward."
Del Toro admits that the recent folding of New Line Cinema has delayed the project a bit, but he does have some encouraging news for fans of the original Lord of the Rings trilogy; though he declines to discuss specifics, he does confirm that he will be working with the original screenwriting team of Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh, and Philippa Boyens.