Ian McKellen, Lord of the Rings

New Line Cinema

Sir Ian McKellen is going there and back again.

The acclaimed British thespian, who, as the wizard Gandalf the Grey, helped shepherd Frodo Baggins through a perilous journey in Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings trilogy, has announced he will reprise his Academy Award-nominated role for the hugely anticipated Hobbit prequels.

"Yes, it's true," McKellen told Britain's Empire movie magazine. "It's not a part that you turn down. I love playing Gandalf."

The twin films will be based on J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit, which of course he published before his epic Lord of the Rings cycle.

This time around, however, the 68-year-old McKellen will team up with Jackson's bespectacled stand-in, Guillermo del Toro (Hellboy, Pan's Labyrinth), who announced last week that he was moving to New Zealand for four years to take the reins on the project.

Jackson and longtime partner Fran Walsh, who already have their hands full adapting the beloved Tintin to the big screen, among other films in the pipeline, will serve as executive producers on the Hobbit flicks and collaborate with del Toro to ensure proper continuity with their Oscar-winning LOTR.

The first Hobbit movie will follow the story of Frodo's uncle, Bilbo Baggins (played in the LOTR films by Sir Ian Holm), as he journeys with a group of dwarves to a dragon's lair to recover stolen treasure. The second will mine material from Tolkien's appendices about the 60 years between The Hobbit and the start of The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring.

McKellen added that he was excited to be working with the Mexican-born helmer, who's beginning to work on the scripts.

"I spoke to Guillermo in the very room that Peter Jackson offered me the part, and he confirmed that I would be reprising the role," Sir Ian said. "As to how it's going to work over two films and what's going to happen onscreen, well, Guillermo has not got down to working out the major details yet—I can tell you it's going to be amazing though."

Talking to the fansite TheOneRing.net, del Toro confirmed McKellen's casting as well as that of Andy Serkis, who's once again aboard to play Gollum. Serkis, in fact, has added The Hobbit to his list of upcoming films on his official Website, just after Jackson's Tintin.

Filming on the Hobbit movies is set to get under way in 2009, with the films unspooling in 2010 and 2011.

  • Share
  • Tweet
  • Share

We and our partners use cookies on this site to improve our service, perform analytics, personalize advertising, measure advertising performance, and remember website preferences. By using the site, you consent to these cookies. For more information on cookies including how to manage your consent visit our Cookie Policy.