Ian McKellen says he still has no idea how he managed to get cast as Gandalf in the Lord of the Rings trilogy and the Hobbit prequels.
Ian McKellen says he still has no idea how he managed to get cast as Gandalf in the Lord of the Rings Hobbit trilogy and prequels. The veteran actor was already a theater and screen legend in the late 1990s, when he was cast in two major franchises. He first appeared as Magneto in X Men and then he was cast as Gandalf in Peter Jackson Lord of the Rings trilogy, which was shot in New Zealand. The 81-year-old is now arguably best known for playing magician.
McKellen would play Gandalf six times, appearing in all three Hobbit prequels, although the demands of shooting green screen almost led him to give up The Hobbit and acting in general. However harsh the demands of filming the films may have been, McKellen clearly appreciates his time in New Zealand, partly because of the bonds of friendship he made, and also partly because of the legendary status the original trilogy has achieved in last. Two decades. But even more than 20 years later, McKellen still feels like he’s not sure how he got the chance to play the character in the first place.
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Talking to GQMcKellen says he still can’t quite get it. In typical British style of self-criticism, the actor says he thinks he probably got the offer because all the actors in line in front of him didn’t want to spend more than a year living in New Zealand. He adds that this is their fault and calls them “fools” for turning down the opportunity. You can read their full comments below:
“I still don’t quite know how Gandalf got my way. I think because some of the actors who would have been offered before me were put off by the idea of having to live in New Zealand for a year. hell is that? Well, dumber. “
It’s funny to think that McKellen still can’t believe his luck being cast as Gandalf, since he’s so iconic on paper, and after all this time it’s hard to imagine someone else playing the wizard. But, at the time he was cast, McKellen was not a favorite to star in. Christopher Lee, who played Saruman in both trilogies, wanted the role for himself, and Sean Connery turned Gandalf down because he claimed he didn’t understand the script.
But thankfully they did, as McKellen managed to pull off a skillful performance as the magician in The Lord of the rings trilogy and The Hobbit prequels, dominating the screen with their unique combination of authority and warm humor. Even if you don’t understand why you were cast in the first place, the evidence for why you got the part is on screen, and movies are better for your presence in them.
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