26 November 2001
From: Belton Myers
Q: I think that the Gandalf character is going to be a lasting one for you. If the movies are successful then you may find yourself asked to reprise the role repeatedly for fans. Is this something you are comfortable with?
A: I can't think that the Lord of the Rings trilogy needs a sequel but of course the prequel is already written as J.R.R. Tolkien's wonderful adventure story The Hobbit. This features Gandalf the Grey. As his wizard's beard, moustache, long hair and pointy hat are splendid disguises, perhaps if it were ever adapted for the cinema, I should give another actor the part of a lifetime. Or perhaps not. I should emphasise that, despite any rumour, there are no plans to film The Hobbit.
From: David Trussell
Q: As a long-time Tolkien enthusiast, I have read the trilogy multiple times and thus know much of the dialogue by heart. How much of the dialogue in the films is taken directly from the books, and how much comes from the imaginations of the script writers?
A: As far as Gandalf is concerned, almost all of his dialogue is from the original books. And where, because of the exigencies of cinema storytelling, there have been additions only someone who knows the books as well as you do will be able to spot them.
Q: Have you ever seen the animated versions of the Tolkien stories and if so what your opinion is of John Huston as the voice of Gandalf?
A: Huston's voice matches the Rankin/Bass animations perfectly. But then Michael Hordern's Gandalf for BBC radio (when Ian Holm played Frodo) was equally convincing.
From: Jerry Aurand (Fillan)
Q: Recently there has been news items posted on Tolkien websites about two recent community theatrical productions of parts of LotR: a "Fellowship" in Cincinnati and a "Return" in Chicago and also a site for a musical version. Do you think that, perhaps due to the influence of the films, there will ever be a LotR production on Broadway? Would you be interested in appearing in such a production?
A: I don't have any ambitions to reprise Gandalf onstage - although The Fellowship on Ice might be fun.
Q: I have seen some footage off you and your Gandalf Staff. I am curious as to how it was lit?
A: Gandalf's staff is illuminated in the Mines of Moria although you wouldn't really expect a wizard to reveal his magic would you? But if you imagined a light bulb wired through the staff to a portable battery pack . . . well that might work I suppose.
Q: I have heard that in the FOTR, many references and clips will be shown from The Silmarillion to help explain the power of the Ring and the story behind it. Do you know if there is any truth to these rumours?
A: The Fellowship of the Ring begins with the "story so far" but the original idea for a separate prologue has been abandoned. I am sure the intention is to engage the audience's attention in the events as they unfold but these cannot make much sense out of the context of the events of The Hobbit. How this is all achieved - and remember that Peter Jackson is a master storyteller - will be revealed worldwide on 19th December.