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 January 2003

Helm's Deep

From: Josh

Q: I am currently watching LOTR fellowship for the 14th time. On the bridge of Khazad-Dum the music is the best piece of music ive heard ever. <—coming from a 14 year old punk. I have seen the Two Towers 5 times since its release. It brought a Huge grin to my face when Gandalf returns with The Riders of Rohan. Where the riders all people or where they Digital?

A: Yes I think I may have smiled as Gandalf stages his various returns to the fray. I think the bulk of the riders were digital although I remember quite a few of us on the Helm's Deep set.


From: sparklingdiamond327@yahoo.com

Q: We are two ladies from Chicago, Illinois and we saw you in LOTR and thought you were great. We are also X-men fans and think you are an excellent Magneto, you and Patrick Stewart make the perfect team. Will we being seeing any future LOTR conventions that you will be attending? This is weird question, but do you drive your own car? Cate asks because usually famous people have a driver.

A: I enjoyed ComicCon in San Diego a couple of seasons back . No plans for a return visit. Returning to London after a few months away I have sold my car and am seeing how public transport and taxis manage these days. I have walked the half hour to and from rehearsals for Dance of Death each day this week. But I am not averse to being driven by a chauffeur, one of the perks of acting in movies.


From: bjacomrie@hotmail.com

Q: During the filming, were there any moments as an actor, when you had difficulty connecting with Gandalf? Any scene that perhaps was particularly challenging?

A: I don¹t recall a scene I didn¹t understand emotionally but some of the action episodes were daunting because of the mix of special effects and acting. e.g. the fight at the Orthanc tower between the two wizards.

For Kids?

From: Dale madnificent2@yahoo.com.au

Q: Are you at all concerned about the suitability of The Lord Of The RIngs Trilogy to children? Even though Peter Jackson has made an obviously accurate flim to the books, such things like the gruesome Uruk-Hai and the Balrog gave it its classification. Would you have preferred the film to be less violent so that children could watch as well.

A: Considering the screeches and wailing that can emanate from young theatregoers thrilled by a Christmas pantomime in UK (which may feature, ogres, giants, wicked step-mothers and the like), it is surprising that other very young children can so relish the violence and arching story of war which is at the heart of Lord of the Rings. I have met five year olds who have seen both films over and over. I wonder, though, how they were smuggled past the ticket-taker?


From: Kris Somers

Q: A keen enthusiast of both books and movies, I personally loved the way the "innuendo of the white wizard in Fangorn" (is it Saruman ? is it Gandalf ?) that is very apparent in Tolkien's book, made it to the screen in a rather refreshing way. Was that actually Christopher Lee's voice interlaced with yours at the first encounter of Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli with Gandalf the White ? And were those your eyes or Lee's peering from the blinding light ? In any case, a conceit well executed ! I also smiled hearing the reference to the grey Pilgrim... for many a geek year, that was my nickname on irc chat, back in the early nineties, when I was thirteen and had just read the books for a first, thrilling time.

A: All my own work in Fangorn — with regards from one grey pilgrim to another.

Fantasy at the Academy

Q: What's your opinion on the comments made by Christopher Lee recently concerning the Oscars, and the 'perception' of Fantasy & Sci-Fi films by the academy? I personally feel, SF and Fantasy have always gotten the raw end of the stick, in all forms of media.

A: There does seem to be some prejudice against "Fantasy" amongst Academy voters — though not of course this one.

Restrained Powers

Q: Hey great website. Mine is at www.jazzydata.com I love your work as Gandalf and also as Magneto! I'm wondering if Gandalf should step it up a little. It seems like he could use his Wizard powers more effectively. For example, why should he have to ride around on horseback and summon help? Can't he just zap everyone?

A: Ah if saving Middle-earth were only as easy as that, with Gandalf as Magneto. "Harrumph," as stuffy old gents say to each other in their London clubs.

Congratulations on your news. May 25th is Miles Davis's birthday did you know?

[Webmaster's Note: Some sources list Miles Davis's birthdate as May 26, 1926, many others say May 25.]


From: Grant grant_thornley@hotmail.com

Q: I saw the Two Towers over the holidays; I was incredibly moved by the film for many reasons. I broke down and WEPT, however, when you appeared atop Shadowfax at the dawn of the 5th day. It was a definitive "Film Moment" - like something from one of those old great films, one of those pictures that you freeze in your mind forever. you were glorious, and, to boot, here I was, a gay man, sitting in a theatre in Washington state and watching another out and proud gay man play an incredibly powerful hero onscreen. I am so lucky to have lived to see this.

A: I don't think Peter Jackson's many salutes to the old film-makers have been acknowledged let alone analysed. But wait: you can bet there will be biographies and studies published ere long telling us what inspired every moment of the trilogy.

Click to enlarge
Gandalf and the Riders at Helm's Deep
Photo by Piere Vinet/New Line Cinema


From: peter@pbowles.com

Q: The Two Towers is probably the best film ever made...! You must be so proud! Please visit my town sometime - all our roads are named after places in LOTR - "Gandalf's Ride" is the street opposite. Now there would be a cool feature for the box set (well for us here in South Woodham Ferrers, Essex)

A: One of my father's jobs as a Borough Engineer was to name the new streets on civic housing estates about the time Lord of the Rings was first published. He gathered flowers, trees, poets of course, colours too in Rose Street, Acacia Drive, Wordsworth Crescent, Aquamarine Row. I think he delved into Dickens' characters but he didn't read Tolkien. I wonder who in South Woodham Ferrers did.

South Woodham Ferrers

Ian McKellen's father
Dennis Murray McKellen



Additional E-Posts about LOTR may be found in

The Lord of the Rings