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?"

31 July 2003

Rehearsals and Takes

From: Simon Hill

Q: Do you get a sense of 'oh, that's the take they chose' when watching your own performances? And do you have much in the way of rehearsal with other cast members prior to filming? (can you tell I don't know much about acting?!) I'm glad you have enjoyed your time in Aotearoa, and hope you'll return soon.

A: The gap between filming and the first screenings of the finished movie are usually so long that I can't recognise the takes which are used or even recall those scenes which have been trimmed or omitted. For a more reliable report on the actual filming of Lord of the Rings you could peep at my diary The Grey Book elsewhere on this site.

Gandalf's Ring

From: Kisby

Q: In the appendixes of LOTR, Tolkien clearly mentions that Gandalf is a bearer of one the 3 Elven rings by the time the Fellowship are on their journey to Mordor. However, on closer inspection, I didn't see any ring on any of Gandalf's fingers. Is this ring just not mentioned yet, or is it a detail that was left out?

A: By the end of the story, Gandalf will be wearing the ring, although it is not, I think, mentioned in the dialogue of the screenplay.


From: Stan Jones

Q: In Ian Brodie's "Locations' Guide" you are quoted on NZ:"..it's wild in a way that England isn't wild" (p.91). would you care to expand on the notion of comparative "wildness" between the two locations and on the way "wilderness" might apply to the realisation of Middle-earth in the 2 films released so far?

A: I hope you will forgive me if I don't expand on my brief comment , which was really stating the obvious. New Zealand was uninhabited until about 850 years ago nor did it ever suffer the ill effects of the Industrial Revolution. England's history has cultivated all its varying landscapes. Elsewhere in the UK, you have to go north to the Highlands of Scotland to approach the scale of the mountainous wilderness where Edoras was built near the Alps of the South Island.

From Movies to the Books

From: feesticks@hotmail.com Fee

Q: I saw FotR on video last summer, the day it was released, for the first time. The next day I brought the trilogy and read them straight through. On top of the satisfaction you must feel by having such an important role is such a magnificent trilogy, how does it make you feel to have brought the Lord of the Rings to so many people who had never read it before? It now holds a very important place in my heart, and I thank you partly for that. p.s: having grown up in a homphobic family, I was ecstatic when my father admitted to thinking you were 'fantastic'. Go you!

A: Yes it's a happy byproduct of the movies that they have led you and others back to the books. Me too. Please give my regards to your father.


Q: I noticed a very small detail in your acting, You gave a wink with your right eye to Bilbo when he left bag-end, a wink to Elrond half-elven when Frodo tells the council that he will take the ring to Mordor and a wink to Aragorn just before entering the Golden hall of Meduseld. Was this your technique or did Peter and/or Fran push this and will we see future eye winking in the Return of the King?

A: It was Gandalf who decided to wink.


From: Stephen Quinn

Q: Did you have any idea when you got the part of how quickly people would embrace and love the films? And also, how does it feel to have gained a sort of immortality through them (ie you'll always be remembered as Gandalf by future generations)

Q: I was often warned that the release of Lord of the Rings, following hard on the first X-Men movie would change my life forever: and I wondered in what way that might be true. What has happened is that, because of Gandalf and Magneto's great fame and popularity, I have been carried along on their success. I am always sorry for their fans, particularly the very young ones, who meet me and look up in vain for the hirsute wizard and the helmetted villain. I do get recognised in public much more frequently than in the past, which so far is a happy development as everyone is friendly and only rarely bothersome. I do get glimpses of how unbearable it must be to be one of those star actors who are famous for their personality rather than for the characters they have played.


From: Andreas Walther

Q: How did you like Hobbiton? I liked this place so much, because it's such a warm and friendly place. I think it's one of the best moments of the movie when Gandalf and Frodo drive through the village. I don't know if you're allowed to answer it, but I wanted to get to know if Hobbiton appears in the third part of the triology in the same beauty as in the first part?

Q: In the Grey Book report of the filming of Lord of the Rings, I have noted how many children's books are placed underground, from "Alice in Wonderland", to "Wind in the Willows". Perhaps those hobbit-holes are a memory of the womb. Like you I am a bit sentimental about Hobbiton. It has the same fascination as those miniature model villages, where everything is on a less than human scale. Small is beautiful indeed.




Additional E-Posts about LOTR may be found in

The Lord of the Rings

DVD Release date 26 August 2003