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?"

1 March 2005 


From: Indrid Cold

Q: I do not speak English perfect. I know, that you once said, that you wish, that the full "Grey heaven"-scene is in the Special Extended Edition. But why is this scene not extended? I think, it would be a great scene (if I am right, you shake the hands from the hobbits, and you even give a kiss to Pippin, so like Frodo kissed Sam). 

A: I agree with you. By the end Gandalf and Pippin have been through so much that a little extra affection is in order. 


From: miriam(micki)johnson

Q: Please, sir, couldn't Gandalf change our President, George w. Bush, into "somethin' unnatural"

A: I'll have a word with the wizard but it may not be possible.


From: Arastrider

Q: i went to the big LOTR performance of Howard Shore's music last September at the Royal Albert Hall(which was amazing!) and was wondering if you were there and if you were asked sing at all like Billy & Viggo did in the ROTK?

A: I missed the London version of the concert which I did attend in Wellington at the time the third film was released, at which Viggo sang.


From: Neil Kandalgaonkar

Q: I heard that you recently attended One Man Lord of the Rings at the Vancouver Fringe Festival. Could you share your impressions of the show?

A: This was a thoroughly engaging show - an hour of visual and verbal jokes at the expense of the film trilogy, Tolkien as well as the actors, although it was always clear that the actor Charles Ross adored his material. He flung himself into it literally, spending half the performance on the stage floor impersonating Orc armies as well as individual characters. I laughed inordinately.


Mr. McKellen:

Actually, since I'm screwing up my courage to do something very out of character here, just so I can add one more voice of thanks to the roar, there's no need for you to reply. In faithfully wearing the mantle of Gandalf, you have in some sense also filled his shoes and carried his staff of office: you have kindled hearts to hope and blessing and joy for many who would never otherwise have read the books. It is my prayer that your heart may find hope kindled within it too, so that you will be in a place of receiving joy and blessing equal to what you conveyed to many of us, the fans of both the book and the movie. Here is a piece of trivia I offer in hopes of returning a small measure of my delight: In the additional material of Tolkien's legendarium (Volume 11 if I remember correctly) so carefully edited and presented by Christopher Tolkien, there is a family tree for the Boffin clan in which the pater familias is named Orlando, and a couple of generations down are cousins Vigo (sic.) and Hugo. More than likely someone else has already shared this, but if not, I thought you would be amused by the coincidence, even if none of their namesakes played hobbits. 

God bless! One Grateful Granny

A: Such a lovely letter deserves a reply. And I was indeed amused by those Boffin names. isn't there a Mck there somewhere?


From: Lee Rowe

Q: When you were about to leave Helm's Deep on Shadowfax, you gave a big sigh. Was that part of the acting or were you just plain tired and ready to call it a day? My wife and I thought it was well placed in any event and seemed to indicate "Now it begins".

A: Acting it was. Had I sighed or yawned or belched or whatever inappropriately, the director would have excised it. Sometimes, rarely, it's true that an inadvertent sound or look is retained in the finished film because, although by accident, it provides just what is needed.



From: paul wilson

Q: Peter Jackson indicated in many interviews that he intended to show Sauron in physical form in the last movie saying something to the affect that it would be like seeing all the Star Wars movies without seeing Darth Vader. When I went to see the movie I was expecting to see Sauron but it was not to be (a better decision in my opinion). Do you happen to know the reason for it?

A: Can't help I'm afraid beyond telling you that we filmed Sauron's exit from the story and that Peter Jackson originally intended to include it in the finalised DVD version of The Return of the King.



From: Alix

Q: Is there a white pipe hidden in the top of Gandalf The White's staff? If so, I can't find it. Surely his transformation didn't impel him to give up pipeweed!

A: The White Wizard is a smoker. He's the sort of character, isn't he, who keeps things up his sleeve.

Photo by Pirre Vinet



From: Jeff Clement

Q: I had a quick but burning question about Fellowship of the Ring. In the EE DVD, it's mentioned there was a really charming scene between Gandalf and Legolas in Hollin as they ascend to the Gates of Moria that was cut out. Can you tell me a little about what the scene comprises and what they say?

A: Gandalf identified the road as one he knew of old. He also asked Legolas and Gimli to try and get on better together.



From: Kelly Lavadie

Q: After years of waiting (and 25 years of reading), I was ecstatic to see Tolkien's greatest novel on the big screen. I was among the addicts that stood in line for hours at midnight on opening night for each movie. Now that it's all over, I find myself going through post-partum Tolkien depression. Did you or any other cast members that you know of suffer from separation anxiety after wrapping the films? And if so, how did you cope?

A: In December 2000, most of us were relieved (after a year or more away from home) to be returning to normality. We always knew we would be called back to New Zealand for extra filming each year until the trilogy was complete. So our separation was gradual. At the climactic world premiere of Return of the King in Wellington, the end finally arrived. I certainly felt sad and envied the few cast members who were invited back to make King Kong. Then I got on with other work.




Additional E-Posts about LOTR may be found in

The Lord of the Rings