Sir Ian McKellen has had the good fortune to play some of the most memorable and important characters in the canon of literature. Film-going audiences best know him as the super villain Magneto in Marvel’s “X-Men” series and as Gandalf the Grey and Gandalf the White in Peter Jackson’s “Lord of the Rings” trilogy and his new “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey,” which is also part of a trilogy. Sir Ian sat down with Time’s Belinda Luscombe to talk about his work in these films as well as countless stage plays he’s acted in. And she brought up McKellen’s status as an openly gay actor, which the Gandalf actor answered with class and grace.
- Watch the whole Ian McKellen interview with Time by clicking on this link.
- Click on the links below for more Hobbit/ Middle Earth news
- The Hobbit trailer for TV released: Scenes introduce Smaug (the dragon)
- New Hobbit photo gives fans a look at Orlando Bloom as Legolas the elf
- Hobbit movie news: Hobbit-themed 777 plane brings film to skies
In the Ian McKellen interview with Time, Luscombe asked him about playing Gandalf again all these years later. In the new “Hobbit” movie, Sir Ian McKellen’s character is actually younger than he was in “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy and the actor is older. McKellen said that Gandalf the Grey is 7,000 years old and 60 years here or there doesn’t matter much. He also said he likes Gandalf the Grey better than Gandalf the White because he’s the Gandalf that likes to
smoke and drink and party with the hobbits.
Later in the interview, Sir Ian McKellen said that his Middle Earth character was in part responsible for making it so easy for people to ask him questions about being openly gay–something that the actor wondered if JRR Tolkien would have wondered why someone like Sir Ian could be gay and still think himself one of God’s creatures given Tolkien’s Catholic faith.
In recent weeks, Sir Ian McKellen has been in the news because it was reported that McKellen had cancer, although those reports were later denied by the actor’s agent. Now audiences can see Gandalf the Grey along with Gollum and Bilbo Baggins in “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey,” which is in theaters now.
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