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Ian McKellen says he’ll play Gandalf in new Lord of the Rings film – on one morbid condition

In Europe
June 08, 2024

Ian McKellen has said he’ll star in a recently announced Lord of the Rings franchise – on one morbid condition.

The actor, who played Gandalf in Peter Jackson’s blockbuster JRR Tolkien adaptations, addressed rumours he might feature in the forthcoming film, centred on Andy Serkis’s Gollum, during a new interview.

After Warner Bros announced The Hunt for Gollum last month, it was theorised by fans that Gandalf might appear – and McKellen has confirmed there are “stirrings in Tolkien land”.

Speaking to The Times, McKellen said he has heard that Gandalf will be in the film, but levelled: “There is no script, there is no offer, there is no plan.”

However, the 85-year-old said he would be up for being in the film “if I’m alive”.

McKellen, who is set to play Falstaff in Player Kings at the Noël Coward Theatre, reflected on his age during the interview, revealing that he now often wonders if projects he accepts will be his final job.

“If you want to know that you are mortal, you just have to look at your address book. And so when a script comes through, or the hint of an offer, you think, ‘This might be my last job. No. I’m not doing that.’”

The Hunt for Gollum is the first of several planned new Lord of the Rings franchises that will be released by Warner Bros in the coming decade.

Serkis, who will direct the film, said of the news: “Yesssss, Precious. The time has come once more to venture into the unknown with my dear friends, the extraordinary and incomparable guardians of Middle Earth Peter, Fran and Philippa. With Mike and Pam, and the Warner Bros team on the quest as well, alongside WETA and our filmmaking family in New Zealand. It’s just all too delicious.”

Ian McKellen as Gandalf in the ‘Lord of the Rings’ franchise (New Line Cinema)

Ian McKellen as Gandalf in the ‘Lord of the Rings’ franchise (New Line Cinema)

Meanwhile, Jackson and his fellow producers, Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens, added: “It is an honour and a privilege to travel back to Middle-earth with our good friend and collaborator, Andy Serkis, who has unfinished business with that Stinker – Gollum! As life-long fans of Professor Tolkien’s vast mythology, we are proud to be working with Mike De Luca, Pam Abdy and the entire team at Warner Bros on another epic adventure!”

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