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[Movies] Ian McKellen Says The Hobbit Films Will Have A Different Tone From Lord of the Rings
Posted by Joseph Lee on 12.10.2012

In an interview with The Guardian, Ian McKellen said that the Hobbit trilogy will have a different tone from the Lord of the Rings trilogy, much like the books differ.

On The Hobbit's tone: "Tolkien wrote The Hobbit first, and wrote it mainly as a simple adventure story. It was written almost in the first person, his own voice, and it's a tale of the old world, and Bilbo is simply going on an adventure. In Lord Of The Rings it's war, written as real war loomed, and they're going off to save the world: it's big and it's serious. But this [film] is full of fun, and humour, in a way which wouldn't really have been appropriate in Lord of the Rings. Martin [Freeman] is, apart from anything else, a great comedian, as, of course, are Billy Connolly, Stephen Fry, Jimmy Nesbitt. Also, in this one I am, throughout, Gandalf the Grey. In Lord Of The Rings, two of them anyway, I play Gandalf the White, kind of post-resurrection, and there's a different feel to him; a certainty. But Gandalf the Grey likes boogieing around Hobbiton and having a drink and a smoke and letting off fireworks."

On identifying with Gandalf: "Well, aspects, most certainly. He likes going out. Likes laying down the law. I love both, on occasion, with… yes, benign affectionate tetchiness. I don't have Gandalf the White's certainty about everything. That is a part of it. What I do have is Gandalf the Grey's ability to worry about things. There's got to be some truth of you in all the best parts. And that's why I did enjoy it all so. That and, to be honest, the fact that I still get a bit starstruck. I can't believe my luck! I'm in a room with Billy Connolly, touching him, hugging him, and he's teaching me how to play the banjolele, which he gave me. Chatting to Stephen Fry, for free, and they're nice to me, think I have something to offer. And young people, too, offering me the time of day. What a business to be in, and to still be in!"

On being a big movie star at the age of 73: "It's easier to go from theatre to film than the other way round. In film you're absolutely loved and cossetted and cared for. In film your director makes your performance. In theatre you're carrying it all. But films appeal to me because I'm still intrigued by how to do them. I'm so pleased that I seem to be able to act in films, not waving and shouting too much, just to be heard in the gods." And he didn't, as many seem to, mind the concomitant fame? "Goodness no. And I travel on the tube. What's nice for me, having identified myself for years as being rather shy, is now, wherever I am, in public, there tends to be a friendly face who's pleased to see me, and I like that. And for someone who doesn't have grandchildren, it's lovely for me to meet those of friends, eight or nine years old, who actually want to have a chat to me – that's great. And yes, they absolutely understand I'm not Gandalf, I'm only an actor. All the world's a stage etc, and kids are so used to play-acting anyway: they absolutely get it, no problem. Sometimes they might say: 'Will you sign this as Gandalf?' and I say: 'Well, no, Gandalf isn't here,' and they go: 'Of course.'"


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