I just recently sent the following e-mail to Sir Ian McKellen:
I just wanted to write and let you know how pleased I am that you have decided to undertake this marvellous adventure in Tolkein’s Middle-Earth. I have seen several of your pictures and must say that if anyone can bring this role to life, it is you. I wanted also to ask a question. I was wondering if, in your research for the role of Gandalf, whether or not you watched Ralph Bakshi’s animated version of the film from 1977? I was curious as to what your view (of the way Gandalf was presented in the film) was and whether or not you envisioned him in a similar way when you first read the books (as I’m sure you have, if not for your own entertainment, then certainly in your research of the role.) I know that your portrayal of Gandalf will be a direct reflection of Peter Jackson’s direction, but what vision of the character do you see for yourself? What elements do you see yourself bringing to the role?
Dallas, Texas, USA
PS: Best wishes for a successful shoot on “X-Men”, and very much looking forward to seeing you on the silver screen in the months ahead.
This was his reply:
i generally avoid other interpretations of characters i am about to play. after all i must find gandalf inside myself – that process is just beginning and i may try and plot it out in the grey book. altho too much analysis can be harmful away from the workplace
best wishes ian mckellen
Hope this might be of use for the website.