Just wanted to report that I just listened to a 40-minute interview on WNYC in NY with Christopher Lee, full of articulate musings on his career and laced with excerpts from the LOTR score. Wasn’t able to tape it, and missed the first 10 minutes, but here are a few tidbits:
He said he “thinks” Peter Jackson is in NY (today is the book signing in Union Square) and that he is going to be seeing him tomorrow (Saturday).
He just had a drink with the opera star Samuel Ramey, a bass whom he admires very much. Interestingly, Lee said he comes from a family of opera singers and studied singing early on. The legendary tenor Jussi Bjoerling heard him singing at a tavern and got him to audition for the Stockholm Opera. He didn’t have the funds to stay in Stockholm and study, so he ended up playing all those wonderful villains and using that voice in a different way.
His great ambition, still unrealized, is to play Merlin.
He belongs to 3 stunt men’s unions by virtue of being a terrific swordsman (his father was an expert in the military) and often used to do his own stunts til he realized it took work away from stunt men.
He will turn 80 on May 27.
He met J. R. R. Tolkien at the Eagle and Child Pub in Oxford once when he was there with friends, and said he “practically knelt” to him.
He spoke very warmly about the courage of New Line in taking on the LOTR films, saying they were “the only company that had the guts” to do it and is “glad they’re being rewarded. They deserve it”.