Astin Likes Evil Angel

Sean Astin, who directs the upcoming “Soulless” episode of The WB’s Angel, told the Zap2it Web site that he loved working with star David Boreanaz. Astin’s episode, which marks his directorial debut in a one-hour network series, deals with Angel’s evil counterpart, Angelus.

“When you’re working with David, and he’s into Angelus, he’s got so many layers and so many different shades and qualities, you want to keep exploring them and mining them and pulling them out,” Astin told the site. “It’s such a rich, meaty character for him to do. He’s good at evil. It’s a little creepy, yeah.”

Astin, who is best known as Sam in the Lord of the Rings films, got the directing gig through his friendship with writer/director Dan Petrie Jr., who is also friends with former Angel executive producer David Greenwalt. “Soulless” aired Feb. 5 at 9 p.m. ET/PT.

McKellen: King Rocks

Ian McKellen, star of Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings films, told the Empire Online Web site that the upcoming third installment will not disappoint. Speaking at the Empire Awards, where Two Towers picked up honors, McKellen told the site, “In an e-mail I got just now from Peter Jackson, I asked if he was coming tonight, and he said no, he can’t, but he’s recorded a video message, and then he put a p.s. at the bottom. It said: ‘And Return of the King is looking very, very good!’ So I tell you, if Peter Jackson’s boasting how good the third film is now, then we’d all better watch out.”

McKellen also confessed that the filmmakers worried how the second Rings movie would be received. “We did worry a little bit, even after the success of the first film, that the second film might have a bit of a difficult time,” McKellen said. “Because, after all, it doesn’t have a beginning, and it doesn’t have an ending. The story doesn’t finish until Return of the King in a year’s time. But the public has taken it to its heart, no doubt because they liked the first film so much.” Return of the King opens in December.