From The Dominion Post: Though the rest of the cast have expressed their enthusiasm for being in New Zealand, it seems The hobbit actor Sir Ian McKellen isn’t quite as excited. In a blog, McKellen – who will reprise his role as Gandalf – said he was relieved to have negotiated an “escape clause from Middle-earh” so he could play a Mafia don on stage. He will take a break during the 18 months of filming to fly back to Britain and star in The Syndicate, at the Chichester Festival Theatre, The Daily Mail reported. On his blog, McKellen also questioned his decision to play Gandalf, saying sequels aren’t necessarily as rewarding to act in as their originals. “My worry that I could not escape from Middle-earth was lifted.” McKellen is apparently on holiday in India, and will travel direct from there to New Zealand, where he will start filming on February 21.

UPDATE Sir Ian took to Twitter to correct a mistake in the above story. His start date for filming is now March 28th, and not February 21st.


  1. Anonymous

    No real news other than he is having a break, as Sir Ian already mentioned most of that in early Jan, the interesting part is he will be back in the UK for a while during the shoot as will Martin Freeman, so fair enough. I hope they film the white council first with Sir Ian, Hugo Weaving, Sir Christopher the lovely Cate et al.

  2. Dave Lenz

    I’m sorry… but those words and actions from Mckellen are the words and action of a true Ass-Hole who only cares about his own agenda and his own selfish Pampered-actor comfort…

    That’s not a very trusting and kind move on his part to the Tolkien fans who want this movie made, and it sure makes it clear that he isn’t a true Tolkien fan himself…

    What happened to the idea that Artists to their craft for the sake and enjoyment of OTHER people?
    All I see today is stuck up selfish actors & artists who want to do whatever gives them the most glory, and they whine and complain when they don’t get their way, don’t get paid enough, and don’t get the credit they think they deserve.

    & I’m saying this as an artist myself… Everyone needs to kill their stupid pride, put their idiotic agenda’s aside and do the crafts they’ve chosen for a purpose outside of their stupid desires.

    • Guest

      Really? This sounds like the same entitled asshatery from Elijah fans who complain he hasn’t done another huge blockbuster since LOTR, preferring his small indie roles and music projects — because he can. It is very difficult in the acting industry to get to a point where you really can do exactly what YOU want rather than what pays the bills. I think Ian’s more than earned his.

      Never mind that having a break to do another thing isn’t that out of the ballpark for something like this. Very few films take a year and a half to shoot, and that is a hell of a time commitment for anyone.

      And for the record, LOTR had its own 6 week break in the middle of filming, and many of the minor actors worked on other projects at the same time; Liv for instance. This shoot is supposed to run on a similar schedule. This is hardly a case of Ian getting high and mighty. It’s just the way of the business.

    • Jimmycurry01

      It seems you have quite missed the point. McKellen has signed on to a very lengthy shoot with The Hobbit. He is an old actor and would probably like to spend his remaining years doing all of the projects he truly wants to do.

      This isn’t about being trusting or kind. It is about being in his 80s, spending a considerable amount of time away from home, and putting off projects he wants to do so that he can help out his friends and try to keep fans happy. He is more than doing his part to live up to your expectations.

      He is doing the craft he has chosen, that is his agenda. He has more than one project on his plate, he isn’t saying he isn’t going to do The Hobbit, he is saying he will be leaving for a while in order to continue other work in his craft that he has chosen. He is not the only one leaving New Zealand during production to work on other projects.Martin Freeman is also leaving to film the new season of Sherlock Holmes, and other also have other engagements to tend to. Perhaps you have simply misunderstood the situation.

  3. SealOfServants73

    This sounds like a case of spin-doctoring by Dominion Post. The author has taken Ian McKellan’s blog from January totally out of context and reorganized his comments to project a certain point of view. Read McKellan’s blog in the original context:

    McKellan’s clearly excited about The Hobbit; he just didn’t want it to dominate all of his time for 18 whole months. There’s nothing extreme about his concerns. This article is just an attempt to stir up the waters.


  4. Jason

    I think Sir Ian is looking at the Hobbit the wrong way. “Sequels aren’t as rewarding”…The Hobbit isn’t a sequel, it’s just an earlier chapter in the history of Middle Earth, which should stand as an equal, not a sequel, to LotR when it’s finished.

  5. Evilknick

    He seems pretty out of touch with this story if he considers this movie a “sequel”. Sequels are bad because they’re usually nothing but a revisit to the same old story, the worst of them doing nothing but recreating the things we all loved about the original. The Hobbit has it’s own story to tell, no matter how many parallels can be drawn between Tolkien’s LOTR trilogy. Mckellen is jaded.

    • Anonymous

      Although we know these movies will be a prequel to the trilogy (as does Sir Ian who has always been pro The Hobbit coming to the big screen) in terms of shooting it after them makes it like a sequel to the actors returning. Sir Ian was merely expressing his concerns about returning to Middle Earth , after all he is human and this was all lifted from his website over 6 weeks ago and given a negative spin by the press. Why did no one complain about his comments in early Jan when he posted them? Negative spin from the press who are eager to focus on ‘the curse of the Hobbit’!

  6. Tauriel

    I don’t see what’s the big deal here, and I agree with SealOfServants73 that this was spinned in a negative way. After all, they accomodated Martin Freeman’s commitment to Sherlock, why shouldn’t they accomodate Ian McKellen’s commitments, too?

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