Thorin_Oakenshield Fairfax entertainment reporter Giles Hardie visited the set of The Hobbit on the same two-day press junket that Dark Horizons, IGN and other media outlets went on.

His article is a bit of a fluff piece, and probably doesn’t divulge much that’s new to regular TORn readers, but the bit about McKellen preferring to not reprise his roles is certainly interesting.

Benedict Cumberbatch has had a bad week as The Fifth Estate bombed at the US and UK box offices, but his next film is as close to a guaranteed box office winner as they come. In fact, it might be said he will set the box office ablaze, as Cumberbatch voices the dragon Smaug in the forthcoming second Hobbit movie.

We visited Middle Earth to meet the cast and crew in anticipation of The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, which is out on Boxing Day, and in our day on set we learned of five different Hobbit films we nearly got instead.

The McKellen Hobbit

For Sir Ian McKellen, The Hobbit doesn’t have enough day-to-day detail. “The one disappointment is that Peter had half-promised, ‘Wouldn’t it be fun to see Gandalf getting up in the morning’. Peter’s always saying he likes the guy who does sleep under a hedge and gets up and saves the world. So do I,” McKellen mused.

“We see the dwarves eating a lot and drinking a lot. They never seem to go to the loo.”

The non-McKellen Hobbit

HobbitFreemanJacksonAW-620x349 Not only didn’t we get a domesticated wizard, we almost didn’t get the same wizard. “I don’t like to play a part that I have played before,” McKellen told us. “Once you’ve played Gandalf, you get offered a lot of parts for old men with white beards. And it’s hardly worth you reading the script because however good it is, I feel I have done that. So there was a lot inside me saying, “No, no, no.”

“What persuaded me was could I bear the thought of somebody else playing Gandalf? I couldn’t actually face talking to an eight-year-old and explaining why I didn’t want to be Gandalf again.”

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