In the News: Rings star rates NZ, Jackson - The Evening Post

Susan W. emailed us this article from The Evening Post which comments on Ian McKellen's recent entry into his Grey Book...

Rings star rates NZ, Jackson

by Tom Cardy

The Evening Post - February 1, 2000

Creating The Lord Of The Rings wizard Gandalf has included three-hour makeup sessions and testing a droopy moustache which "looked like a double for The Beatles' Maharishi", movie star Sir Ian McKellen says.

On his website, Sir Ian -- who arrived in Wellington last month for the $360 million film project -- has explained his transformation into the wizard, and his impressions of New Zealand and director Peter Jackson.

He said he found New Zealand congenial for British visitors:

"The language is the same and you can buy Marmite and Cadbury's chocolate. The Queen is on the banknotes (although they are made of a non-creasable, washable, transparent plastic) and there is scandal about Prince Edward in The Woman's Weekly which would be considered too racy for even the UK tabloids . . . I feel very much at home."

He described filming at Matamata, site of the Hobbit village, Hobbiton, and screen tests for the real Gandalf look. During the first test, he found Gandalf's beard too long.

"Peter Jackson suggested a drooping moustache. I suddenly looked like a double for The Beatles' Maharishi [Indian guru]," Sir Ian said.

Jackson also gets the thumbs up: "I haven't been here long enough to judge if Peter is a national hero but he should be up there with Sir Edmund Hillary."

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