Transcript of Ian McKellen Chat – A few LOTR answers

by Jul 26, 2000Lord of the Rings (Movies)

Sir Ian McKellen–he’s usually wearing a smile when you see him in person…!
My good friend Joram from came across a chat held at the official X-Men movie site. I’ve gathered the LOTR questions and answers below. Go here to read the whole chat!

Ryan_Jamison_Evans asks: Do you feel pressure on you as an actor when you are cast to play a role like Gandalf in Lord of the Rings, both from yourself and from fans of the original work?

ian_mckellen: I’m rather used to this sort of pressure, b/c I’ve played a lot of classic parts, Parts that other actors have played before me.. so when you play Richard 3rd hundreds of actors all over the world have played the part.. and in some instances you’ll be judged to those performances in the case of Magneto, I’m not being compared to another performance but to the cartoon so it’s not the same.. I’m aware via my website that there are people anticipating, but I tried to ignore them while I was actually filming. I was told today that 1.7 million people have downloaded the glimpse that was seen of Lord of the Rings on its site and that’s a lot of people isn’t it?

Ishamael70 asks: Was it difficult for you to switch roles so quickly, from Magneto to Gandalf(in Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings)?

ian_mckellen: Yes. I think as I remember.. I did have a holiday off for the millennium eve but I had intended all the time I was doing X-Men in Toronto to be catching up and thinking of Gandalf and I arrived in NZ in January, I had to do some adjusting. So it was good to have that brief break.. and I don’t recommend that actors jump directly from one role to another.. although some actors do 2 films at once so maybe it’s not as difficult as all that

Edward139 asks: Were you a fan of Tolkien’s work before you became involved with the Lord of the Rings?

ian_mckellen: Yes, but not a fanatic. I knew the Hobbit book and had enjoyed it very much but I’d never read its sequel — Lord of the Rings I think it’s the first time I’ve confessed that publicly, mainly b/c I didn’t want the fans to get to worried but the script is so true to the book I think it doesn’t matter I’ve now rectified the situation and have read the books.

lord_of_the_rings_freak asks: Has Peter Jackson changed the ‘Lord of the Rings’ from it’s original form?

ian_mckellen: Yes, he’s translated it from the novel on the page to three movies and in doing that changed it a great deal. Has he changed the story? Basically, no he has not. It’s not an adaptation, it’s more of a translation. That’s a better way to think of it… and everyday on Lord of the Rings, the novels are referred to. We literally go to the page and read back what Tolkien’s original scene of what we’re doing

teemd asks: Did you have experience in horseback riding before LOTR started filming and are you learning it/finding it enjoyable?

ian_mckellen: I’ve been riding in films on and off for 30 years and that is the only time that I ride and I do enjoy it, but two weeks ago my horse was so frisky that it had to be controlled out of sight of the camera by 6 hefty wranglers. But in my time I’ve ridden on a camel too, when I played Lawrence of Arabia

timmy_c_1999 asks: How you compare Gandalf to Magneto, and what are their differences?

ian_mckellen: I don’t make any connection really. Of course they both contain a lot of Ian McKellen in them, inevitably the comparison has been made with Malcolm X .. they both were prepared to use violence to achieve their aims.

waal99022 asks: Are you aware that Lord of the Rings Preview holds the record for the most downloads in 24 hours..1.7 million..The Phantom Menace had just 1 million..when it hit the net..What does this mean to you about the popularity of the books and its movies?

ian_mckellen: Well, it’s already been said to be the most popular book of fiction in the 20th century so perhaps those figures aren’t surprising And not just of course in the US. It’s all over the world. It’s been translated into I don’t know how many languages


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