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An Audience with Sir Ian McKellen, 5/5/2003

Article from 5/12/2003

Sir Ian Ready and Willing to be in The Hobbit

During Sir McKellen's show 'An Audience with Sir Ian McKellen' the question was posed about the Hobbit.

"Would you like to play Gandalf again in The Hobbit?"

Sir McKellen make a quick "Yes" and pauses and replies "Yes, I am indeed interested in playing Gandalf again in The Hobbit. Actually I had the idea of doing it as a television series where each chapter of the book is an episode that way the entire book is made. I approached Peter Jackson about it and told him my idea but he has not responded to me yet. Don't you think that would be a good idea?"

Sir McKellen turns for a response to the audience. Everyone in the crowd yells "No a film. We want a film." Sir McKellen turns to the audience and says "You want a film?" The whole audience joins in the roar and clapping about making The Hobbit into a film.

A report on the rest of the evening:

The evening with Sir McKellen began in a coverted church turned theater space on the Isle of the Dogs, London. There were only 200 people at The Space and it seemed the perfect amount for what turned into an enchanting evening with Sir McKellen.

Sir McKellen, surprising the whole audience, did not enter stage right as most actors would. Rather up the main aisle Sir McKellen walked in at a quick pace having run a few minutes late. As he walked down the aisle a whisper of apologies followed the roar of the audience. Tears couldn't help but enter one's eyes at the excitement of seeing a truly fine actor.

On a plain stage with just a bouquet of flowers, a table and a stool Sir McKellen began his evening reading from his own copy, carried with him the whole time of the shoot, of The Lord of the Rings. The audience entranced his reading of The Long Expected Party.

Sir McKellen then stepped forward with goodies from the film set. The audience was treated to a passing around of the doorhandle of Orthanc, Bilbo's keys, as well as cutlery from Bag End. The next order of business was handing out books to the line of children sitting around the stage.

Questions from the audience began coming forward asking Sir McKellen about the fight with the Balrog to which Gandalf did he prefer to play, "Gandalf the White or Gandalf the Grey?" Naturally Sir McKellen said Gandalf the Grey.

Oscars were the next subject of discussion for Sir McKellen and the campaigns an actor has to go through with the press. The audience was enlightened to the fact that one has to go around to Academy members to obtain their vote. Sir McKellen spoke of his most recent nomination as Gandalf and going through four months of intensive interviews from the media. And he sadly admitted at the end that there was no happy ending of this tale for he did not win the Oscar. He finished with a wink to the crowd.

Onto another reading from Sir McKellen from his Lord of the Rings book this time prompted by another Balrog question. The audience was treated to almost the entire chapter of the fall of Gandalf in Moria. The most exciting moments in the reading were his lines "You shall not pass!" narrated with the full heart of the character we see in the film, then to the quiet pindrop of the lines "Fly you Fools!" All of which entranced the audience to full applause at the end.

Sir McKellen finished with a speech from Sir Thomas Moore that had the audience to enwrapped.

Sir McKellen ended the evening with an auction of his LOTR books and cups he had brought with him in order to raise money for the theater The Space. He was jovial and kind while going for the highest bidder with a poster of his most recent play The Dance of Death. And then to show what a gentlemen he really is Sir McKellen stayed after the show for almost 2 hours signing autographs and meeting people. Always with a smile on his face and a firm handshake with a "Thank You" at the end.

The Audience with Sir McKellen revealed what a true talent Sir McKellen really is.. and what a gentleman.

Written by a Hobbit fan who was there.


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