ACTOR Ian McKellen is only too happy to resume the character Gandalf in The Hobbit films after bringing the wizard to life initially in The Lord Of The Rings (LOTR) films.

According to the 74-year-old thespian, he knows this character is well-loved as he is often approached by fans of all ages wherever he goes. He finds both the stories written by J.R.R. Tolkien equally wonderful and the location shoot in New Zealand has been an amazing experience.

In The Desolation Of Smaug, the wizard leaves Bilbo Baggins and the Dwarves to go on an urgent business that could very well jeopardise the peace in Middle-earth.

While it is not revealed in the children’s book what the threat is, Peter Jackson had to look at the appendices of LOTR – as this is where Tolkien reveals what happens to Gandalf – to incorporate it into this film.

In a transcript provided by Warner Bros. Pictures, McKellen gives an insight into this.

Can you talk about Gandalf’s own journey and where it takes him?

I don’t want to give too much away, but there is something going on in Middle-earth. It has changed. Reference is made to that in the first film, and in the second, you meet the specific dangers that Gandalf was nervous about. He gets into one hell of a scrape. I don’t think I can put it in more specific terms than that.

At that moment, does he have any mixed feelings about leaving Bilbo and the Dwarves to continue on without him?

Yes, those are the sort of dilemmas that he gets in. He can’t be in two places at once, much as he’d like to be. He does, sometimes, simply have to leave people to get on with the task that they’ve been given to do. But that’s the nature of being their commander.

You lay down the law, you make your suggestions, you give your orders, you give your warnings, and you say, ‘Good luck and I’ll be back if necessary.’ Then the characters are left to discover their inner strengths.

I suppose that’s part of how these stories are told. If they have Gandalf with them the whole time, solving all their problems as they turn up, it would be less of an adventure than it is.

What does Gandalf think about Thorin and his role in leading the troop?

Thorin is a stubborn young man, and aware of his lineage, and he’s probably got too much pride for Gandalf’s tastes. Gandalf would prefer that Thorin do things his way, but that’s not up to him.

What was it like to be reunited with Orlando Bloom and his character, Legolas?

I see Orlando all the time, but I didn’t actually get to work with him much on the film.

It’s ironic because we’re almost sharing an apartment here in New York where he’s on Broadway doing Romeo And Juliet and I’m on Broadway with Beckett and Pinter, and he’s just sort of along the corridor from me. So I have been seeing a lot of him and that’s been lovely.

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