Ian McKellen is definitely one of those actors there is no comparison for. I am sure many of you will say Michael Gambon is in the same realm, but I must say that had Gambon been cast as either Gandalf or as the voice of the ice bear Iorek Byrnison in The Golden Compass both roles would have taken on drastically different tones.
Well, after a year-long intermission while he was touring the world as King Lear, Sir Ian McKellen has returned to his blog and answered several questions from his fans. I have listed below three questions that pertained to The Hobbit and the fate of the Golden Compass franchise, but I urge you guys to check out the rest. He has some great answers concerning the ex-head honchos at New Line, his work with Peter Jackson, his thoughts on living a life in Hollywood "out of the closet" and much, much more. I was surprised at how interested I was.
Q: You have done a wonderful job in portraying this beautiful beast Iorek Byrnison and I should hope that if the second and third installments in the trilogy are produced you will be voicing him again... You nailed him!... Spot on Wonderful job. Comment from a true HDM fan. -Liam
A: I havent yet heard about any sequels although they must be planned to follow the book's story through. If they don't happen, I can honestly say I can't bear it.
Q: So has it come to pass, good Sir McKellen? Shall the dreaming masses with their musty books and their blackened pipes at long last hear those immortal words issue from under that famous nose? "Yes, yes, my dear sir-and I know your name, Mr. Bilbo Baggins. And you do know my name, though you don't remember that I belong to it. I am Gandalf, and Gandalf means me! To think I should have lived to be good-morninged by Belladonna Took's son, as if I was selling buttons at the door!" Looking about, I find I share the same hopes as millions of others, so I ask, a single query in a chorus... Will you again be our Gandalf in "The Hobbit" now that the deal is settled?
A: Yes I will, if Peter Jackson and I have anything to do with it, he being the producer and me being, on the whole, a very lucky actor. I've just read your quote out loud - fabulous speech.
Q: Have you been approached yet by Peter Jackson or anyone else about reprising your wonderful role as Gandalf for the two upcoming "Hobbit" movies. I read that principal photography begins in 2009, and I can't imagine those movies without you!
A: Encouragingly, Peter and Fran Walsh have told me they couldn't imagine The Hobbit without their original Gandalf. Their confidence hasn't yet been confirmed by the director Guillermo del Toro but I am keeping my diary free for 2009!
It's interesting he says Del Toro is on board as director of The Hobbit when that rumor continues to get denied.