ian mckellen the hobbit gandalf Ian McKellen Talks On Returning To Play Gandalf In Peter Jacksons The Hobbit Movies

Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter, Ian McKellen revealed that he almost didn’t sign up for Peter Jackson’s ‘The Hobbit’ films, “It was a little like going back to something that wasn’t necessarily going to be particularly challenging. Gandalf is still inside me, as it were, so the business of getting to know a new character — I was sort of going to be robbed of that.” McKellen explained that he didn’t want to let the fans of the series own, even considering the years-long commitment during which the actor would be working in New Zealand a lot, far from his home in England. A friend asked McKellen how he could explain himself to fans if he quit the project. “You felt, how many millions of people are waiting for it?” he says. “They wouldn’t understand if you weren’t as keen as they were.” The actor also commented on how he’s happy that he doesn’t have to be the very serious Gandalf the White in ‘The Hobbit’ films. “Peter Jackson and I much prefer Gandalf the Grey, who was a man who did manage to enjoy himself.”

If you missed the recently released (and awesome) second theatrical trailer for ‘The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey’ you can check it out here. Peter Jackson’s adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s ‘The Hobbit’ was originally made as a two-part film, however Warner Bros, Jackson, producer Fran Walsh and writer-producer Philippa Boyens announced a few weeks back that ‘The Hobbit’ films will now be a trilogy. The release schedule for the three films are as follows: ‘The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey’ is set for a December 14th, 2012 release date, ‘The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug’ arrives in cinemas December 13th, 2013, and ’The Hobbit: There and Back Again’ concludes the trilogy on July 18th, 2014.

‘The Hobbit’ films are set in Middle-earth 60 years before ‘The Lord of the Rings,’ which Peter Jackson and his film-making team brought to the big screen in the fantastic blockbuster trilogy that culminated with the Oscar-winning ‘The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King.’ Reprising their roles from ‘The Lord of the Rings’ movies are Ian McKellen as Gandalf the Grey, Elijah Wood as Frodo Baggins, Cate Blanchett as Galadriel, Orlando Bloom as Legolas, Ian Holm as the elder Bilbo, Christopher Lee as Saruman, Hugo Weaving as Elrond, and Andy Serkis as Gollum. The ensemble cast includes the likes of Martin Freeman, who’s taking on the central role of Bilbo Baggins, Richard Armitage, Evangeline Lilly, Jed Brophy, Adam Brown, John Callen, Stephen Fry, Ryan Gage, Mark Hadlow, Peter Hambleton, Stephen Hunter, William Kircher, Sylvester McCoy, Bret McKenzie, Graham McTavish, Mike Mizrahi, James Nesbitt, Dean O’Gorman, Lee Pace, Mikael Persbrandt, Conan Stevens, Ken Stott, Jeffrey Thomas, Luke Evans, Benedict Cumberbatch, Billy Connolly, and Aidan Turner. The official synopsis and production notes for ‘The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey’ can be read below.

The adventure follows the journey of title character Bilbo Baggins, who is swept into an epic quest to reclaim the lost Dwarf Kingdom of Erebor from the fearsome dragon Smaug. Approached out of the blue by the wizard Gandalf the Grey, Bilbo finds himself joining a company of thirteen dwarves led by the legendary warrior, Thorin Oakenshield. Their journey will take them into the Wild; through treacherous lands swarming with Goblins and Orcs, deadly Wargs and Giant Spiders, Shapeshifters and Sorcerers.

Although their goal lies to the East and the wastelands of the Lonely Mountain first they must escape the goblin tunnels, where Bilbo meets the creature that will change his life forever…Gollum.

Here, alone with Gollum, on the shores of an underground lake, the unassuming Bilbo Baggins not only discovers depths of guile and courage that surprise even him, he also gains possession of Gollum’s “precious” ring that holds unexpected and useful qualities … A simple, gold ring that is tied to the fate of all Middle-earth in ways Bilbo cannot begin to know.

The first film in the trilogy, “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey,” will be released December 14, 2012, with the second film releasing on December 13, 2013, and the third film slated for summer 2014. All three films will be released in 3D and 2D in select theatres and IMAX.

From Academy Award®-winning filmmaker Peter Jackson comes three films based on The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien. The trilogy of films are set in Middle-earth 60 years before “The Lord of the Rings,” which Jackson and his filmmaking team brought to the big screen in the blockbuster trilogy that culminated with the Oscar®-winning “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King.”

Ian McKellen returns as Gandalf the Grey, the character he played in “The Lord of the Rings” Trilogy, with Martin Freeman in the central role of Bilbo Baggins, and Richard Armitage as Thorin Oakenshield.  Returning cast members from “The Lord of the Rings” Trilogy also include Cate Blanchett, Orlando Bloom, Ian Holm, Christopher Lee, Hugo Weaving, Elijah Wood, and Andy Serkis as “Gollum.”  The international ensemble cast also includes (in alphabetical order) John Bell, Jed Brophy, Adam Brown, John Callen, Billy Connolly, Luke Evans, Stephen Fry, Ryan Gage, Mark Hadlow, Peter Hambleton, Barry Humphries, Stephen Hunter, William Kircher, Evangeline Lilly, Sylvester McCoy, Bret McKenzie, Graham McTavish, Mike Mizrahi, James Nesbitt, Dean O’Gorman, Lee Pace, Mikael Persbrandt, Conan Stevens, Ken Stott, Jeffrey Thomas, and Aidan Turner.

The screenplay for “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” is by Fran Walsh & Philippa Boyens & Peter Jackson & Guillermo del Toro.  Jackson is also producing the film, together with Carolynne Cunningham, Zane Weiner and Fran Walsh. The executive producers are Alan Horn, Toby Emmerich, Ken Kamins and Carolyn Blackwood, with Boyens and Eileen Moran serving as co-producers.

Under Jackson’s direction, all three movies are being shot in digital 3D using the latest camera and stereo technology. Additional filming, as with principal photography, is taking place at Stone Street Studios, Wellington, and on location around New Zealand.

“The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” and its successive installments are productions of New Line Cinema and MGM, with New Line managing production. Warner Bros. Pictures is handling worldwide theatrical distribution, with select international territories as well as all international television licensing, being handled by MGM.