Blog| 29 March 2011 | Wizard's Re-emergence

Beards and moustaches catch food; they smell, tickle and repel: but they are better than shaving every day, anyday.  When I'm not working I avoid shaving — but now a job approaches.  Younger fans of LOTR ask if I grew my hair long specially. No, I didn't; nor did anyone else in the trilogy, all of us in wigs and/or facial hair.

This week, my vacation beard, my holiday hair, grown in India and tended in New Zealand, had to go. Rick Findlater would like as much skin round my face to gum his various hirsute attachments. So I ask if he can find a local barber who can be trusted with a cut-throat razor and start off my shaving/working period with a close one.

That's how I met Tony at his downtown salon buzzing with an assortment of Wellingtonians; confident schoolboys, shy matrons, city gents, fake blondes and a few whiskery geezers like me. Tony didn't use a cut-throat but his throw-away blades were aided by hot towels and soothing lotions. Not a nick. Just the tick.

The next day, up the stairs of the make-up trailer, where Rick only took an hour to pop on the wig, the beard the moustache.  I and others thought them too short, until photographs of the Fellowship of the Ring proved us wrong. Gandalf's hair had grown only in our memories. The false nose too looked not quite as we'd remembered. That's because  it wasn't. I had requested a smaller nose than last time. The WETA sculptors were making new noses anyway, silicone replacing the old sticky gelatine which tended to slide around if the wizard sneezed or shouted.

It's like old times. Gandy's clothes are hanging round my trailer and in steps Emma Harre, who dressed me last time, valiant, sporting, reliable and ready to put up once more with my early morning grumps and end-of-day sloth. We giggle as we remember the tricks of the layered costume, the hidden belts and braces. It's all new, and looking it, and will till broken down. But it fits, even the new hat.  I stride over to the Studio smiling. Nothing is unexpected. But next the 3D camera will eye-up the make-up, the costume and, I suppose, the actor.  

I'll let you know.


Ian McKellen's Hobbit Blog

Photos: The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (2013)

Photos: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2012)

The Hobbit

The Lord of the Rings

More Blogs by Ian McKellen

Ian McKellen's Home Page

Acting Shakespeare Ian McKellen DVD