Ian McKellen E-Posts

"Mercy!" cried Gandalf: "if the giving of information is to be the cure of your inquisitiveness, I shall spend all the rest of my days in answering you. What do you want to know?"

10 July 2002

From: Jazzziered@aol.com Jessie 

Q: I would love to just say that I was heart-broken over your loss at the Oscars yet again this year.. I thought for sure you would win for not only your stellar performance in LOTR, but also for your history of wonderful past performances in movies such as Gods and Monsters. 

A: Oh please don't you (or the hundreds of others who kindly mailed me) be heart-broken on my behalf. The disappointment lasts no time at all and how could I resent Jim Broadbent (Buckingham to my Richard III) winning instead. He gave two spiffing performances in the same year and he deserved the prize. That is not to say that the rest of us didn't too!

Jim Broadbent (Buckingham) and Ian McKellen (Richard) in Richard III (1995)
Photo by Alex Bailey

From: Claudia 

Q: Even if the Academy didn't give you your Oscar, YOU are the true winner for me! And what did you think of the Cirque Du Soleil presentation? (They come from Quebec, where I live...)

A: Cirque du Soleil wittily addressed the irony of the Academy Awards which is after all a stage show televised in honour of cinema! By mixing film and live action (not unlike the Terminator show at Universal Studios) they dominated the Oscars artistically I thought, from my view in the wings where Maggie Smith and I had retreated after our introduction.

From: dnightmair Donna Mair 

Q: I watched the Screen Actors' Guild Awards and thought the introduction you gave was phenomenal. I was wondering if you wrote it yourself? Also, is there a current list anywhere of how many awards (north american)the film has been nominated for or won?

A: I did write the SAG introduction. Doesn't the official LOTRings site (www.lordoftherings.net) carry awards credits?

From: Jessica 

Q: In the beginning of the film did you have to wear stilts for the scene where Gandalf and Bilbo Baggins have an argument about the ring? When I went to see everyone at the premiere of L.O.T.R you seemed to be a little shorter than in the film!! 

A: Your and many another burning question are answered in early passages of the Grey Book on this site. As for being short, I must have been standing next to Christopher Lee!

From: Lynne 

Q: I recently watched a piece on New Zealand television of the Haka that was performed before Peter Jackson & the other LOTR family members prior to the Oscars. The obvious reverence of all those present made me feel very emotional. It was great to see that you were wearing an 'I Love NZ' t-shirt and also that you had on a greenstone pendant - your own piece of Godzone. Hopefully you will be back 'home' soon.

A: Yes I've been back home — read all about it in The White Book.

Q: A naughty question: don't you feel a bit disappointed for receiving an Oscar nomination for playing Gandalf after so many years spent playing Shakespeare?

A: Not naughty at all — and I don't feel any disappointment about nominations or prizes — they are all gratefully received. And after Shakespeare, Chekov, Ibsen, Stoppard, Shaffer etc, Tolkien doesn't seem like an inferior to me.

From: Loren

Q: I have seen the movie 5 times, and not yet have I been able to understand your last line. More specifically, as you are hanging from the bridge at Khazad-Dum, you say "_____ you fools!" Could you repeat it for me? It's killing me.

A: Oh dear. "Fly, you fools" is the line which I hope on a sixth viewing might be more audible. You could always have checked in the novel...

Q: I had the great pleasure of meeting you at a recent book signing at Book Soup in Hollywood. What were your impressions of the fans there and how much do you enjoy participating in such events? 

A: Book Soup is one of my favourite shops and it was rewarding that so many stood in line for so long - I felt a bit like Father Christmas. The most affecting fans were those who had come as families, confirming Tolkien's appeal across the generations.

Book Soup, West Hollywood, 19 January 2002
Photo by Keith Stern

Q: I heard that everyone in the fellowship got tattoos. Did you also get one and if so where is it? 

A: The Fellowship tattoos (they say "nine" in Elvish) were imprinted one Sunday in Wellington, late in 2000. Mine is on my upper right arm where upsidedown (the only way I ever see it) it seems to spell "Gucci". It was an idea of the hobbit actors who have subsequently persuaded Peter Jackson, Barrie Osbourne and Mark Ordesky to have their own tattoos — these are "Ten" in Elvish.

Q: Sir Ian, I am 15 years old. Honestly, I was won over to a true McKellen fan during your performance as Magneto in X-men, which I now own. Something about a true villain who isn't just evil for no apparent reason just fascinates me. However, I was blown away completely by this new film, and you can believe I will wait around the next two years for the other two. I would really love to hear more about the actors yourselves. Seeing them on screen makes me wonder if Viggo Mortensen and Sean Bean really are friends, and fighters. I wonder also if Ian McKellen and Bilbo Baggins really keep in touch, and share their adventures. PS- Why did Boromir have to die? I loved him! To be quite honest, he added a little for me personally so far as scenery goes.

A: My dear Sarah I'm glad you like actors but you know the most interesting part of most of us is our acting not our private lives. But that's not true of Viggo Mortensen, poet, painter and photographer. He and Sean Bean are the best of mates and two of the most peaceable hunks you could hope to laugh and drink with. I caught up with Ian Holm in New York two months ago where he is preparing to live and work for a bit. Ps - That's death for you — it's hard for the survivors. If the scenery didn't impress, wait for the opening shot in The Two Towers!



Additional E-Posts about LOTR may be found in

The Lord of the Rings