"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?"
13 December 2003
PIPPIN AND GANDALF
Q: Hi Ian, in Fellowship, Gandalf is pretty harsh in his dealings
with Pippin compared to the books. Will he show a softer side towards
Pippin in Return of the King?
A: Pippin and Gandalf are good pals in Return of the King,
sharing many journeys, escapades and battles. Their affection is strong
and there is more time in the third film to develop their relationship
than there was in the first.
Ian McKellen and Billy Boyd on the red carpet
Wellington, 1 December 2003
Photo by Keith Stern
HANDS V STAFF
Q: Will Gandalf use his hands in the fights of The Return of the
King as in the book? Using his staff is becoming in the two previous
movies a bit annoying. Also a rumor about a Gandalf-Saruman fight in The
Return of the King is it true ?Will you visit Greece ?
A: Gandalf fights with staff and sword. There is no fight between the
wizards in the third film much as Peter Jackson "likes to see the old
boys at it!" I don't plan to be in Greece, I'm afraid.
"Gandalf" (Ian McKellen) rides towards Minas Tirith in New Line Cinema's
epic film, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King.
Photo by Pierre Vinet/New Line Productions
MY DINNER WITH CHRISTOPHER
From: Matt Taylor
Q: Would you advise a US college theater student to study abroad in
Britain if the opportunity arises? Second
question. Have you ever considered reuniting with Christopher Lee and
making a film? I don't know if you realize how great it would be if the
two of you made another movie together... I mean if it were just the two
of you sitting across from one another and just talking for 90 minutes I
and millions of other LOTR nerds would flock to theaters and pay good
money to see it.
A: Not knowing you or your acting makes it difficult for me to
advise you, but many American drama students do come to study in the UK.
Some do the full stretch of two or three years at a drama school here,
others just stay for a semester, to taste the British approach to
theatre. I sometimes wonder whether the return home mightn't be a bit
It would be an honour to work again with Christopher. As I
don't know whether he is familiar with this site, I have forwarded our
mails to him privately.
Q: The Two Towers, nearly a three hour movie, ended short. For
instance Frodo and Sam did not even get to the Lair of Shelob, the part
I was most looking forward to seeing. So, my question is, will ROTK
encompass all that was left out of the second movie?
A: It was never going to be possible to include in the films every
episode from the books. Shelob awaits however. As I write (early
November 2003), Return of
the King is not finally composed but it looks as if it will be the
longest of the movies, maybe more than three hours.
[Webmaster's note: final running time for Return of the King
is 3 hrs. 20 mins.]
From: Michael Krug
Q: I like you as Gandalf very much, but I miss Radagast, the third
wizard (Istari) which cropped up in the "lord of the rings" books, very
much. Is there a chance, to see him anywhere in the film (maybe in the
last one), or at least somebody talked about him? After all he is the
one how send in the big eagles which saved Gandalf from Isengard in "The
Fellowship of the ring", expel the Nazgul at the battle at Morannon and
saved Froddo and Sam after the ring was destroyed in "The Return of the
king". And he is a member of the white Council (with Gandalf, Saruman,
Galadriel, Elrond, Cirdan). Sorry for my confuse English. Greetings from
A: I appreciate your disappointment about the characters who have
been omitted but promise you there is MUCH to relish in Return of the
King. No Radagast but in compensation there is plenty of Shelob.
With the rest of the cast, I was in Berlin (6-11 December) for
the European premiere.
From: Erica Challis Tehanu@theonering.net
Q: In my search for LOTR film locations in NZ, I couldn't help
noticing that the most of them were swarming with millions of persistent
irritating sandflies. Which made me wonder, how on earth did the film
crew either repel them or ignore them while filming? Did the actors
stoically ignore the maddening bites while the cameras were on, or did
the makeup foil them somehow? How come we can't see them hovering in all
the facial close-ups?
A: As an unpaid but enthusiastic proselytiser on behalf of all
things kiwi, including the New Zealand tourist industry, I hesitate to
mention the well-kept secret of sandflies, if that's their proper name.
I first met them en masse at the glorious Milford Sound, where visitors
(after the most beautiful drive in the world) are met, at least during
the summer, by crowds of the little buggers. There are patent unctions
which cope, and tobacco repels them too, but I hope you reckoned them an
insignificant pest compared with the glory of their habitat.
Oddly, when filming I don't recall them at all. Honestly. Had
there been, we would have set the Orcs on them.
LEE AND TOLKIEN
From: CRH CroseH621@aol.com
Q: On the Extended Edition of The Fellowship of the Ring someone said
(though I can't seem to rember who) that Christopher Lee was like the
ghost of Tolkien on the set. Did you pearsonally feel that way? What was
he really like? Did he constantly correct people's grammer (about elvish
words ect.)? You rock!!!
A: Christopher Lee met Tolkien briefly in Oxford but is very
much his own man. He is too much of a gentleman to correct anyone's
grammar. Same here, when it comes to spelling!
From: firstname.lastname@example.org EmailOK: ON Name: Jackie NameOK: ON
Q: You should be Prime Minister, or President, of New Zealand. We
would love to have you! Indeed having a darling man of your calibre on
our shores has not only increased our cultural capital, but boosted our
collective egos. Bless you, and may you return to New Zealand many more
times. We adore you.
A: The affection is mutual. How could it not be when New Zealand has
not only put Gandalf on your postage stamps three years running but also
on a commemorative coin? I am legal tender!
Click here to view/purchase LOTR Coins.]
THE LOOK OF GANDALF
Q: Did you not get the character's look, especially the particular
hair and hat idea from some one you that day stated aloud was "the only
cool person" there? It was the Columbus Bakers a few years ago. ITis
located in Manhattan Upper Westside, West 83rd St and Columbus Avenue.
You were sitting in the second room at a table East of the archway. He
was sitting in the west end of the room. You kept looking at him. Did
you pay him for for his visual persona? OR, did you feel entitled to
neither ask his permission nor to pay him? Just how do you feel the most
ethical and fairest transaction would be handled?
A: I honestly don't recall the encounter you describe.
Gandalf's look was a collective discovery in New Zealand, which I
describe in an early chapter of the
Michael, the Wizard of Christchurch NZ
Additional E-Posts about LOTR may be found in
The Lord of the Rings
DVD Release date 26 August 2003