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?"

4 August 2004 


From: Jen Faber

Q: I am currently a chiropractic student, and I was recently informed that there was a chiropractor on the Lord of the Rings crew. It is my career dream to be a chiropractor for various film crews, and I would love to begin discussing this goal with chiropractors who are already in this field.

A: I worked only with Steve Thomson, a New Zealand physiotherapist/masseur/trainer but not a chiropractor. If you once treat an individual on a film successfully, word will spread through the unit. So perhaps you should begin by offering your services to just one person to begin with.

Ian McKellen and Steve Thomson
Canadian Rockies, 2002


Q: are the lord of the rings cast and other peope (including you!) are going to make a seperate movie with all of you people in it? my friend hillary and i think its a fantastic idea because we are really sad that the lord of the rings is over...thanks so much for replying!

A: It's a wonderful idea that we might have become a regular company of actors, like you often get in the theatre. But the days of studio contracts are over. I'm sorry not to have been called to stride thru the jungles with King Kong. Surely the Fellowship could have been of assistance.


From: Anita

Q: My granddaughter & I would like to thank you for your performance in Lord of the Rings. Funny though, my little Deja (3 years old) can watch Orcs and Trolls, but cannot bear to watch Gandalf bump his head. It's the funniest thing to watch her run from the room when he knocks his noggin in Bilbo's house and then come back to watch the rest!

A: Please assure Deja that Gandalf didn't really hurt his head — just a little bump. Even though no-one kissed it, it soon got better.


From: Carol

Q: One of my favorite scenes from The Return of the King is that of Gondor's retreat from Osgiliath as it is overrun by orcs. As Faramir and his remaining soldiers make a mad dash toward Minas Tirith, they are picked off by the winged Nazgul. Just as I am seriously bruising my husband's arm from gripping it so hard out of fear and tension, we see Gandalf riding out to meet them. What a wonderful sight: that lone figure in glowing white flying across the plain to scatter the foul beasts! Here's my question: why does Gandalf have Pippin with him? Surely it was not necessary to have him along under such dire circumstances. Perhaps some small bit of information was edited from the theatrical version?

A: This is the sort of question I am not up to answering reliably. As the Gandalf you admire was my riding double Basil, I can't help you.


Q: I went through your LotR scrapbook and found this amazing photo (see below). If you have the time, could you please send me the whole of that photo?

A: Maybe webmaster Keith can help. I took the snap of some of the virgin forest on the west coast of the South island on one of my free week-ends during shooting.

[Webmaster's note: This IS the entire photograph — the unusual aspect is because it was shot sideways using a "panoramic" camera setting. Visit the rest of Ian's scrapbook, click here.]


Q: I was just wondering how long the filming of The Lord Of The Rings took? Thanks

A: The initial shoot (see Grey Book) took 18 months, followed by extra weeks filming for each of the 3 films.


Q: I`ve been a professional musician all my life - btw,I was involved in the production of `Romeo" that you did at RSC in 1976. Was there any thought of trying to imagine what sounds the immortal elves could have evolved? In all other respects LOTR breaks new ground. Just think its a shame that such an utterly conventional 20thC-type film score was grafted on to it.

A: Whilst not sharing your reaction to the Shore score, I was surprised there weren't more songs from the books in the films. Had there been, no doubt the music would have matched them and pleased you better. My regards to Stratford.


Q: I'm a teacher of 4-5-6 grade low achieving kids....and because of the movies, these kids were passionate in struggling through reading the Lord of the Rings books. And in so doing, the majority of them became much better readers and more thoughtful students as well. So...thank you thank you thank you for your powerful contributions to their future.

A: I am so pleased your students have responded positively to the films and now the books. Good for them - and you for encouraging them.


From: Jessie

Q: I was wondering about the scene in Return of the King where Gandalf beats up Denethor wit his staff. It looks so real, and I was curious as to how it was done. Was it a stage fight with sound effects added in later? How much did you have to practice?

A: You worked it out - the punches are pulled, which is why so often in film ad stage fights, the blow is masked by a foreground character. The nasty sound is added later. I have been practising fights for 40 years but only pretend ones.


From: Ryan Partner

Q: The bond seen through out all the LOTR movies between the cast is apparent. was this something that happened gradually for you as there is an obvious age gap between you and the actors playing the Hobbits?

A: Peter Jackson's authority and good humour: Elijah's humility and good humour: the producer Barry Osborne's calm and good humour. You get the point. Laughter gets a company through most things. But it seemed that everyone in front of the camera and behind, on set or in the workshops, was devoted to the project, through thick and thin, because the example of determination came from the top.




Additional E-Posts about LOTR may be found in