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?"

29 March 2005 


From: Tim Fisher

Q: Who composed the tune for the version of "The Road Goes Ever On and On" that Sir Ian sings... And am I tone deaf, but doesn't bear a curious vague resemblance to the opening bars to the words "All I want is a room somewhere..." from "My Fair Lady"???

A: Is there any such thing as a new tune? This one was composed by Fran Walsh to accompany Tolkien's lyric.


From: Barb Hansen

Q: Now that the Special Edition of The Return of The King has come out, I was wondering if you would share your thoughts on how the character of Gandalf The White came across with the new scenes added. Did Peter Jackson ever give any reasons for the playing down of Gandalf's powers and majesty? I am a little crushed by what happened with Gandalf's character. He would never have groveled, depaired, or have shown fear especially to the characters The WitchKing or The Mouth of Sauron. How do you feel about the direction Gandalf's character took?

A: I haven't yet seen the Special Edition. We often filmed scenes with Gandalf the White out of context and I don't think I kept as close an eye on his progress as I did on the Grey wizard. Much of the second two films was re-written as we filmed and the actors generally had to accept that the screenplay was the responsibility of the writing team.


From: Chloe Roper

Q: First of all i would like to say Lord of the RIngs has changed my life. I am only 17 but before i saw Lord of the Rings i was pretty aimless. Then after watching it and all the extras i knew what i wanted to do with my life. Be a film director. Peter Jackson is my hero and if i am one quarter the director he is when i am older i will be ecstatic! Do you think you would have agrred to be in Lord of the Rings if it was not Peter Jackson who was directing?

A: I was very happy to work with Peter Jackson because I liked and trusted him at first meeting, although I had only seen one of his previous films, the wonderful Heavenly Creatures. The same might well have been true of another director.


From: Torsten Versen

Q: I´m 33 years old and a big LotR and Gandalf fan. I´ve read the book many times. At the age of 3 to 6 I spent a lot of time at a hippie community and they told me that Gandalf is an icon for the hippies. What did you do to that time? Can you identify with this kind of living? Excuse my English. I´m from Germany.

A: I missed out on the innovations and social experiments of the 1960s — the sexual and political revolutions etc. This site will show you how I filled my time whilst others were hippying about! Working with theatre companies (to me the most satisfying way to work as an actor) I have benefitted from the joys of communal work and living, I suppose.


Q: As you told once earlier, you don't like dubbed versions of your films. I heard however that it was you personally who approved the actor (Joachim Hoeppner), who is dubbing Gandalf into German. Is it true? Because he does his job just marvellously, though I still prefer listening to the original English audio track on DVD.

A: I don't know who chooses the dubbing actors — certainly not me. I am very aware how much my reputation depends on these vocal experts who match their voices to my mouth. Thanks to them all!


From: Tom

Q: In 2002 I was diagnosed with Leukaemia and I was only 13 at the time. I was so scared and didn't know what to do until I saw you in LOTR as Gandalf and the one quote from the film that keeps me going is "So do all that see such times but that is not for them to decide. All you have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to you". That made me feel so much better and I started thinking about what I can do rather than what might happen! I'm a great fan of all your work from the early stage productions that I've seen on TV to the present day Gandalf and Zebedee! You are my inspiration and I have started drama at school! Thankyou Sir!

A: Thank you for your cheering news. Of course it is Tolkien rather than I who deserves your thanks but nevertheless . . . enjoy acting Tom.


Q: Is there a chance the LOTR gang will get together for a reunion?

A: Last time we all met up for the Return of the King junkettings in Wellington, Los Angeles, Berlin and London, Dominic Monaghan was keen to arrange a Fellowship reunion. I hope his success on US television hasn't somehow got in the way.


From: Donna

Q: I'm just wondering if you ever managed to snag a LOtr Gandalf New Zealand stamp for yourself?

A: In 2003 I sent all my Christmas cards with the Gandalf and Frodo stamps on them. Since then I've also seen the Isle of Man LOTR stamps and the New Zealand commemorative dollar with Gandalf on one side.


Q: Can you tell me what lines do you speak in Pippin/palantir scene, before you say:look at me! (Gandalf chants something under his breath, while touching Pippin's forehead.) thanks from fanclub in Croatia!

A: I think it was a little incantation hoping for Pippin's speedy recovery — nothing written by Tolkien or even by me. Just a notion rather than a speech.




Additional E-Posts about LOTR may be found in

The Lord of the Rings