×

Ian McKellen Hints at Possible Gandalf Reprise in Amazon’s ‘Lord of the Rings’ Series

Veteran actor also weighs in on harassment in the entertainment business

Ian McKellen has dropped a strong hint that he would like to reprise his role as Gandalf in Amazon’s “Lord of the Rings” series, stepping back into the shoes of the wizard he immortalized in the film adaptations of J.R.R. Tolkien’s fantasy epic.

The star was asked about the prospect of “there being another Gandalf in town” in the mega-bucks TV series. Speaking to Graham Norton on his BBC Radio show, McKellen replied: “What do you mean another Gandalf?” He added: “I haven’t said yes because I haven’t been asked, but are you suggesting someone else is going to play it? Who would be suitable?”

McKellen, who played Gandalf in the “Lord of the Rings” and “The Hobbit” movies, went on to say that at 78 he was still young for the role. “Gandalf is over 7,000 years old, so I’m not too old,” he told Norton.

Amazon has made a multi-season production commitment to “Lord of the Rings,” which looks set to be the most expensive series ever made. The deal also covers potential spinoffs and will be produced by Amazon Studios in cooperation with the Tolkien Estate and Trust, HarperCollins and New Line Cinema.

McKellen also weighed in on the debate around harassment and abuse in the entertainment industry while speaking at Oxford University earlier this month.

The film, TV and theater star related a story from when he started out in the business in the 1960s. A director showed him photographs sent to him by women who had written the letters “D.R.R.” on them, which stood for “Director’s Rights Respected” – a euphemism, the director said.

“In other words, ‘if you give me a job, you can have sex with me,'” McKellen explained. “That was commonplace. So people had taken advantage of that and encouraged it, and it absolutely will not do. I just assume nothing but good can come out of these [recent] revelations, even though some people of course get wrongly accused and there is that side to it as well.”

See the video of McKellen’s address here (comments on Hollywood abuse start at about 40 minutes in).

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • Renee Zellweger Rufus Wainwright Sam Smith

    Renée Zellweger: Judy Garland Was 'My Childhood Hero'

    Awards buzz is building around Renée Zellweger for her performance as Judy Garland, emerging as a frontrunner in the Oscar race for best actress. But for her, the real prize was paying tribute to Garland, of whom she’s been a lifelong fan. “Nobody was prettier, nobody sang prettier…the adventures she had, [she was] my childhood [...]

  • Topic Studios

    Layoffs Hit Topic Studios as TV Division Relocates to West Coast (EXCLUSIVE)

    A small round of layoffs has hit Topic Studios this week in the television division, insiders familiar with the company told Variety. One of the insiders said three executives at the New York-based producer and distributor are out: senior vice president of scripted programming and Viacom alum Lisa Leingang, vice president of development Mona Panchal [...]

  • 'Downton Abbey' Music Gets 'Bigger, Better,

    As 'Downton Abbey' Hits the Silver Screen, the Music, Too, Gets 'Bigger, Better, Grander'

    When “Downton Abbey” fans hear that familiar strings-and-piano theme, a Pavlovian response ensues: Get to the television immediately, because you don’t want to miss a minute of the addictive Crawley family melodrama to follow. This week, with the “Downton Abbey” movie reaching theaters on Friday, fans can’t wait for their fix of Lady Mary and [...]

  • 45 Seconds of Laughter

    Film Review: '45 Seconds of Laughter'

    “Everyone is worth more than their worst act,” said Roman Catholic sister and anti-death penalty advocate Helen Prejean, and it’s with these words that “45 Seconds of Laughter” closes. It’s an apt sentiment on which to leave Tim Robbins’ sincerely felt documentary study of the therapeutic acting workshops run by his own theater company in [...]

  • Julie Andrews

    Julie Andrews Selected for AFI's Life Achievement Award

    The American Film Institute Board of Trustees has selected Julie Andrews as the recipient of the 48th AFI Life Achievement Award. The award will be presented to Andrews on April 25 in Los Angeles. The ceremony will be telecast on TNT. “Julie Andrews is practically perfect in every way,” said Kathleen Kennedy, chair of the [...]

  • 4127_D001_00007_RC Phyllis Logan stars as Mrs.

    'Downton Abbey' to Dominate Box Office Weekend With $30 Million

    The feature film version of “Downton Abbey” is heading for an impressive $30 million opening weekend at 3,079 sites for an easy victory at the North American box office, early estimates showed Friday. The launch of Brad Pitt’s space drama “Ad Astra” will land in second with about $20 million, while Sylvester Stallone’s action-thriller “Rambo: [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content