Ian McKellen will return as Gandalf & Andy Serkis returns as Gollum for “The Hobbit”
From the raucous taverns of the Shire to the dreaming spires of Gondor, there will be palpable relief today. Sir Ian McKellen is to reprise his role as the wizard Gandalf in Peter Jackson’s forthcoming two-part Lord of the Rings prequel, “The Hobbit”.
McKellen will join Andy Serkis in New Zealand next month, the latter having also signed up to return as Gollum, according to the Hollywood Reporter. Both characters play major roles in JRR Tolkien’s earlier tome. With only a short time to go until Jackson begins shooting, there was some degree of concern among fans that their involvement had not been announced.
Remarkably, the return of Gandalf will mark McKellen’s first starring live-action turn on the big screen in five years. The actor has mainly involved himself in voice work for film and television since 2006 comic-book movie X-Men: The Last Stand. Serkis, meanwhile, has been busy with supporting roles in Christopher Nolan’s The Prestige and Simon Pegg comedy Burke and Hare, as well as a star turn playing Ian Dury in rock biopic Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll.
McKellen and Serkis are not the only Lord of the Rings alumni set to appear in The Hobbit. Rather to the chagrin of some Tolkien purists there are reports that Elijah Wood (Frodo), Cate Blanchett (Galadriel) and Orlando Bloom (Legolas) have all been approached with offers. None of those characters appeared in Tolkien’s book, which sees Frodo’s older cousin Bilbo travelling with a band of dwarves and Gandalf to liberate a hoard of treasure from the sly old dragon, Smaug.
The Sun reported recently that Bloom had been offered more than $1m to return as Legolas for a two-minute cameo.