Sir Ian McKellen: Gandalf the White was 'boring'
The first of three films based on an adaptation of the 1937 novel by J. R. R. Tolkien, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is a prequel to The Lord of the Rings film trilogy. It will star Martin Freeman as Bilbo Baggins, Richard Armitage as Thorin Oakenshield and Benedict Cumberbatch as Smaug. Several actors from The Lord of the Rings will reprise their roles, including Ian McKellen, Andy Serkis, Hugo Weaving, Cate Blanchett, Christopher Lee, Ian Holm, Elijah Wood & Orlando Bloom. Bilbo Baggins (Freeman) is swept into a quest to reclaim the lost Dwarf Kingdom of Erebor from the fearsome dragon Smaug.
Sir Ian McKellen thought Gandalf the White was the most ''boring'' character ever.
The award-winning actor says it was ''wonderful'' to return to playing the more mischievous Gandalf the Grey from the first 'Lord of the Rings' instalment in prequel 'The Hobbit' - who is resurrected as Gandalf the White in 'The Two Towers' - because being a serious wizard was dull.
Speaking at 'The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey' press conference at London's Claridge's hotel, Ian told BANG Showbiz: ''He comes back as the most boring man in the whole world, the most boring wizard that's ever been created. He's a driven man, the beard's been cut, he's dyed his hair white, he seems to have stopped having any sort of fun.
''Of course, he's got to save Middle Earth so at least he's on a mission. So it was wonderful to come back to the Gandalf that people think about. He doesn't even wear a pointy hat, Gandalf the White!''
The 73-year-old star explained that while the atmosphere was as friendly as ever, the fantasy flick's filming location in Wellington Stone Street Studios, New Zealand, was a big improvement on the 'LOTR' films' makeshift sets.
Ian mused: ''We all seemed to be old friends, Peter and his team. In front of the camera, yes, there were new people, but the whole town of the film was exactly how it was before, it was like a very expensive home movie.
''The big improvements were the actual buildings. Most of the interiors in the 'LOTR' were all filmed in an old paint factory and it wasn't soundproofed because it was next to a national airport and you had to do the takes two times because there were planes going over. Every single word of 'LOTR' as far as I was concerned was added later.
''As for lunch, it was much better! Not in a flapping tent that was threatening to blow over in windy Wellington, but in an actual building, and the best food I've ever had on any job. That's a good reason to go to New Zealand!''