McKellen Hopes for Role in `Hobbit'

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) -- Ian McKellen, who played Gandalf the Wizard in the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy, is hoping to reprise the role in another tale from Middle Earth.

A fan asked McKellen on the actor's official Web site if he would play the role of Gandalf in "The Hobbit," which is being produced by Peter Jackson, director of the "Rings" trilogy.

"Yes, I will, if Peter Jackson and I have anything to do with it, he being the producer and me being, on the whole, a very lucky actor," McKellen, 68, said in a reply dated Wednesday.

Jackson reached a deal with New Line Cinema late last year to make two films of J.R.R. Tolkien's "The Hobbit," a planned prequel to the blockbuster "Rings" trilogy. Jackson will serve as executive producer for the "The Hobbit" movies.

Another fan asked: "Have you been approached yet by Peter Jackson or anyone else" to play the ancient Wizard?"

McKellen replied: "Encouragingly, Peter and (partner) Fran Walsh have told me they couldn't imagine `The Hobbit' without their original Gandalf."


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