Ian McKellen Answers 'Return Of The King' Questions

Ian McKellen has been answering some questions on his official website, including questions about his role as Gandalf in The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King.

Q: I have one, small, somewhat silly question : your hat, as Gandalf the grey, is perfect. However, the shape of it seems to suggest that it might have been quite awkward to wear.....but very fun, anyway. Did you have much difficulty in keeping the hat on your head? (especially in the New Zealand wind.) I hope you come to Sydney, Australia sometime, perhaps to act with Hugo Weaving on stage?

A: On my very first day of filming (cf The Grey Book) there was a high wind in Hobbiton and a variety of ways were improvised to keep the hat in place. Straps, clips, rubber bands and hair-grips were to no avail. Friction between hair and felt were more reliable. I'm sure the blooper reel will show the hat escaping a couple of times.

I should enjoy working with Hugo again on stage or screen. He came to see Dance of Death the day before The Matrix Unloaded opening in London. You can imagine the excitement as he left the stage door.

Q: What i wanted to ask is how big your role in the third movie is?

A: If you are worrying about your English, you should hear my German and Turkish. Gandalf returns to the centre of the fray in the third movie. I shall be back in New Zealand in early June to film a couple more scenes which I'm told will fill out his emotional journey.

Q: Have to say I'm absolutely delighted to see that everyone who had grubby fingernails in 'Fellowship' has similarly begrimed cuticles in the second installment.... (Men who look like they've been at it in a vegetable garden all day must be on the side of right, right?) Tell me, how do those movie magicians simulate fingernail dirt?

A: Making-up the hands was always the last job before getting dressed for the day's filming. A sponge of brown greasepaint was rubbed under and over my finger nails for an instant dirt effect. At the end of the day it was sometimes a bit tricky to remove. Onstage, just as I have been about to enter, I've noticed too late for a manicure, my own dirty finger nails and comforted myself by thinking: "Of course what a brilliant touch that my character (however neat he might otherwise be) neglects his nails." Gandalf the Grey's nails were as grubby as his mud-splattered gown. Gandalf the White, on the other hand, prides himself in being immaculate -- except in battle, of course.

Check out more answered questions by hitting the link above!

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