McKellen Eager to Play Gandalf in The Hobbit
Film 'likely' to happen, with or without Peter Jackson directing
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 15, 2007 9:05 PM CDT
British actor Sir Ian McKellen poses for a photograph at a Singapore theater Wednesday, July 18, 2007, while traveling with the Royal Shakespeare Company to perform William Shakespeare's "King Lear" and...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Ian McKellen wants to play Gandalf again if The Hobbit film ever gets greenlit, the Los Angeles Times reports. A bitter royalties battle with New Line Cinema may stop director Peter Jackson from directing the flick, but no matter: He told McKellen to "play Gandalf whether I direct or not." The film is is "looking more and more likely" to happen, McKellen says, with or without Jackson.

The Rings series made McKellen a bankable star and earned him an Oscar nod for the first film, The Fellowship of the Ring. "I became more of an actor because I could play before the cameras," McKellen says. "It made for a big change in my life." He's now touring as King Lear, getting critical raves as secondhand ticket prices top $1,700 in Los Angeles.