Cast & Crew
Sir Ian McKellen
Cast & Crew
August 3, 1999
Reports Over Rings
Wizard Role Rejected
REPORTS that British actor Sir Ian McKellen had won
the role of Gandalf the Wizard in Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings trilogy were
rejected yesterday by producer Tim Sanders.
Negotiations had not been completed for big roles, and the New Zealand-based film-makers
would not comment on who was involved, Sanders said.
New Line Cinema, the trilogy's backer, was reported yesterday as having announced the
Gandalf casting in the United States. Another British actor, Ian Holm, was said to be in
talks to play Bilbo Baggins.
Sir Ian has starred in more than 50 films, including Gods and Monsters, for which he
received an Oscar nomination this year. Holm was nominated for an Academy Award for best
supporting actor for Chariots of Fire.
American actors Elijah Wood and Sean Astin have already been confirmed as hobbits Frodo
Baggins and Samwise Gamgee for Jackson's $360 million series.
Sanders said the casting process had been completed in New Zealand, Australia, Britain and
the United States. It had now moved to "deal-making" and final announcements
would be made in the next few weeks.
About 250 people were already working on production for the series. This would increase to
500 by the time shooting began in October. There was a database of thousands of extras,
some of whom were being trained in sword use for fight scenes.
A schedule had been decided for 15 months of filming, and construction was under way at
some of the many locations in the North and South Islands.