The Press Online
January 16, 2000The Wizard
Gandalf Flies In
WELLINGTON -- Gandalf the Wizard flew into Middle Earth this
week without any fanfare or fireworks.
British actor Sir Ian McKellen, 61, arrived in Wellington
over the weekend to take up one of the plum roles in Peter Jackson's $360 million movie
trilogy The Lord Of The Rings.
Filming on the project, which wrapped up in Queenstown and
Wanaka just before Christmas, was to resume next week in Wellington and Waikato.
Producer Barrie Osborne said Sir Ian was settling in and
preparing by working with make-up artists and wardrobe fitters.
Author Robert Foster, in his book The Complete Guide To
Middle Earth, described Gandalf as "a grey-cloaked, grey-haired bent old man ...
(who) passed easily for a meddlesome old conjurer; (but) at times, he revealed his true
majesty and power".
In the trilogy, Gandalf was the second most powerful wizard,
behind Saruman -- being played by Christopher Lee -- in a group of wizards called the
Sir Ian is a veteran of both stage and screen, having starred
in more than 50 films, including And The Band Played On (1993), Richard III (1995), and
Gods And Monsters (1998) for which he received an Oscar nomination last year.
Knighted in 1990, Sir Ian made his name performing
Shakespeare on the British stage and joins a cast that includes Liv Tyler, Sir Ian Holm,
and Elijah Wood. --NZPA