Over the past few months we’ve been following the progress of The Hobbit script rather intensely. We got updates from Peter Jackson and Guillermo del Toro during the writing process, then Ian McKellen said he would receive his copy of the first draft in September, and now two months on McKellen has read the script.
Sci-Fi Wire caught up with him recently and he shared his thoughts:
“As Peter has said, they loved writing Gandalf [for The Hobbit] because they knew who they were writing him for,” McKellen told us exclusively in an interview last week while promoting AMC’s The Prisoner. “There are a lot of characters in The Hobbit, including, crucially, Bilbo, and they don’t know who’s going to play Bilbo. So it’s extremely attractive that this part has been written for me. The other Gandalf was written for, well, just as Gandalf. There’s lots for me to enjoy, in all sorts of ways. And I couldn’t be happier. But I’m sworn to secrecy. I’m not to say anything at all about the script.”
As for del Toro’s input into the new script, McKellen said that he and Jackson speak the same language. “They are the same person,” he said. “They were separated at birth. They’re twins. They have the same attitude. Neither likes working in Hollywood. They’re both fascinated by fantasy and violence on the screen, and gore, and things that frighten you. They like going into the psyche. They’re both brilliant storytellers in very much the same way. And I think the script, because I have read it, plays very much to Guillermo’s strengths, as I’ve seen them. I have seen his other movies, and people act very well in them. So I think it’s all fine. And Peter will always be there.”
McKellen will be heading to New Zealand in March and will be there throughout 2010. He also knows who will be playing Bilbo Baggins, however he can’t reveal who, although he’s sure that the fans will be “very, very pleased”.