There were those who greeted the news of Ian McKellen’s late-stage signing on to The Hobbit as a holdout calculated to wring a larger payday out of a bunch of naïve movie folks, folks from a Hollywood where values are… different, who just wanted to tell a story about a squat man and his magical ring, and a slick small-towner like Ian McKellen was trying to take ’em for all they were worth. Not so! McKellen explained via his personal blog, which he has, that the delay was simply a matter of timing and his own advancing years, saying, “All I had to decide was what to do with the time that is given me.” As such, his main concern was being able to do other things during the 18 months that “Gandalf is needed on set,” while also “wondering was Gandalf what I most wanted to do, more than a new play for instance or indeed a new part? Sequels aren’t necessarily as rewarding to act in as their originals.”

Clearly bored of money, at one point McKellen even asked himself, “Could I let Gandalf go? Would anyone else care if I did? Elsewhere, does anyone care that Michael Gambon was not the first to play Dumbledore?” (We’re pretty sure that someone does—but the dude died, so what are they gonna do?) Anyway, after being assured that he could “easily escape from Middle Earth,” McKellen committed—although he adds, “I’m 71 and fit: though at my age who knows what accident is 'round the next corner?” Well, best to retreat to the comforting stability of The Hobbit production then. [via Deadline]

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