Sir Ian McKellen was on Larry King’s talkshow recently and Larry, no stranger to long runs doing the same thing, asked Ian if he’d “do another Gandalf” after six films worth of it. McKellen didn’t hesitate with his answer, closing the door on a return to Middle Earth:
“I think we’ve run out of material there,” he said with a laugh. “I think I’ve had it with Gandalf. Though I love going to New Zealand where they film it all, and they were great times. But I had about 15 years of it.”
It’s worth keeping in mind that the Lord of the Rings movies used a lot of cutting edge special effects, which is fun for us but not so much for the actors. I can’t imagine McKellen enjoyed spending weeks on green screen sets battling tennis ball monsters and waiting as endless forced perspective shots were framed to make him look much bigger than the hobbits and dwarves he interacted with.
Fortunately for X-Men fans, he doesn’t seem to feel the same way about playing Magneto. That’s a job that’s only been getting easier as Michael Fassbender picks up more and more work as his younger self, but thus far he hasn’t given any indication he wants to pack it up like Hugh Jackman does with Wolverine. It probably helps that the X-Men movies only seem to get better, while The Hobbit seemed to do nothing but exhaust cast, crew, and audiences alike.