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Last Updated: Monday, 15 October 2007, 09:03 GMT 10:03 UK
McKellen keen to be Gandalf again
Sir Ian McKellen
Sir Ian said the Hobbit film was becoming "more and more Likely"
Sir Ian McKellen has said he would be "very pleased" to reprise his role as wizard Gandalf in the planned film of JRR Tolkien's novel The Hobbit.

"If I am still functioning and working well, it is very likely I would be asked to do it," he told Reuters.

Sir Ian played the role in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, landing an Oscar nomination in the process.

Due to a legal dispute with film studio New Line, however, Peter Jackson will not be back as director for The Hobbit.

I would be disappointed if they didn't want to have the original Gandalf
Sir Ian McKellen
"When Peter announced he had withdrawn from The Hobbit, he sent me an email saying: 'Because I am not going to do it, it doesn't mean you have to do the same,'" McKellen is quoted as saying.

"'Of course, you must play Gandalf whether I direct or not.'"

"I am glad to read that it is looking more and more likely," the 68-year-old continued.

Fantasy prequel

"I would be disappointed if they didn't want to have the original Gandalf."

The Hobbit, which Tolkien wrote before the Rings books, tells how Bilbo Baggins finds a supernatural ring - which is passed on to his nephew, Frodo, in Lord of the Rings.

Sir Ian McKellen as Gandalf
The British actor played Gandalf in all three Lord of the Rings films
Jackson has been ruled out of directing the film adaptation due to a dispute about income from the first Rings film, The Fellowship of the Ring.

It is not yet known who will take his place or when filming will commence.

Sir Ian is currently in Los Angeles playing the title role in the Royal Shakespeare Company's production of King Lear.

The veteran actor said playing the part was extremely taxing "spiritually and emotionally and mentally".

Jackson ruled out of Hobbit film
11 Jan 07 |  Entertainment
McKellen 'sad' at Hobbit decision
23 Nov 06 |  Entertainment
Hobbit goes ahead without Jackson
21 Nov 06 |  Entertainment
Rights issue 'delays Hobbit film'
07 Mar 04 |  Entertainment

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