Sir Ian McKellen Reveals Private Journals He Kept While Making Lord Of The Rings


It’s hard to imagine it’s been two whole decades since Peter Jackson’s epic The Lord Of The Rings trilogy was released. Still held up to the highest esteem, the fantasy series is just one of those franchises where one can’t help but wonder what it must’ve been like to have been there on set.

Well, wonder no more. Sir Ian McKellen has recently posted to Twitter about how he kept a journal whilst filming all three pics, which he’s now published as a blog. In the tweet, Gandalf himself says he joined the rest of the cast on January 10th, 2000, ready to start the larger-than-life cinematic adventure. And while making the films, he had a journal going that documented his experience.

This new and revealing diary is bound to excite Lord Of The Rings fans, in which the knighted actor waxes lyrical about his 12-hour flight from Los Angeles to Wellington, the back-and-forth discussions on how the beard should look, the world premiere, finally saying goodbye to Gandalf and more.

“For the second test, the beard was care-freely slashed by Peter Owen, who hadn’t had much confidence in it nor in the whiskers that hid my cheeks. Once he had trimmed it all back, I saw a glimmer of the old wizard’s sternness. I smiled and tried a Gandalf twinkle, the friend of the Hobbits who admires their spirit and sociability.”

In one early entry, he mentions how filming began without him due to him being elsewhere while taking on the role of Magneto for 2000’s X-Men. It’s a little awe-inspiring to be reading the personal thoughts of someone who – at the time – was playing two of the biggest characters in popular cinema and it makes for some fascinating material.

“So the journey has begun without me. On Monday 11th October, Elijah Wood et al gathered in Hobbiton — and I hear they are behaving themselves! I have been in Toronto, masquerading as Magneto, the master of magnetism, on the set of Bryan Singer’s “X-Men.” I have just sent Peter Jackson an e-mail of good luck. I don’t expect an immediate reply — directing a film is totally time-consuming.”

Most of our diaries are probably banal words compared to Sir Ian McKellen’s. In fact, most of us have probably never even finished a complete journal. But when you’re one of the most beloved actors starring in a massive project like The Lord Of The Rings, damn right you’re going to make sure you get as much down as you can.

For anyone who’s interested (and who wouldn’t be?), you can access McKellen’s journals via the tweet above.