As interest in Lord of the Rings comes sweeping back again thanks to Amazon’s upcoming television series, Ian McKellen has given fans something to hold them over. While filming the Lord of the Rings trilogy, he kept an online journal about his experiences. He writes throughout the process, everything from traveling to New Zealand, pre-production, filming, and even attending the premieres. McKellen stated about his writings:
While filming The Lord of the Rings, I began recording my impressions in The Grey Book — named for Gandalf the Grey . . . This was one of the earliest blogs, launched before the term came into widespread use. . . . After 2001, I began an additional volume of entries called The White Book.”
Some of the entry titles written during Lord of the Rings are Casting, Hobbiton; Beard Adjustments, Rivendell and Hugo Weaving, and It’s a Wrap! In his entry from August 20, 1999, titled Casting, McKellen wrote:
I am aware of the high expectations of Tolkien’s fans – like myself. But, never having imagined that I would ever play any sort of wizard, I am ill-prepared. I just worked with a witch, however, a white one, whose spells are formidable. Her energy is impressive. I shall have to come to understand the nature of Gandalf’s energy – what keeps him going. What keeps any of us going?”
In his entry on January 25th, 2000 titled Hobbiton; Beard Adjustments, McKellen wrote:
At the first screen test the beard was too long and cumbersome for Gandalf the man of action – he is forever tramping and riding and on the move. I didn’t want a beard which hampered me with a life of its own once the winds blew. Alien visages stared back at me from the mirror – hirsute offbeats like Shylock, Fagin, and Ben Gunn. Even Rasputin for a moment.“
McKellen is a fine writer and these little insights into life filming Lord of the Rings are wonderful. This isn’t the only blog he has written. He also keeps writings for X-Men, The Da Vinci Code, The Hobbit, and one titled Magneto’s Lair. He has been blogging since 1999.
Ashley is the author of the Thread of Souls book series, an avid traveler, and a Dungeons and Dragons enthusiast!