Sorry, Sir Ian - if you accept a role in the film version of a Phillip Pullman or Dan Brown novel, then you get blacklisted by the Tolkien Estate. That is the Law. There is a war coming, whether you will it or no. Choose this day where you will stand. Otherwise you will end up as deeply deadlocked as the House of Popplewell in the Pullman vs Lewis and Pullman vs Tolkien theologomachies.
"McKellen hopes to reprise Gandalf role"
ABC News (Monday 15 October 2007)
... British actor Sir Ian McKellen is wrapping up the American leg of his worldwide tour as King Lear and says he will not mind returning to the Shire to reprise his role as the wizard Gandalf for a film version of The Hobbit if and when that happens.
Making The Hobbit has not been an easy task since Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson got into a legal battle with studio New Line Cinema over royalties - a fight that may be close to being settled after a lot of name calling.
McKellen says he is rooting for Jackson to direct The Hobbit, but he has the Oscar-winning director's blessing to play Gandalf one way or the other.
"When Peter announced he had withdrawn from The Hobbit, he sent me an email saying 'Because I am not going to do it, it doesn't mean you have to do the same. Of course, you must play Gandalf whether I direct or not'," he said...
Of The Hobbit project, he says: "I am glad to read that it is looking more and more likely ... I would be disappointed if they didn't want to have the original Gandalf. I suppose if I am still functioning and working well, it is very likely I would be asked to do it and if I were, I would be very pleased to do it."...