WELLINGTON, New Zealand — Ian McKellen, who played Gandalf the Wizard in the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy, is hoping to reprise the role in another tale from Middle Earth.
A fan asked McKellen on the actor's official Web site if he would play the role of Gandalf in "The Hobbit," which is being produced by Peter Jackson, director of the "Rings" trilogy.
"Yes, I will, if Peter Jackson and I have anything to do with it, he being the producer and me being, on the whole, a very lucky actor," McKellen, 68, said in a reply dated Wednesday.
Jackson reached a deal with New Line Cinema late last year to make two films of J.R.R. Tolkien's "The Hobbit," a planned prequel to the blockbuster "Rings" trilogy. Jackson will serve as executive producer for the "Hobbit" movies.
Another fan asked: "Have you been approached yet by Peter Jackson or anyone else" to play the ancient Wizard?
McKellen replied: "Encouragingly, Peter and (partner) Fran Walsh have told me they couldn't imagine `The Hobbit' without their original Gandalf."
"Their confidence hasn't yet been confirmed by the director Guillermo del Toro, but I am keeping my diary free for 2009!" he said.
Del Toro's manager, Gary Ungar, told The Associated Press on Friday that del Toro, director of "Pan's Labyrinth" and "Hellboy," is being considered for the "Hobbit" films.
"It's still under discussion, (but) yes," he said.
He declined to give any details, but when asked about an announcement timeline, he said: "I hope it resolves soon. .... Everybody has to agree in everything."
Associated Press Writer Sigal Ratner-Arias in New York City contributed to this report.
New Line is a unit of Time Warner Inc.
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