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Of all the mysteries about Guillermo del Toro's two Hobbit movies-- who will play Bilbo, whether Viggo Mortensen will be part of them, even what will happen in the second film-- the one thing we know for sure is that Ian McKellen will be back as Gandalf the Grey. And when Rotten Tomatoes ran into him at the San Sebastian Film Festival, they didn't waste the opportunity to ask him about donning the wizard's robes once again.
The first thing he said might come as a shock: "I don't want to play Gandalf again." But calm down-- what he means is that he doesn't want to play any more Gandalf-like characters, which means that Michael Gambon can hang on to that role as Dumbledore. McKellen continued, "But I played the best wizard, and I'm happy to revisit him, which I shall do in The Hobbit with Guillermo del Toro."
As for returning as Gandalf the Grey rather than The White, McKellen says he's thrilled. "Grey Gandalf is my favorite. Peter Jackson's too, we always preferred Gandalf the Grey. Peter liked him because he got down and dirty. He slept in the hedgerows; he was closer to the earth and not quite so spiritual. He's also funnier -- he's got more variety to him. We thought there was more scope in that Gandalf."
With all the dwarves and songs and the time in the cave with Gollum, The Hobbit may very well turn out to be more fun than the Rings movies, and it sounds like McKellen is ready for it. And now, because I must, here's McKellen's appearance on Extras talking about how he becomes the wizard.