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Despite the encouraging news a few weeks ago that Peter Jackson was finally stepping up to direct the two-part adaptation of The Hobbit, the film's fate is still in serious limbo. Basically the company responsible for making it, MGM, is in financial shambles, and until they can muster up the money to fund the thing, nothing is guaranteed.
And even though one of the few sure things throughout all of this has been that Ian McKellen would return as Gandalf-- he's the first and only confirmed cast member-- even that may not be a guarantee at this point. Talking on New Zealand's Good Morning show (via Bleeding Cool), McKellen emphasized that he's not under contract for the film, and maybe he'd rather get up to something else rather than constantly waiting around for MGM to pull itself together:
Well I’m not under contract and my time is running out and I’m enjoying working in the theatre and frankly, I would like to race after doing Waiting For Godot, get on with doing another play but we’ll have to see. I don’t give the producers the impression that I’m sitting waiting.
You can also watch the interview embedded below. He spends most of it talking about his touring production of Waiting for Godot, but you really can't spend too much time listening to his mellifluous voice, now can you? And given that he might not be putting on the wizard's robes again, this might be all we get from him for a while.
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