SIR Ian McKellen wants to be remembered as Gandalf when he dies.
The star, who spent his early youth in Wigan, may have played countless classic characters in his decades of work on stage and screen, but he says the wizard Gandalf in The Hobbit and Lord of The Rings fims is the one for which he’ll most likely be remembered.
He said: “When I die, that’s what it’s going to say, ‘Gandalf dies,’”
He added that he never gets fed up of the role and was delighted to reprise the role for The Hobbit.
He said: “It sounds like a big responsibility. It hasn’t felt like that. The job has been a wonderful one for me in many, many ways, and it’s gone on for so long. Normally you play a part and that’s it. Sometimes, if you’re lucky, you get to repeat it.
“But it doesn’t feel to me like, ‘Oh, dear, I’ve got to go and do Gandalf again’.
“It’s never felt like that. These stories are so wonderful and the productions and the cast are so varied and entertaining that I love going back to New Zealand where we film.
“So it’s not been a chore at all.”
As The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug opened in New York City last week, he made a special appearance at the AMC Lincoln Square cinema for the screening in the early hours of the film’s first day of release.
When the actor took to the stage in front of the big screen before the movie began, the audience jumped to their feet to give him a standing ovation.
The actor told the crowd, “Congratulations on being the first audience in New York to see The Desolation of Smaug. This is where I wanted to be right now. I’ve seen this movie. You’re going to have a wonderful time. The dragon goes on a bit long, but by golly, looks fierce.”
Meanwhile, Sir Ian is busy working on his new move which will be about an elderly Sherlock Holmes, adding that his version will be different from his The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug’s co-star Benedict Cumberbatch.
He said: “Our Holmes is likely to be a bit different from the rest.”
He added that he would also like to be in a Bond film, saying: “I’ve wondered once or twice what it might be like to play a villain.”
Sir Ian is currently in New York while appearing on Broadway in a double bill of Harold Pinter’s No Man’s Land and Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot.