SIR Ian McKellen has revealed that he nearly didn’t reprise his role as Gandalf in The Hobbit.
The former Wigan resident said he almost didn’t commit to the Lord of the Rings prequel because he didn’t think it was enough of a challenge.
He told the Hollywood Reporter: “It was a little like going back to something that wasn’t necessarily going to be particularly challenging.
“Gandalf is still inside me, as it were, so the business of getting to know a new character - I was sort of going to be robbed of that.”
But the star decided to rejoin the film because he didn’t want to let his fans down, saying: “You felt, how many millions of people are waiting for it?
“They wouldn’t understand if you weren’t as keen as they were.”
He added he preferred playing the younger Gandalf the Grey instead of Gandalf the White, as he “was a man who did manage to enjoy himself.”
Meanwhile, the 73-year-old has made a new friend in the unlikely form of X Factor’s Rylan Clark.
The pair met at gay magazine Attitude’s awards, where Sir Ian received the Icon Award from editors.
According to tabloid newspapers the former X Men star told Rylan he was backing him all the way.
And after swapping numbers, the stage and screen veteran told him he would gladly help him through the showbiz world.