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Ian McKellen

Ian McKellen on if he'd return as Gandalf in new 'Lord of the Rings' movie: 'If I'm alive'

Ian McKellen is getting real about his mortality.

In an interview with , the legendary actor, 85, discussed the possibility that he could play Gandalf again in the new "Lord of the Rings" movie.

When asked if he would be interested in reprising the iconic role in the upcoming film "The Hunt for Gollum," McKellen quipped, "If I'm alive."

The "X-Men" star, who is playing Falstaff on the U.K. stage in "Player Kings," indicated he is thoughtful about which parts he takes these days because any one could be his last.

"If you want to know that you are mortal, you just have to look at your address book," he said. "And so when a script comes through, or the hint of an offer, you think, 'This might be my last job. No. I'm not doing that.' So if Falstaff is my last job, I'd better get it right, hadn't I?"

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Ian McKellen in "The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies."

New 'Lord of the Rings' revealed:Peter Jackson to produce 'The Hunt for Gollum'

While McKellen stressed there is "no script, there is no offer, there is no plan" for the next "Lord of the Rings" movie, he said he has heard Gandalf will figure into "The Hunt for Gollum" 鈭 and conveniently, he hasn't "shaved in months."

Andy Serkis is set to direct "The Hunt for Gollum," officially announced last month. It's set for release in 2026 and will be the first of two new "Lord of the Rings" movies on the way, as well as the first live-action film in the franchise since 2014's "The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies."

Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav said "The Hunt for Gollum" is in the "early stages of script development" and will "explore storylines yet to be told," with director Peter Jackson involved as a producer.

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McKellen starred as Gandalf in the original "Lord of the Rings" trilogy from 2001 to 2003 and reprised the role in the "Hobbit" prequel trilogy, released from 2012 to 2014. In 2018, he told he was "miserable" shooting on green screens during the making of the "Hobbit" films.

"It may be my impression, but I don't remember a green screen on 'The Lord of the Rings,' " he said. "If Gandalf was on top of a mountain, I'd be there on the mountain."

In recent years, McKellen, who celebrated his 85th birthday on May 25, has starred in movies like "The Critic," "Cats" and "The Good Liar," and he has had numerous roles on stage. In 2023, he confirmed to Variety he has .

"Retire to do what?" he said. "I've never been out of work, but I'm aware that any minute now something could happen to me which could prevent me from ever working again. But while the knees hold up and the memory remains intact, why shouldn't I carry on? I really feel I'm quite good at this acting thing now."

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