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  • Joan Marie Verba
    MCKELLAN PRAISES HOLM Ian McKellen has updated his official Website [www.mckellen.com] with some observations on the filming of the Lord of the Rings in New
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 10, 2000

      Ian McKellen has updated his official Website [www.mckellen.com] with some
      observations on the filming of the Lord of the Rings in New Zealand. As
      always, his lengthy comments are insightful and fun to read. Here are some
      excerpts, in which he talks about actor Ian Holm, who plays the hobbit
      Bilbo Baggins in the film:

      "Bilbo`s scenes were all shot in the studio and I shared three of them.
      Gandalf [McKellen] knocked on the round door of Bag End last
      January--[Director] Peter Jackson answered offscreen for Bilbo `Go away!`
      and then Kiran Shah (shot from the back but in a mask of Ian Holm) let me
      in. Cut to two months later as Ian Holm shuts his front door behind me in
      the interior of the hobbit hole in the studio.

      "Peter Jackson was alert to the need to get both Ians onscreen together,
      rather than using the big or small double too much. By placing Gandalf
      closer to the camera, Bilbo could be shrunk and the two of us could see
      each other`s eyes. Ian`s twinkle and pierce you through--he is so observant
      and yet he looks at you as the character. And this illusion that Bilbo is
      present is achieved each time the camera rolls.

      McKellen had nothing but praise for Holm`s acting abilities. "Ian never
      repeats himself on film--in each take he is different and yet always in
      character. It is a daring approach to film acting, dicing with spontaneity.
      Most of us, pretty clear what is required, will hope to deliver a good take
      full of life and believability and if a retake is required for technical
      reasons (`Nothing to do with the actors--let`s go again!), we will try to
      repeat what felt good about the previous attempt. Ian will have none of
      this so that what you eventually see of Bilbo was never tried before--it
      happened for the first time just as you see it. He calls this exploring the
      character as through a kaleidoscope, giving the final choice from a wide
      range of takes, to the director and editor.

      "For Bilbo`s last scene, Ian wore a latex mask of wrinkles and scrawn
      before sailing away to the distant Havens where Tolkien`s good people
      achieve their rest. It was an odd experience because Galadriel was with us
      but Cate Blanchett was not--more scope for film magic to add the genuine
      Elf Queen who goes voyaging with Bilbo and Gandalf at the end. Odder still
      to realize that this final scene, when completed by the technicians, will
      not be screened for another three years! I have now been shown the first
      Bilbo/Gandalf scene at Bag End roughly cut awaiting some revoicing that
      will remove extraneous noises and the enhanced soundtrack of effects and
      music perhaps. So here is the first critical review of Lord of the Rings.
      `Bilbo lives and if the rest of the cast matches Ian Holm`s performance,
      you are in for the treat of a lifetime.`"

      Joan Marie Verba verba001@...
      Mythopoeic Press Secretary, Mythopoeic Society
      List Administrator for DocEx, Mythsoc, MNSCBWI and
      MNSCREENW lists
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