Amazon spent ungodly amounts of money for a Lord of the Rings TV series, and they’ve barely sketched it out. The prequel drama likely wouldn’t connect to Peter Jackson’s films, but Sir Ian McKellen says Amazon has another thing coming if they recast Gandalf.
Ian McKellen is one of the most esteemed board-treaders alive, a thespian who has consistently and successfully balanced work on the stage with appearances before the camera. At 77, he’s had the chance to assay some of history’s great Shakespearean roles, portraying everyone from Macbeth to Coriolanus to Richard III. And today brings the news that a new project will allow him to blend his passions for the proscenium and the closed set in a revisiting of a signature role that McKellen last tackled way back in 1971.
Hearts broke across the world for Harry Potter fans when Richard Harris died in 2002. Warner Bros. was only two movies deep into the eight-film franchise and they’d already lost the perfect Dumbledore. The British actor embodied J.K. Rowling’s beloved character in every way, from his patient and wise demeanor to his half-moon spectacles and long white beard. Then Michael Gambon took over as the Hogwarts headmaster and infamously displeased many fans. (For the record, I still loved Gambon’s Dumbledore so there’s a hot take for ya.) But what if the man behind another iconic wizard had taken over for Harris instead?
Everyone knows how Beauty and the Beast starts off — a haughty prince refuses to give shelter to an old lady who turns out to be a fairy, who then curses him and his whole castle, turning him into a monster and his staff into inanimate objects. Well, the inanimate objects are still pretty animate, able to talk and dance and sing at poor Belle, who should be checking her food for hallucinogens rather than singing along, but who cares, this is a Disney movie. For those of you dying to see the rest of the castle’s inhabitants in their more flesh-and-blood forms, they’re human again in a new poster standee for the movie.
Back in May, Disney released the first teaser trailer for their live-action remake of Beauty and the Beast, and although it was a rather lovely homage to the teaser for the classic animated version, it’s the only real preview we’ve had for the upcoming film. While we anxiously await the full official trailer, new concept art has debuted online that offers our first look at Lumiere and Cogsworth, along with a behind-the-scenes image of Gaston’s famous musical sequence.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts may have announced sweeping changes to their membership and governing board that will take effect next year, but that hasn’t changed much about the state of this year’s Oscar race, or the conversation around its lack of diversity. Ian McKellen is the latest actor to weigh in on the controversy surrounding 2016’s nominees and their total and all-consuming whiteness. He had some very powerful things to say.
Thanks to his roles in the X-Men and Lord of the Rings franchises, Ian McKellen has become an iconic part of mainstream pop culture, earning him notoriety with geeky fans he may never have had if he’d stuck to theatre and more serious, prestige roles. And if Tom Cruise had his way, McKellen might not have taken those roles and become the pop culture icon he is today.