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The Grey Beard of Gandalf


From: Xoanon http://theonering.net

Ian Mckellen has updated his 'Grey Books' internet site - in it he talks about how Gandalf will look:

At the first screen test the beard was too long and cumbersome for Gandalf the man of action - he is forever tramping and riding and on the move.

I didn't want a beard which hampered me with a life of its own once the winds blew. Alien visages stared back at me from the mirror - hirsute offbeats like Fagin and Ben Gunn. Even Rasputin for a moment.

Geoffrey Wilkinson as "Ben Gunn" in Treasure Island (1950) J. R. R. Tolkien Photograph by John Wyatt (Courtesy Harper CollinsPublishers) Alan Rickman as "Rasputin" (1995)

For the second test, the beard was care-freely slashed by Peter Owen, who hadn't had much confidence in it nor in the whiskers that hid my cheeks. Once he had trimmed it all back, I saw a glimmer of the old wizard's sternness. I smiled and tried a Gandalf twinkle, the friend of the Hobbits who admires their spirit and sociability.

Peter Jackson suggested a droopier moustache. I suddenly looked like a double for the Beatles' Maharishi. So the eyebrows, over-faithful to Tolkien's description, were plucked thinner and shorter. The old guru was still there but you couldn't put a name to him.

At last Ngila Dickson placed her pointed, blue/grey Wizard's hat on top. Out of the blue, I remembered the silver scarf that he wears in the book. Somehow it had been overlooked or decided against. Until I looked the part I hadn't missed it either. And there's a thing to ponder - what does a man with an umbrella for a hat and a warm cloak need with a scarf?

The book starts in autumn. We are filming in summertime. Weather conditions aside I thought he might have the silver scarf much as he has the pointy hat - to disguise himself. The Gandalf who visits his old friends Bilbo and Frodo has lots of props. Already I have had to cope with his staff, his toffees, his pipe, as well as Clyde - why not a scarf to do some magic with?

Grey Books: http://www.mckellen.com/cinema/lotr/000125.htm

Xoanon


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