Sir Ian, Sir Ian, YOU SHALL NOT PASS, Sir Ian, Sir Ian
January 11, 2020 11:54 AM   Subscribe

Ian McKellen kept an on-set diary while filming the Lord of the Rings films. [Internet Archive version if site is down]
posted by Chrysostom (10 comments total) 29 users marked this as a favorite
posted by Splunge at 12:51 PM on January 11, 2020 [1 favorite]

Was Sir Ian writing geocities-esque HTML himself or relaying messages to a webmaster who transferred it in?!
posted by rivenwanderer at 12:53 PM on January 11, 2020

McKellan's whole website is fabulous and has been for 25+ years now. For the longest time he wrote and edited it himself and kept it very personal. It was particularly meaningful to me back when he was one of the very few out gay celebrities. I'm not sure if he wrote the HTML himself or got a little help. (I like to imagine he had help from a handsome young man repaying McKellan's affections with coding. Someone maybe a little like myself.) There's lots of good reminiscences and stories on the site, mostly focused on his acting roles but occasionally on politics or other life topics.
posted by Nelson at 12:56 PM on January 11, 2020 [8 favorites]

This was delightful to read. His voice comes through so clearly and wonderfully. He's a regular on Graham Norton and he's always delightful in person. He's one of the few I'd like to have a long brunch with sometime, full of conversation and delight. Thanks for posting!
posted by hippybear at 1:35 PM on January 11, 2020 [1 favorite]

Currently reading now and it's so delightful. I concur with hippybear on how well his voice comes through as I can hear his distinct speech in my head while reading this. While I'm well aware that movies are (with very few exceptions) filmed out of order, it's fascinating to me that they'd already filmed the moments of the hobbits grieving Gandalf's fall with the Balrog before McKellen had shot anything. So they grieve a character that they hadn't even met yet!
posted by acidnova at 1:47 PM on January 11, 2020 [2 favorites]

I particularly enjoyed this passage:

More my style is the chestnut Rastus who plays Bill the pony and is adorable. The compliant, ever-licking Rastus is 11 years old, an American quarter horse crossed with Shetland. Led by Samwise (Sean Astin) he reliably carried the Fellowship's baggage and endured the uncomfortable snowstorm of polystyrene and rice flakes when Saruman's agents attacked the nine of us in the Wellington studio en route for Moria. He was less fazed by the tempest than the rest of the cast, even though he didn't have blinkers on. He didn't complain of dust in the eyes or polysterene balls in every bodily crevice. Between takes, as I called for bottled water and a make-up check, Rastus calmly helped himself to the layer of salt which added glitter to the surface of the snow. I wish he had made it into the mines of Moria. He would not have been daunted by all those steps and passageways nor by the rowdy goblins. Indeed I would have trusted him with the ring itself.
posted by Brocktoon at 4:14 PM on January 11, 2020 [18 favorites]

It's been well over twenty years since I've visited that site. I first discovered it in the late 90's after having seen his Richard III and falling absolutely in love with it. At the time, he was selling autographed copies of the screenplay (which was also annotated with his notes) directly from his website and I ordered one. I still have it and don't think I'll ever give it up.
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI at 7:24 PM on January 11, 2020 [1 favorite]

I haven't read Tolkien, and I don't obsess over the movies, although I do like them. But I enjoy this sort of behind-the-scenes look, and it's really drawing me in.

When he [Christopher Lee] speaks, all I see and hear is Saruman, my old associate gone wrong. Except once when he rounded off a speech, at Peter Jackson's suggestion, with a snarl. To be within four feet of a Lee snarl is unsettling. I was glad he wasn't wearing his fangs.
posted by bryon at 10:11 PM on January 11, 2020 [2 favorites]

Where's the on-set diary for Cats?
posted by grouse at 7:49 AM on January 12, 2020 [4 favorites]

For those who read through The Grey Book and thought it ended there, here is The White Book (internet archive link)
posted by acidnova at 4:41 PM on January 12, 2020 [1 favorite]

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