Ian McKellen Reveals Private Journals From Lord of the Rings Production

It's been nearly 20 years since Peter Jackson's The Lord of The Rings Trilogy, The Lord of the Rings The Fellowship of the Ring debuted and on Friday, Gandalf actor Ian McKellen took to Twitter to commemorate the anniversary of the day he joined the film's cast back in 2000. In the tweet, McKellen shared that he had kept a journal of his time working on the fan-favorite films and even offered up a link to his journal, giving fans a new, behind-the-scenes glimpse of the making of the beloved franchise as well as the various ways it crossed into aspects of his professional life -- including schedule overlaps with his work on the X-Men franchise and more.

"20 years ago, I arrived in New Zealand to begin filming The Lord of the Rings," McKellen wrote on Twitter. "I joined the cast on January 10, 2000. During that time, I kept a journal which today would be called a blog. Perhaps you'll enjoy reading about those heady times."

McKellen's posts begin on August 20, 1999 with the legendary actor writing about his casting as Gandalf. In the post, he explains that he never had a list of characters that he wanted to play and instead, his most fulfilling acting roles had come to him by chance. He also explained that when taking any role he looked at the whole job, including the others cast and who would direct in addition to other elements and noted that it was the fact that Jackson was at the helm that made him excited about being part of the film -- even if his X-Men commitments might force him into a different role.

"If it weren't the director of Heavenly Creatures in control, with a strong vision of all those precise, quirky, majestic locations, I should not much look forward to a full year away from my home in London," McKellen wrote. "But Peter Jackson's designs, script and his unshowy dedication to the task are irresistible. Had I been unable to play Gandalf (because of an encroaching X-Men schedule), I should have hoped for another less-time consuming part later in the trilogy."

A follow-up entry notes the actual beginning of filming on Fellowship of The Ring with the rest of the cast while he remained in Canada "masquerading as Magneto" for X-Men. He also addressed the fact that there was no way to satisfy how every fan expected.


"It bears repeating that, as with Richard III or James Whale or Magneto, I must discover Gandalf somewhere inside myself - and that process depends on absorbing the words of the script and its story, listening to the reactions of the director and responding to the performances of the rest of the cast. So now, still 3 months away from shooting (for me), my Gandalf doesn't exist, not even in my mind. He will only come to life as the camera turns and discoveries are made in the very moment. Even when I am in the thick of it, in costume and make-up and speaking Tolkien's words, I'm not sure I will be able to describe the character to you. Actors don't describe - they inhabit.

What do you think about McKellen's Lord of the Rings journal? Let us know in the comments below.