His online depository includes ''Lord of the Rings'' gossip

By Glenn Gaslin
Updated August 02, 2001 at 04:00 AM EDT
Ian McKellen, The Lord of the Rings, ...
Credit: Ian McKellen: Pierre Vinet

As the bad guy Magneto in last year’s ”X-Men” and the wizard Gandalf in this December’s ”The Fellowship of the Ring,” Sir Ian McKellen has gone from stately Shakespearean stage actor to geek-flick favorite. He’s got his own website to prove it, too, including a teeming potion of prose from McKellen’s own pen. Among the prolific posts are his previously published essays about the Bard as well as fresh personal noodlings and inside-the-cloak ”Lord of the Rings”-trilogy dish. ”There’s more stuff on my site than I can get into [an autobiography],” McKellen, 62, tells EW.

The site’s true magic wand, of course, is the candid, wordy diary of the 15-month ”Rings” shoot in New Zealand, offering insight, ambiance, and, occasionally, news (Sir Ian was the first to post word in April about a new prologue being shot and dialogue being redubbed). He still posts answers to e-mail queries about his gray-bearded alter ego, but he’s shed the cloak of Gandalf and is now heading to the New York stage for the dark comedy ”Dance of Death,” which opens in October. ”It’ll be interesting to see if any of these millions of people who drop in to see Gandalf,” says McKellen, ”will transfer that to dropping 50 bucks on Broadway.”