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Ian McKellen keen to reprise Gandalf

Likely to don beard and silly hat for The Hobbit

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Sexagenarian Brit thespo Sir Ian McKellen has expressed hopes that he will reprise his role of Gandalf in Lord of the Rings prequel The Hobbit, saying he'd be "very pleased" to get the hat and beard out of mothballs.

McKellen, 68, told Reuters: "If I am still functioning and working well, it is very likely I would be asked to do it," adding: "I am glad to read that it is looking more and more likely. I would be disappointed if they didn't want to have the original Gandalf."

Any doubt surrounding the casting of Gandalf is because Peter Jackson will not direct The Hobbit due to a legal bust-up with studio New Line. However, McKellen reportedly said: "When Peter announced he had withdrawn from The Hobbit, he sent me an email saying: 'Because I am not going to do it, it doesn't mean you have to do the same.'"

As to when The Hobbit might hit the big screen, no schedule has been announced and Jackson's replacement is unknown. ®

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