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Veteran Brit thesp Sir Ian McKellen has confirmed he'll be reprising his role of Gandalf in the forthcoming adaptation of The Hobbit, according to Empire magazine.

He said: "Yes, it's true. It's not a part that you turn down. I loved playing Gandalf. I spoke to Guillermo in the very room that Peter Jackson offered me the part and he confirmed that I would be reprising the role."

The Guillermo in question is Guillermo del Toro, who was recently named as helmsman for two Lord of the Rings prequels slated for release in 2010 and 2011 - the afermentioned Hobbit and an "original story" bridging the 60-year gap between Tolkien's first Middle Earth outing and the Lord of the Rings trilogy. ®

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