As you may have heard in the past, parts of working on The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey made Ian McKellen unhappy. Really unhappy. He was so upset about being alone in green screen land that he considered quitting acting. He told the story in detail on the Extended Edition release of the film. To make Gandalf appear the correct size in comparison to the dwarves and hobbit, they put McKellen off on his own with a green screen instead of filming with the entire cast. He felt isolated. Grab your tissues. McKellen said:
“I got absolutely miserable and had a little cry to myself. I didn’t realise that the microphone I was wearing was open so everybody could hear me muttering to myself about how I wanted to go home and so on.”
“It was so distressing and off-putting and difficult that I thought ‘I don’t want to make this film if this is what I’m going to have to do’. It’s not what I do for a living. I act with other people, I don’t act on my own.”
Jackson was aware of McKellen’s feelings, and they communicated via email about the situation. In the meantime, the crew decorated McKellen’s personal tent with props from the Rivendell to make him feel more at home and included. Peter Jackson dubbed the day “It’s an Appreciate Gandalf Day.” D’awww. McKellen stated:
“I was made to feel, as so often happens when you’re working with Peter Jackson and his colleagues, that you belong and you’re to feel at ease and at home and happy.”
I, for one, am glad he stuck around. No one else could be Gandalf.