This Too Shall Pass: Ian McKellen Driven to Tears of Frustration on 'Hobbit' Set

Ian McKellen as Gandalf in 'The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey'/Photo courtesy of Warner Bros
Ian McKellen as Gandalf in 'The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey'/Photo courtesy of Warner Bros

You'd think after an entire trilogy's worth of Middle Earth filmmaking, Sir Ian McKellen would be invulnerable to the pitfalls of filming special effects sequences. However, the actor became emotionally overwhelmed on the set of "The Hobbit," tasked with delivering his lines to photos of the other actors, in front of a green screen (the actors filmed the scene separately so that they could be made to appear smaller). That's an incredible strain for a serious actor, but McKellen's not bitter -- he comments that the crew did their best to make it up to him afterward by decorating his tent with "Remnants of Rivendell, carpets and cushions, fresh fruit and flowers, things that were hanging. It was lovely." Sounds like it was the best of times, it was the worst of times.

Tina Fey is on familiar ground in her new film "Admissions" (you can watch the new trailer below). Balancing workplace and family ambitions is a struggle that she's tackled while working on TV as Liz Lemon on "30 Rock," and as an author in Bossypants. I'll see any film in which Paul Rudd is the (potentially) romantic lead, but does anyone else want to see Fey stretch a little farther out of her acting comfort zone?

Screenwriter Jane Goldman has been summoned to work on a draft of Tim Burton's "Pinocchio," which will star Robert Downey Jr., but frankly I'm more excited at the idea of Guillermo del Toro's stop-motion animated version, which hopefully will eke out a narrow victory in the race to theaters. As of several months ago, del Toro claimed to have a solid screenplay, which is way more than Burton's got.

If you're easily distracted, then Miranda July ("Me and You and Everyone We Know") has outlined a foolproof solution to get you back on the path to focus and productivity. Just follow the simple steps in this short film, and you'll be free in no time. Although, you're going to end up spending a lot more money on cranberry juice.

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