The sets of The Lord of the Rings fantasy movies are some of the most incredible committed to camera. Sir Ian McKellen, who played Gandalf in the adventure movies, loved them so much he decided to take a few souvenirs, including something director Peter Jackson was worried about.
In a Reddit AMA from 2015, McKellen was asked about his favourite memories from working on The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit franchise. He names his favourite set which he didn’t film on, as well as the custom props he couldn’t resist keeping. “The scenery that was built in the studio was sensational,” he says. “And I think my favorite set, that I didn’t act in, was the golden [lair], where the dragon was hiding. Hundreds of thousands of golden coins, specially made.”
From there, he goes on to talk about grabbing some of those coins, and something he perhaps shouldn’t have. “If you don’t tell anyone, I can tell you that I have some of those coins,” he revealed. “Along with the [front] door key to Bag End, which I know Peter Jackson is looking for, but will never find.”
McKellen’s Gandalf is one of the major connections between The Lord of the Rings trilogy and The Hobbit films, serving as friend to both Bilbo and Frodo Baggins. His performance as the Lord of the Rings character is roundly beloved, despite some of the middling feelings around The Hobbit trilogy (to put it lightly).
With the extraordinary sets and design work through-out the franchise, you can see why anyone involved would be tempted to grab themselves a keepsake. The sentimental value is massive, and you know they’re unique items.
McKellen’s souvenirs are so good, even the director sounds like he’d be jealous – if he knew where it was. We wonder what the actors of The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power on Prime Video might take.