Image: Today - Season 62
Peter Kramer / NBC

TODAY   |  December 02, 2013

Ian McKellen talks about ‘Hobbit,’ Broadway

The veteran actor talks about how he manages a busy schedule that includes the new “Hobbit” film, the upcoming X-Men sequel, “X-Men: Days of Future Past,” and performing on Broadway.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> it.

>> ian mckellen . welcome back. good to see you. can i start with an apology. you came here with that gorgeous beard this morning and the guys thought you were part of no shave november and they took it off.

>> it's all of a good cause.

>> how are you been?

>> busy.

>> you've been incredibly busy.

>> you look very handsome in that.

>> you were there as they started to trim me.

>> the number one razor which is what i use.

>> what you use.

>> i want to talk about broadway in a second. but let me talk about this new movie. peter jackson edits right up to the last minute. so you still haven't seen it.

>> i don't think anybody has seen it. it has the official premiere in l.a. tonight, i bet the version that we will all see on december 13th will be a little bit different. heel still be tweaking the color.

>> he just keeps going?

>> yes, he's obsessed and the minute he is done it will be on to the final one.

>> because you shot all the element of the three movies at the same time you don't know where one ends and the next begins.

>> i have no idea. i don't understand the plot anyway. i just understand what i'm told.

>> just deliver the line.

>> there's a lot of action in this movie and gandofl is involved in that. it's lovely being there. you always love the people; such a stunning place. you're in new york. you're on broadway and you're starring in not one but two different, very distinctly different plays. explain how logistically it works.

>> well, we did a play in london and we finally brought it to broadway but we wanted another play as well so we're doing no man's land. on wednesday we do both plays and the audience comes and sees both plays. so we never get bored. the same play can get tedious but not with two plays.

>> amazing for the audience. some of them do sit through. they get to see you in remarkably different roles.

>> and tall in one play and short in another. it's amazing what actors can you.

>> you were here for thanksgiving.

>> i even have a beard but a false one.

>> you were here for thanksgiving. you had to work the next day?

>> and on thursday i went to pat stewart and his new wife. it was family all the time.

>> i have been getting a kick following the picture that patrick has been tweeted.

>> we have known each other for about 30 years. so it's quite genuine. because the two other guys and we were all out together last night hearing them sing. they're probably here somewhere.

>> it's nice that we have actors that work together and get along so well and i'm just going to put one picture up because recently you did a charity event. you ended up with your skivies. can we put the picture up -- there, okay, no, that's not you. put the real picture up. what is going on there?

>> well, it was a charity for only make believe that sends live performers out into hospitals in the new york area and i was being the master sermon and i came out as if i just had run the marathon and changed into my good clothes. there was a very brief moment when somebody took that photograph.

>> gandolf there.

>> all for a good cause. always nice to have you.

>> love to see you matt.

>> this movie the hobbit, desolation of smaug opens next friday, that's december 13th . check it