Last month, Empire quoted Christopher Lee to the effect that he would be willing to play Saruman again — probably not in The Hobbit, per se, since Saruman never appears in that book, but perhaps in that rumoured second film that would bridge the gap between The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings (2001-2003):
“I’ve read the books time and again,” said the 86-year-old. “Originally Saruman The White and the rest of the wizards, or the Istari as they call them, were immortal. There were five of them, two of them never appear, I know their names but they never appear, and the only three that are mentioned are Saruman The White, Gandalf The Grey and Radagast The Brown who you never see – so basically it’s two wizards.
“They lived for thousands of years and they were sent to the earth and they are virtually immortal. When it all started, Saruman was the noblest, the finest, the bravest, the most dependable and reliable of them all, he was number one. But somewhere, somehow, and it was never actually explained, he turns and it’s probably the Palantír (the wizard’s crystal ball thingy) that makes Saruman realise that if Sauron can do this, why can’t I do it and Saruman wants to become The Lord Of The Rings himself.”
“I’d be interested in seeing how that transition from good to evil occurred and, yes, of course I would return to the role if I was asked.”
Now, however, Lee seems to be singing a somewhat different tune — and for reasons that are quite understandable, given his age:
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