Ian McKellen Surfaces on Web with 'Hobbit' News and Not-Needed Castmate Sexuality Updates

Even though the Warner Bros. ax has yet to fall around New Line headquarters and the Tolkien family still wants its cash for The Lord of the Rings saga, Sir Ian McKellen took to his blog (We know! We're as stunned as you are) Wednesday to confirm he's "keeping [his] diary open for 2009" to reprise his role as Gandalf in The Hobbit. But that's only the half of McKellen's big gay update, which also includes hot nose-tweaking action and yawning confirmations of his LOTR co-stars' heterosexuality:

I did feel the need to tweak (New Line co-founder Michael Lynne's) nose once, when he seemed to be trying to diddle the cast of LOTR out of their well-earned share of the profits. It was at a party in Berlin after the opening of The Return of the King. I said "That's for all the trouble you've been causing!" I don't know who was more surprised: Michael, that I had taken his nose in my finger and thumb and twisted it gently, or me for having dared do it! At least one of us enjoyed it.

And, in desperately needed response to "rumors" that Viggo Mortensen and his other male castmates were fraternizing during production, only to beard it up in public:

This gossip is all news to me. Elijah [Wood], Dominic [Monaghan] and Orlando [Bloom] introduced me to their girlfriends during shooting. I didn't ever meet Viggo's partner although his son visited a a few times. It would seem that none of my friends can be accused of hypocrisy. Probably the fevered imagination of slashers is to blame.

McKellen's acknowledgment of such whispers is itself a brave step forward in smashing the Hollywood closet — a classy, conscientious refusal to allow even the basest of speculation to go ignored lest the valuable, "not-that-there's-anything-wrong-with-that" opportunity that follows gets away. Those incoming phone calls from Mortensen, Bloom and Co. are surely best wishes for a successful — and long — return to Middle-Earth.