Weitz Comments on Ian McKellen Casting
Posted on by Merlyn

Director Chris Weitz has commented on the casting of Ian McKellen as the voice of Iorek Byrnison – replacing the previous actor, Nonso Anozie. Speaking to Empire magazine, Weitz says, “It was a studio decision…You can understand why you would cast Ian McKellen for anything. But letting go of Nonso was one of the most painful experiences on this movie for me. I need to say about Nonso that he is one of the most promising and soulful young actors I have encountered in England and I’ve worked here for quite a bit now and he’s actually in the next Mike Leigh [film]…But it was, uh, that was kind of a dark day for me. I kinda wanna go out of my way to point out how much I love Nonso’s work. And that’s that”. Read more.

The magazine also reports: “Kristen Scott Thomas has joined the cast of The Golden Compass. The British actress will voice Stelmaria, the daemon of Lord Asriel (Daniel Craig). We have also had it confirmed by director Chris Weitz that Kathy Bates will voice Hester, the daemon of Lee Scoresby (Sam Elliott).”

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16 Responses to Weitz Comments on Ian McKellen Casting

  1. Skye says:

    I suppose I’ll grow to like McKellen, but still… Poor Nonso!

    Also, does anyone think moving the last three chapters of TGC to the beginning of TSK is EXACTLY like what New Line did for Two Towers/Return of the King? (In the books, Frodo is bitten by Shelob at the end of TT, and readers are led to believe he is dead, until they read RotK.) They’re just doing what worked before.
    I still need to process all this information before I give my opinion. Fast news day, eh?

  2. jammer says:

    where exactly did it say they were moving the last three chapters to the next film?

  3. Jamie says:

    Guys, I’ve said before but one of my friends is friends with Nonso and I feel kind of sick to the stomach about the news that he has been given the heave-ho, for what basically boils down to marketing reasons. He invested a lot of time and effort into the part and I want New Line to be punished somehow for being so ruthless. I know this happens, but it shouldn’t happen and they should have some morality!! Apart from being artistically wrong, I think it’s ethically wrong. I want to show our support for Nonso somehow! I have text my friend asking for contact details for Nonso so maybe we can all club together and show our support to him. I also think we should campaign to New Line that they put Nonso’s voice back in for the dvds!!

  4. virgile says:

    you will find the comment on the last three chapters moved to the Subtle Knife move at the following link


    one is left to wonder whether New Line is getting cold feet with regards to the movie’s potential success and will resort to any gimmicks to broaden the mass appeal of a product that could spell live or death for the studio. In the process, they will likely impose their views to Chris Weitz on the basis that they perceive the matter as one of survival. Unfortunate, but there is no helping it I am afraid.

  5. BenMech says:

    NL’s strange judgement has as much to do with the protracted trials and lawsuits about The Hobbit with Peter Jackson as it does the insane budget TGC has.

  6. Gabez says:

    As much as I like McKellen, I did much prefer Nonso’s voice. What I heard of it in the teaser just sounded perfect. Really stupid marketing decision. Glad to hear that Weitz was upset by it as well. Sounds like he’s getting pushed around by the studio. :~

  7. Homer says:

    I interrupt the regular program for a shameless plug…
    For those who want more info on exactly how the ending plays out now, do a search for my name in the comments here (quite far down):

    Do note that my post was done more than a day before Chris Weitz confirmed the changes.

    Also, sorry if I misled anyone with yesterdays comment about Kristen Scott Thomas voicing Serafina’s daemon. I meant, of course, Stelmaria. Hey, I did say my memory was a bit fuzzy… 😛

  8. jammer says:

    I will look at this silver lining. The fact that they are pushing stuff to the next film is more evidence that they plan on making it. And if they don’t make good enough profits, we will be sure to see the film as it was intended on DVD. I wouldn’t worry either way. The only unsettling thing still revolves around Ian McKellen, though.

  9. Par says:

    Gandalf the White…becomes a white bear. LOL. Nonso’s voice was better. Wow, the execs must be way scared to cast both McKellen & Lee & whoever they can get their hands on who has a recognizable name. I can’t say I blame them given the budget.

  10. holl says:

    does anyone else quiz mckellan’s decision to do it? A young up and coming actor basicallyu pushed out of the way my an old hand who, lets face it, doesnt really need the publicity or the money. Shame on Mckellen I say!

  11. klas persson says:

    Bah, McKellen sounds much better than the previous one did.

  12. Kinders says:

    I’m with the majority who think that involving McKellen was a nasty gimmick and the result will just be distracting. How many more people will see it because of McKellen’s involvement?

    I like the music in the trailer a lot more than previous versions.

  13. John [2] says:

    I JUST DONT LIKE IAN MCKELLEN AS IOREK!! it just DOESNT WORK !!!!!!!! for authoritys sake! cant the production ppl get it in their heads? iorek was fantastic by the other one .
    its soo… yes, unsettling is the word – to hear magneto/gandalf coming out of a bear that shud be a deep grough indifferent tone, as opposed to an ancient fumbling bumbling old man . MCKELLEN AS LORD BOREAL SAYS I
    NOT NOT NOT iorek .

    why dont they listen to waht we want? bumheads . x

  14. Steph says:

    He’s good for Iorek, I guess. But nowhere near as good as Nonso. I don’t think anyone is. Stupid studio…

  15. Annabel says:

    … but i always imagined ian mckellan as lord boreal!!

  16. Kris V says:

    I definately aggree with you there Annabel, although in the book he was one of Coulters lovers…so that would seem a bit weird!