Unlike the lush, beautiful locations that provided many of the backdrops for Lord of the Rings, Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit trilogy tended to rely much on green screens.
One of the actors who was particularly unhappy working thusly was Sir Ian McKellen, who played Gandalf the wizard in all six movies inspired by Tolkien's books.
“I was miserable,” McKellen told Time Out about predominantly acting in front of green screens during the making of The Hobbit. He also brings up his frustration with the VFX work in the trilogy during an interview in his documentary, McKellen: Playing the Part.
When asked to elaborate on why The Hobbit made him miserable, McKellen told Time Out that he preferred the location shooting of LOTR.
“It may be my impression but I don’t remember a green screen on The Lord of the Rings,” McKellen said. “If Gandalf was on top of a mountain, I’d be there on the mountain. The technology was being invented while we were making the film. [In The Lord of the Rings] I wasn’t involved in any of that, I was away acting on a mountain. I tend not to remember the bad times, but I don’t think there were any. I think I enjoyed every single moment of making those films.”
Amazon is currently developing a TV series inspired by Lord of the Rings.