Sir Ian McKellen On 'The Hobbit An Unexpected Journey': Martin Freeman Is A Very Shallow Actor

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Sir Ian McKellen was in great spirits today in London at a press conference to launch 'The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey', despite it being reported today that the star has been battling cancer for 6 years.

Alongside director Peter Jackson, Martin Freeman (Bilbo Baggins), Richard Armitage (Thorin), various other actors who played dwarves, including James Nesbitt who the Gandalf star may have been guilty of flirting with, he played the joker in the pack of actors as he ribbed Freeman over one of his answers.

Freeman and McKellen, as mainstays of the new movie were asked if they had put any extra work into acting and their facial expressions given the film's format in High Frame Rate 3D providing extra detail.

Freeman answered the question channeling his famously modest onscreen persona, saying: "I didn't do any practicing of the face, it's a big face!,  adding: "but no, we had good make-up people and all that and I just used my facial muscles as they will, just let them be free."

Ever one to smell an opportunity to stir-up a drama, the veteran Gandalf actor interjected: "As you can tell, Martin is rather a shallow actor," sending the room into laughter before continuing to say that he,"spent a lot of time in front of the mirror practicing my gestures."

Warming to his theme he added: "The trick I think is what Michael Caine said, for the film camera you don't arrange your face, you just think and the face magically moves as little or as much as is required."

Not content to only play the joker he continued: "Seriously it is wonderful to be able to do a scene and then at Peter's [Jackson] invitation, go down and put on the 3D glasses and watch what you've just done because then you can see that you've done too much."

 PHOTOS: The New York premiere of 'The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey'

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