Sir Ian McKellen has joked about having sexual fantasies involving the dwarves on the set of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.

Popular on LondonNet

The 73-year-old actor says he found himself lost in erotic dreams about the band of 13 mischievous warriors – who accompany his character Gandalf The Grey on an epic adventure – while shooting Sir Peter Jackson’s prequel to The Lord Of The Rings.

Asked whether any of the stars copied Viggo Mortensen’s method acting on the LOTR set by sleeping in the stables with their steeds, James Nesbitt – who plays outspoken dwarf Bofur – joked: “I kept asking my horse but it kept saying no!”

Speaking at The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey press conference at Claridge’s hotel, McKellen interrupted: “They were too busy sleeping with each other!”, to which James replied: “In your dreams McKellen!”

McKellen laughed: “You did say to follow my dreams! I adore all of the dwarves, they know that. There is a special dwarf and he knows who he is…”

Despite the quips, the X-Men actor revealed he was unhappy filming scenes with the dwarves.

He explained: “The trouble with the dwarves is they have to look smaller than me on the screen and there are no real devices to accomplish that.

“Something which is really congenial to acting is looking another actor in the eye and working with him, and sometimes, cruelly, you are not in the same space while you’re filming the same scene.”

The award-winning star bashfully admitted he had “shamed” himself by complaining about the process, but director Jackson later made it up to him.

McKellen said: “The first day I rather shamed myself by grumbling to myself that this sort of filming wasn’t why I had become an actor. I forgot that I was wearing a microphone and Peter heard.

“But I was rewarded the next day because my little tent had been decorated.

“There were remnants of [Elvish city] Rivendale, there was fresh fruit and flowers, and carpets and cushion and dancing boys and girls. I began to feel it was going to be all right!”

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey opens in London this Thursday, 13 December.