Actor Ian McKellen has said he would love to reprise his role as the wizard Gandalf in a big screen version of 'The Hobbit'.

JRR Tolkien's 1937 book tells the story of the hobbit Bilbo Baggins who goes on a quest to defeat a dragon.

On his official website, the 63-year-old actor said he had spoken to 'Lord of the Rings' trilogy director Peter Jackson about the possibility of a 'Hobbit' film.

The New Zealand director is understood to have secured the rights to the earlier book, but has not yet spoken about translating it into a film.

The second Lord of the Rings film, 'The Two Towers', will be released in Ireland on 18 December.