Sir Ian McKellen became known as "the king of the social scene" while filming The Hobbit movies in New Zealand as he hosted regular gatherings for the cast and crew at his home.

The veteran actor, who reprises his role as Gandalf the wizard in the franchise, took it upon himself to keep his pals entertained during the 18-month shoot and his co-star Martin Freeman admits he, for one, was grateful to be coaxed out his apartment.

He tells People magazine, "It was lovely to have that time to get to know people properly. I'm a homebody, so I like putting a Dvd on and having a beer. But MCKellen was the king of the social scene. Nights 'round Gandalf's house: There was a lot of that!"

MCKellen isn't the first to take on the role of party planner - Russell Crowe did the same for his Les Miserables co-stars, holding regular drinking sessions and sing-a-longs so Anne Hathaway, Hugh Jackman and Amanda Seyfried could get comfortable bursting into song in front of each other for the Tom Hooper musical.