Sir Ian McKellen is backing a Southampton pub called The Hobbit in its legal battle with a Hollywood producer who is demanding it removes all references to the JRR Tolkien classic.
The actor, 72, who plays Gandalf in the Lord Of The Rings films, said the move by California-based movie producer the Saul Zaentz Company (SZC) to force the pub in Southampton to change its name and decor as "unnecessary pettiness".
The actor Stephen Fry has also thrown his support behind a 40,000-strong internet campaign to save the pub's name.
Earlier this week, he tweeted:
Writing on his website, Sir Ian said:
The pub's landlady Stella Roberts, 41, has claimed lawyers have written saying she has until the end of May to change the pub's theme or face legal action for copyright infringement.
Ms Roberts told the Southern Daily Echo:
The pub faces having to axe its Lord Of The Rings-themed cocktails, interior artwork and even the pub sign.
The movies, starring Elijah Wood as the hobbit Frodo and directed by Peter Jackson, are among the most successful in recent years.
The latest instalment, The Hobbit, is due out in December this year.