Ian McKellen says that he "very much hopes" to play a role in a new Merchant Of Venice movie which is set to star Al Pacino.

"I very much hope to play Antonio in the film, when the money arrives to make it," said McKellen, who was attending the Giffoni International Film Festival for Children where he received the Truffaut award for outstanding contribution to cinema.

Il Postino director Michael Radford is rumoured to be attached to the The Merchant of Venice production starring Al Pacino, which is being planned as an Italian co-production.

The British Oscar-nominated actor said playing the role of Antonio in the Merchant of Venice has been a life-long ambition. "I have written a screenplay myself. I have discussed playing Antonio with four directors, who each had their own screenplay. All have asked me whether I would play the role. I've said yes to three. I'm now waiting for them to say yes, they're making it. I will say yes to whoever goes first."

"It would be fun to play the role in all three movies, so I can say I only play in trilogies," he quipped, referring to his role in Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings movies.

Other guests attending the Giffoni festival (July 19 - 26), whose jury is made up of 1,000 international school children, include Juliette Lewis and Jon Voight.