Spotlight: Sir Ian McKellen

In this week’s “Five Minutes With” on the BBC News website, Sir Ian McKellen talks about how he tries to be relaxed as a person and that he “probably doesn’t have enough imagination to be highly-strung”.

Sir Ian McKellen is one of my favourite actors and one of my “fantasy celebrity grandads”, the other being Christopher Lee, though I must admit this is purely based on the 10 films I’ve seen or heard him in. In a career spanning over 40 years that isn’t really saying much on my part.

The reason I like him so much, apart from his wonderful portrayal of Gandalf in Lord of the Rings, is the way that he presents himself in public and in interviews. I have never met Sir Ian nor have I seen him in any stage productions, though I hope that this will change in the future, especially as Sir Ian has said that he would like to do some more Shakespeare.

In “Five Minutes With” Sir Ian is jovial and friendly and is happy to be questioned, in true “Five Minutes With” fashion, on a range of subjects from whether he is any good at DIY to whether he prefers working on a film or in the theatre. His answer to the latter is very interesting, as he reveals that “theatre is a young person’s game” but that the reward is more complete than two hours filming in a studio.

Sir Ian also reveals how he is extremely happy because he does whatever he wants to do, both professionally and privately. An actor’s life is regularly put under the spotlight, so it is great to hear that Sir Ian is happy with career and personal life.

In an interview with Empire magazine in October 2009, Sir Ian spoke about the film version of The Hobbit and the relationship between Peter Jackson, the producer, and Guillermo del Toro, the director:

“They both can’t stand Hollywood and have wonderful imaginations, and they’re both obsessed with gore and fantasy. Both of them laugh a great deal. Guillermo’s one of the most brilliant men I’ve ever met. His English vocabulary is way superior to mine!”

I cannot wait to see The Hobbit so I will eagerly be checking updates from Empire to see what is happening. Sir Ian is definitely a national treasure and I look forward to seeing him in more films and hopefully in the theatre too.

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