Films

An extremely comprehensive documentary about Sir Ian McKellen's life is on the way

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Mike Rampton
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Sir Ian McKellen, the board-treading, pub-owning, metal-wielding, magic-doing, Picard-friending, equality-campaigning knight of the realm, is soon to be the subject of a really comprehensive documentary.

McKellen: Playing the Part is set for theatrical release later this year. It’s based around 14 hours of interviews with McKellen in which he talks through his life, his roles and his method. He has also provided loads of stuff from his past - never-before-seen photos, diaries and documents spanning his whole career, as well as his role in the gay rights movement. There are also recreations of key moments starring Luke Evans (Fast & Furious 6) and Frances Barber (Doctor Who). 

He’s Gandalf! He’s Magneto! He’s bezzie mates with Sir Patrick Stewart and has adorable acting adventures with him! And here are a few more things that are good about Sir Ian McKellen:

  • He part-owns a pub, The Grapes in Limehouse.
  • He fulfilled a lifelong ambition in 2005 by appearing on Coronation Street.
  • He once hosted Saturday Night Live, on an episode also featuring Kylie Minogue.
  • He came out in 1988 specifically so he could campaign against Section 28, a nasty piece of legislature against “the promotion.. in school… of the acceptability of homosexuality as a pretended family relationship”.
  • When asked for an autograph by Michael Howard, one of the politicians lobbying for Section 28, McKellen wrote: “Fuck off, I’m gay”. 
  • Since being knighted, he happily uses the nickname “Serena McKellen”.
  • He features on a Scissor Sisters track, and the Pet Shop Boys’ video for Heart
  • Despite being a hardcore atheist, he became an ordained minister in order to preside over Patrick Stewart’s wedding.

He’s a good one, Sir Ian McKellen, and always happy to bust out a catchphrase. Really magnetic presence in the X-Men films and all (that is a joke kind of).