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Ian McKellen: ‘Being forced to hide my homosexuality made me a great actor’

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  1. Yes- its true- that being closeted can bring out great things in people. Another prime example s the great novelist E.M.Forster. He wrote some truly classic works of literature including Room With A View and Howard’s End- but in his thirties met a policeman with whom he had a lifelong relationship. He never wrote another work of substance after so-called “coming out”!

  2. Another important element in all this is that the arts – writing, acting, whatever it be – offer another world in which you can be an imagined someone else who isn’t suffering fear, isolation, shame guilt. This is partly why I got into acting (it never went anywhere and I couldn’t have been as good as Sir Ian!) when I was young. But even as a consumer, as well as a producer, of the arts, I think you can find this sort of escape as a lesbian or gay person. Which is one reason why positive affirmation of l&g people in the arts is so important. We need a home, not just a refuge.

  3. Isn’t he being a bit vain, egocentric and presumtuous? I would call him a good actor, but certainly NOT a ‘great actor’. Lke fellow Brit Mr. Hopkins, he’s technically proficient, but I never ‘felt’ any great emotional depth of character in any of his performances. I wouldn’t put him in a class with Max Von Sydow or John Hurt or Spencer Tracy.

    1. Watch his King Kear on DVD if you haven’t seen it. For my money, it’s a knockout.

      1. Sorry – of course I meant ‘Lear’!!

    2. I would recommend watching any of IK’s stage work – he is an outstanding actor, and brings gravitas and depth to his work.

    3. I think Spencer Tracy was a closeted and married bisexual man.

    4. I can only assume, apart form being mentally unstable, jafuf is a failed actor.

    5. He’s been misquoted by PN. If you read the Telegraph article what he says is “I think that’s why so many great British actors are gay – we spent so long pretending to be straight, to be someone else, that eventually we became very good at it.”

  4. GingerlyColors 28 Oct 2012, 12:19pm

    At least Sir Ian doesn’t have to hide it anymore.

  5. I don’t buy this rewriting of your history, Mr. McKellen.

    You’re not telling the truth.

    Yes, there was no Graham Norton on TV, etc., but you damn well know that back then London theatre was “thick” with homosexuals and homosexuality, darling. (Of course the school kids at that school in London you’ve been talking at won’t know this, will they. But don’t forget, Ian, there are lots of other old dinosaurs around!)

    Mr. Kellen has spent his whole life as an actor, i.e. in the company of luvvies. He never HAD to pretend he was straight to anybody. He CHOSE to say he was straight to his fans and the media in order to keep the fans happy.

    So, lastly, having quashed the nonsense of your having become “a great actor” because you HAD to hide your homosexuality, and having proven that you were screaming your tits off with theatre folk, how then did you learn to act?

    It’s not that difficult actually. Acting is only lying.

    1. How sad. The bitterness is not doing you any good.

    2. Eddy wrote:
      “Mr. McKellen. You’re not telling the truth”…. “Acting is only lying.”

      Unintentionally, rather than disproving it you may have proved Sir Ian McKellen’s claim to be a great actor.
      I think he’s bloody marvellous myself.

      1. Mr. Mckellen is a really good actor, and a great human being.

        Eddy, Resentment is no good for anybody. Ian has lived his life not his way, but the way he could. Just like you have lived yours and each of us has.

    3. What’s got your thong in a twist darling?

  6. Great article but I wish you had an editor and/or spell checker to correct your grammar. It’s pretty appalling.

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