Ian McKellen

Trivia and Quotes

Quotes (29)

  • (Revealing he believes Britain will have a gay PM one day) Ian: I think openly gay politicians are the standard, rather than not, in all parties these days. Eventually it's very likely that one of them will become a leader. We've already had one or two gay Prime Ministers.

  • (On the teachings of Christianity, Judaism and Islam being taught in school) Sir Ian: They should abandon the teaching of their church, because it is cruel and misplaced. It [religion] is the one area where people are not frightened to be openly homophobic.

  • (On how he saw his firsts television and movie roles) Sir Ian: I hadn't really thought about TV and film, and when they began to turn up, I think I probably said to myself, "Oh, it would be good to become a successful film actor, because that would somehow augment my theater career." I didn't think of it as striking out in a new direction, particularly.

  • (On his best memory about filming the trilogy of "The Lord of the Ring") Sir Ian: I think my favorite memory is actually the work. Arriving in this fabulous location at a ridiculous time in the morning, gradually seeing the dawn coming up and being with a group of people who all liked that sort of experience. There was nobody saying "I wish I was in L.A." or "God, get me an English breakfast."

  • (On his work to make Shakespeare more accessible to all the different members of society) Sir Ian: Every time I rehearse a Shakespeare play, I assume that no one in the audience has ever seen it before. I'm very excited by the idea that people may be discovering Shakespeare for the first time; but it's my duty to make sure that what they are excited by is not just another action movie, not just another political intrigue thriller, not just another play about sex and family betrayals and a cruel tyrant with a lot of blood spattered on the screen -- but to point out that these were inventions, not of the cinema, but of Shakespeare.

  • (On giving Stonewall's - the gay lobbying group for which Sir Ian is a founder - list of changes to then Britain's Prime Minister Tony Blair) Sir Ian: I reeled off Stonewall's demands, and he nodded, wrote them down and put a tick by them all. Then he said 'we will do all that'.

  • (Taking a stand against California's Proposition 8 which would end the rights of same-sex couple to marry in the state) Sir Ian: I feel involved in the outcome of voting over Proposition 8. The world has turned to a point where any discrimination against gay people in your state, in your country, in our world is unseemly and unnecessarily cruel. If two people wish to declare their love for each other, who are the rest of us to stand in their way? If they wish to marry, as their parents did, who are we to stop them? In the great Californian tradition, Vote 'no' to Proposition Eight, please.

  • (Commenting on his charity work for Stonewall's Education Champion Programme, educating children about homophobia in UK's schools) Sir Ian: I've been to talk at quite a few schools recently. It is essential to talk to 12- and 13-year-olds because they absorb what's thrown at them, whether it be homophobia or tolerance, and we have to make sure it's the positive stuff.

Show More Quotes

Trivia (44)

  • Sir Ian gives his voice to the audiobook version of Michelle Paver's Chronicles of Ancient Darkness series.

  • With an interview with the late Studs Terkel in 1986, Sir Ian said he based his performance of Macbeth on a John F. Kennedy gone wrong - a golden boy messed up and off track.

  • Sir Ian Lord of the Rings tattoo, the Elvish number 9 that all fellowship members got is on his shoulder.

  • In 2008, Sir Ian was featured in a show by photographer Simon Annand. The pictures included in the exhibition are of the 30 minutes before an actor steps on the stage in theatres.

  • Sir Ian took part in a successful campaign to save The George Tavern (an English pub), it is his favorite pub in East London. The protest, which included wearing a t-shirt designed by singer Amy Winehouse, was aiming to defeat a motion to have a housing project constructed near the pub. The project would have had for effect the closing of the pub since The George Tavern is also a concert venue and noise complaints would have been expected.

  • Sir Ian once proposed to John Barrowman that they should have a dinner party and invite all the closeted actors they know. The fantasy included Ian and John making the actors sit until they realized you can be an actor, be successful and out.

  • Sir Ian is good friends with John Barrowman. In 2006, Ian accepted Stonewall's Entertainer of the Year Award in John's behalf since the latter couldn't attend the ceremony.

  • Sir Ian compared the [2008] recent rows over gay bishops to the same thing in the military, noting that it's nothing new, just the same old homophobia that exists everywhere.

Show More Trivia