British actor Ian McKellen believes the public was ready for marriage equality.

McKellen, who came out in 1988, is best known for roles in the Lord of the Rings and X-Men franchises. In his latest film, Mr. Holmes, McKellen plays a retired Sherlock Holmes.

In an interview with Larry King, McKellen was asked whether he was shocked at quickly the public changed on the subject of gay rights.

“The gay civil rights movement – … my country has got rid of all the bad laws and brought in some positive ones, like gay marriage for example,” McKellen answered.

“I think the world had sort of changed and was ready for it but the politicians hadn't realized it.”

McKellen added that he was “so hopeful” for the future.

“Once two gay people can get married the ripples of that cast around society, their friends and friends of their friends … you know, the sky hasn't fallen in,” he said.