Out British actor Sir Ian McKellen has
rejected calls for gay characters to only be played by gay actors.
McKellen, 82, is best known for playing
Gandalf in The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit
trilogies and Magneto in the X-Men films.
Speaking with the BBC's Amol Rajan,
McKellen argued that acting is pretending.
"Is the argument that a straight
man cannot play a gay part, and if so, does that mean I can't play
straight parts and I'm not allowed to explore the fascinating subject
of heterosexuality in Macbeth?” McKellen rhetorically asked.
"Surely not. We're acting. We're
pretending. Now, are we capable of understanding what it is to be
Jewish? Are we going to convince a Jewish audience that we're Jewish?
Perhaps we don't need to because we are just acting," he
McKellen also said that he wishes he
had discussed his sexuality with his late father.
"The idea that he couldn’t have
coped with the fact that his son was gay is inconceivable to me, even
though I’m not aware that we had any gay friends or that he’d
ever thought about it or that it had any impact on his life,"
"Therefore it might have come as
some sort of surprise to him, but there would have been no moral
judgment." he added.