In a recent interview, British actor
Sir Ian McKellen discussed his decision to publicly come out as gay.
McKellen, 84, 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 Variety to promote
his upcoming film The Critic, McKellen said that his life
improved after coming out during a radio interview in 1988.
“Almost overnight everything in my
life changed for the better – my relationships with people and my
whole attitude toward acting changed,” McKellen
Elsewhere in the article, McKellen
described how being closeted negatively affected his life.
“People who are not gay just simply
don’t know how it damages you to be lying about what you are and
ashamed of yourself,” he said. “I was brought up at a time when
it was illegal for me to have sex with a man. And that was not that
In The Critic, McKellen plays a
closeted 1930s theater critic in London.
Anand Tucker, the film's director, said
McKellen brought his own “lived experience” to the role.
“I don’t subscribe to the idea that
you need to be gay to play a gay part,” Tucker told Variety.
“But in Ian’s case, there’s something about his own lived
experience that allowed him to bring a kind of urgent truth to the
role. He had a deep understanding of what it means to be an outsider
who is shunned for the truth of who they are.”
The Critic had its world
premiere at the 2023 Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) on
September 7, 2023.