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Ian McKellen Talks X-Men
Cinescape Magazine Website for Cinescape Magazine
18th May 2000

Ian McKellen Talks X-Men - 642x800, 116kB

 Ian McKellen Talks X-Men - 642x800, 116kB

Article Reads: Sure, Ian McKellen is 'Sir Ian' thanks to a knighthood granted in 1990, but he's hardly the kind of stodgy, old-fashioned stuffed shirt we uncouth Yanks might picture when we think of knights of the British Empire. For one thing, he's the kind of knight who doesn't mind chatting with uncouth Yank journalists via e-mail. And though he's best known in his native Britain as a celebrated stage actor with plenty of Shakespearean roles under his theatrical belt, he's not above strapping on a very different kind of belt - the colorful spandex variety - for the larger-than-life role of a comic book supervillain.
Action fans who might not have caught McKellen's masterful performances in such films as Richard III, Gods and Monsters and Apt Pupil surely won't miss his turn as the Master of Magnetism, Magneto, in this summer's X-Men movie. "I have catholic tastes in movies as in most things." McKellen writes when asked why he agreed to appear in a film based on such un-Shakespearean source material, "My main test is whether the script is good and the part worth playing, regardless of its content and style."
Though some online fanboys carped that the slight actor lacked Magneto's musclebound physique, the e-freindly McKellen has won over many of the naysayers via the internet: He says he has "enjoyed contributing to the pre-release debates" in the X-Men section of his Web site ( and he has evenexchanged e-mail with some cyberfans.
So after his detour to Fantsayland via X-Men, was McKellen eager to get back to the Bard? Not at all. Even before he was finished working on X-Men, he was preparing for his next foray into fantasy filmmaking. "Once I felt on top of the problems of playing Magneto, I started examining the Lord of the Rings scripts," writes McKellen, who will play the wizard Gandalf in Peter Jackson's adaptation of the classic trilogy, "usually at weekends so that I wasn't to distracted from the X-Men x-perience."
- Steve Hockensmit
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