Ian McKellen | News | Singapore | Theatre

Repressed Singapore Tells Ian McKellen: Don't Get Naked

Mckellen

Ian McKellen, who has fully disrobed during performances of King Lear in Britain, has been asked to avoid the display while performing in Singapore.

McKellen told the Associated Foreign Press: "It is King Lear doing it, not Ian McKellen doing it, so I don't take particular offence if I'm told 'would you mind not doing it?' But what would happen, I wonder, if I did take all my clothes off and instead of my genitalia, I was wearing a pair of false genitalia. Would that be thought inappropriate? Call it censorship, call it advice, it gets in the way a little bit. I think it's a little bit silly. I'd say, on the whole, people who come to the theatre to see Shakespeare expect to have the whole of life revealed to them -- and if that means a glimpse of an actor's naked body, so be it."

McKellen quipped that he had a remedy for the situation: "I got a rather fetching pair of underpants ... they say on the back, 'Hello Singapore.'"

The actor also spoke out on a local radio show, urging the government to drop its laws against homosexuality before giving a more significant interview to Reuters on the issue.

Said McKellen: It would be impertinent of me to comment on Singapore society but this happens to be a law that I find personally offensive and I don't think it should be on the statute books because it inhibits my free behavior as an openly gay man. I feel free to comment on behalf of people who do have to suffer laws which the British empire invented and left behind...The press like to talk to actors. They mustn't be surprised when actors talk back to them. We are privileged that we have access to the media and our opinions sometimes are reported and I appreciate that. But I only speak on things that I am an expert on...You won't hear me talk about my politics, you won't hear me talk about my vegetarianism, you won't hear me comment on the Iraq war. You'll only hear me talk about being gay and being an actor. I am just public on those two issues."

Feed This post's comment feed

Comments

  1. I love Sir Ian!

    Posted by: Marc | Jul 19, 2007 12:38:43 PM


  2. oh dear lord, he's a wonderful actor but I don't think I want to see him naked. Singapore is doing us all a big favor. Nor do I think nudity is necessary in King Lear or in any other Shakespeare play for that matter. Now I'm all for nudity onstage, but let the actors be HOT HOT HOT!!!!

    Posted by: the queen | Jul 19, 2007 12:55:54 PM


  3. Sir Ian is definetly a jewel in the crown of humanity.

    Posted by: Robert | Jul 19, 2007 12:57:09 PM


  4. If Singapore wishes to edit Sir Ian's performance, Sir Ian should 'edit' himself right out of Singapore. Who needs 'em?

    And "The Queen": You're repulsive.

    Posted by: Scott | Jul 19, 2007 1:04:49 PM


  5. What a man. Ian McKellan, in "false genetalia"!

    Posted by: Gregoire | Jul 19, 2007 1:09:18 PM


  6. It doesn't take the full monty to get the churls in Singapore in a tizzy. While it continues to premier in other parts of the world, Reichen & Chip's season of "The Amazing Race" was shown in that part of the world via satellite contemporaneously with its original run in the US. However, they cut out Chip kissing Reichen on the cheek in the recurring opening credits, similar scenes in any episodes, and, if I recall correctly, even some of their statements about being gay. But, hey, they have skyscrapers and Shakespeare!

    Posted by: Michael | Jul 19, 2007 1:31:18 PM


  7. Wow, Queenie... what a terrible thing to say. Given the fact that Ian McKellen is one of the finest classically-trained actors of our time, I rather think he's unlikely to employ nudity onstage just so we can get our rocks off. It's King Lear, for God's sake... not Naked Boys Singing.

    Maybe if gay men occasionally saw celebratory images of nudity that weren't restricted to 19 year old Brazilian supermodels, we'd all have a slightly more realistic opinion of our own bodies... with all the beauty and shortcomings that the human body displays. It would be good for us as individuals, and it would be beneficial for us as a community.

    Posted by: Brian | Jul 19, 2007 1:35:22 PM


  8. I would love to see Sir Ian performing Lear. What a tremendous treat that must be. I wonder if/when he's coming to Los Angeles. I must check it out.

    Travis

    Posted by: Travis | Jul 19, 2007 1:48:29 PM


  9. I'm a Singaporean living in New York. Two of the reasons I left Singapore to pursue a creative career in New York are censorship and their 'sweep under the carpet' policy towards homosexuality. They know gay people exist, but hush hush is the norm. If gays are not prosecuted as claimed by the government, why have that nagging law?
    It is heartening to know that Ian McKellen is speaking out, bringing international attention to this outdated British law. Someone prominent has to question policies that don't make any sense this day and age, be it censorship or homosexuality. Singapore is technologically advanced in many ways, but when it comes to expressing ourselves, we still have a long way to go. To Sir (Ian), with love! Pat

    Posted by: Pat | Jul 19, 2007 1:58:50 PM


  10. Yes, but it's probably best to leave the repeal efforts to local activists. Singapore wants to avoid the appearance that they're bowing to pressure. They want to save face.

    And if outside forces push too strongly...

    I can see how this might be twisted around by the government as "foreign interference" (by which, of course, they mean the evil white man) with Chinese, Malay, and Indian social norms.

    Posted by: John | Jul 19, 2007 4:08:31 PM


  11. look, im a gay singaporean. singapore's not as repressive as foreigners might think - though we're not exactly that liberated either. homosexuality is still a hush-hush and 'look the other way' thing

    Posted by: Jacob | Jul 19, 2007 4:31:10 PM


  12. Alan Cummings was on Graham Norton talking about going to a nude beach with Sir Ian. He said that Sir Ian was, um, hung.

    Call me a perv, but I'm kinda hoping McKellan brings his nude King Lear to New York City. I'll totally be there! And not for the that whole Shakespeare/great acting thing either!

    Posted by: Matthew | Jul 19, 2007 4:57:08 PM


  13. Given the possible nature of what the nudity might be (to illustrate the weakness and vulnerability of Lear), I cant imagine its being done in any way to intice or titillate!

    Posted by: Gregoire | Jul 19, 2007 5:18:09 PM


  14. AFP does not stand for Associated Foreign Press, but Agence France-Presse.

    Posted by: JPS | Jul 19, 2007 11:18:01 PM


  15. AFP does not stand for Associated Foreign Press, but Agence France-Presse.

    Posted by: JPS | Jul 19, 2007 11:18:26 PM


  16. If you think Singapore has repressive rules governing gays, you should come to Malaysia (Singapore's neighbour). Here, the police will round up gays and shove a truncheon on their gay asses. Serves them right for being gay bastards.

    Posted by: gandalf | Jul 20, 2007 1:37:52 AM


  17. Ian has a lovely body :)
    it's good to be a famous actor... we need active people in the world to bring minds all over. it could be the beginning of the change. i hope so

    Posted by: ks | Jul 22, 2007 8:53:15 AM


  18. I can say - Ian is hot naked :D!!!

    Posted by: Im | Apr 20, 2008 11:00:54 AM


Post a comment







Trending


« «Gay Man Wins Discrimination Case Against the Church of England« «