Said Ian McKellen at an appearance at the Television Critics Association for King Lear, which comes to PBS on March 25:
"It's a great honor when you're plucked out and given a medal. I know in the States, you're not as fond of medals as most democracies are....It just happens that this one involves a title. And at times, it warms the cockles of my heart because it puts me nominally in the company of people I grew up idolizing: Sir Lawrence and Sir John Gielgud, Sir Ralph Richardson, Sir Alec Guinness, all these people, Sir Michael Redgrave, Dame Peggy Ashcroft, Dame Edith Evans. And suddenly, oh, it's Sir Ian McKellen. But my name remains Ian McKellen. And that's my professional name. I'm forever going around, as I did this morning, saying, 'Please don't call me Sir because that's not really my name.' ... They often say, "Hi, Dumbledore,' and I say, 'No, no, that's Mike Gambon. I play the real wizard — the best wizard.' Of course, there's a confusion because Ms. Rowling has announced that Dumbledore is gay, hasn't she? So maybe that's the confusion. Whether Gandalf was gay is another matter. His wife is never mentioned, and he's 7,000 years old. He must have had some experience with sex."
"It doesn’t matter. Every night, when I take my clothes off, you know what I used to do? Pull in my stomach. That’s pathetic. I was playing an old man. I should have let it all hang out, and I couldn’t do that. You know, I’m in two minds about it and I think it’s perfectly all right. After all, there were some places — I think Singapore was one — where it was not allowed for me to take my clothes off completely. It was all right to have a blinding on the stage, someone’s eyes removed, but it was inappropriate to show a penis. Well, I think it’s a bit ridiculous myself."
AfterElton has more on goings-on at the TCA.
While he was in Singapore playing Lear in July 2007, he recorded a video for gays in Singapore in support of the repeal of that country's repressive laws against homosexuality. Watch it, AFTER THE JUMP...