Ian McKellen on Religious Bigotry, Out Actors, and His Epitaph

Ian McKellen, in New York to promote an AMC movie called The Prisoner, gave a typically eloquent and enlightened interview to the L.A. Times. Hopefully he's not thinking about leaving us anytime soon, but it's apparent mortality is on his mind.

Mckellen Said the actor: "When I've been asked what should be on my gravestone…I've
said: 'Here lies Gandalf. He came out.' Two big achievements."

Said McKellen about religion: "I increasingly see organized religion as actually my enemy. They treat
me as their enemy. Not all Christians, of course. Not all Jews, not all Muslims. But the
leaders. . . . Why should I take the judgment of a declared celibate
about my sexual needs? He's basing his judgment on laws that would fit
life in the Bronze Age. So if I'm lost to God, organized religion is to

He also talks about actors who make a deal with the devil to stay in the closet.

"The conventional wisdom is that if you are gay, you cannot play the
romantic straight lead in a movie. They'd rather have 'don't
ask, don't tell.' The proposition from Mephistopheles as you sign the
agreement that you will become a Hollywood star is that you will lie
about yourself. That's selling your soul. This business may involve
disguise, but it's about telling the truth. And I don't think a
closeted actor in this day and age can act as well as an actor who is


  1. crispy says

    Geek alert! The Prisoner is only the greatest sci-fi cult show in the history of television. AMC is airing a mini-series this week that’s a modern remake, and McKellen is certainly the best thing about it. And PS: I hear there’s a gay storyline coming up tonight or tomorrow night.

    Long live Gandalf!

  2. Bobby says

    Ian McKellen is an amazing actor, an inspiring activist and probably one of the smartest people to ever grace the silver screen.

    Live long and prosper Ian and please never stop giving your opinion.

  3. patrick nyc says

    Caviezel is the reason I passed on watching The Prisoner. I use to like him but after his press junket with the Passion he made me want to puke. ‘It’s interesting that we have the same initials (JC) and are the same age’. Really, was Christ a douche like you Jimmy boy?

    McKellen on the other hand is brilliant in all he does and would never say such an insipid observation.

  4. crispy says

    Whereas McKellen is fantastic as Number Two, Caviezel is awful as Six. He’s bland and witless. Patrick McGoohan played the character with so much charm and charisma, I’m surprised they hired such a blank canvas for the remake.

  5. says

    Sir Ian is a great talent and a wonderful inspiration to all out creative types.

    I had the pleasure of seeing him and Dame Helen Mirren on Broadway in Strindberg’s Dance of Death. I will never forget that performance.

    His comments in this interview are articulate and spot on.

  6. Henry Holland says

    My favorite quote:

    “There are still times in my life where I pull back from being totally honest and I can’t imagine a single straight person who would understand that.”

Leave A Reply