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Sir Ian McKellen Says He Took On 'X-Men' Role Due To Gay Rights Allegory

Magnetoian

Sir Ian McKellen has been out since 1988, serving as one of the gay rights movement's most revered (and Oscar-nominated) celebrities. Now he has revealed that an appeal to gay rights was the reason he took on one of his more iconic roles. It is no surprise to movie-lovers that the "X-Men" film series could stand in as an allegory for civil rights battles, but knowing that Magneto may never have been embodied by McKellen makes the comparison all the more important and intriguing.

Yahoo! Movies reports:

“I was sold it by Bryan [Singer, the director] who said, ‘Mutants are like gays. They’re cast out by society for no good reason,’” [McKellen] explained to Buzzfeed.

“And, as in all civil rights movements, they have to decide: Are they going to take the Xavier [Stewart’s character] line — which is to somehow assimilate and stand up for yourself and be proud of what you are, but get on with everybody — or are you going to take the alternative view — which is, if necessary, use violence to stand up for your own rights." 
 
"And that’s true. I’ve come across that division within the gay rights movement.”

McKellen said that though he had partners throughout the 70's and 60's, there were still societal limitations which made him think small in regards to the future of gay rights.

 "There we certain things we weren’t allowed to do and I’m afraid I rather went along with that because I was having a rather good time being an actor.”
 
“But I realised my position was not a sensible one. I realised what I had to do was ‘come out’.”

He also said that another coming out moment, that of Ellen Page who will also star in "X-Men: Days of Futures Past," is important for a new generation of comic book readers and movie watchers.

“Marvel told me that the demographic for the readership of the comics is young blacks, young jews, and young gays. These are all young people who feel a little bit like mutants, so they sympathise with [the X-Men] and want them to thrive and do well.”

“And all this has come to a happy conclusion hasn’t it, with Ellen Page coming out. That gladdened my heart so much.”

The new movie arrives in theaters on May 22nd!

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Comments

  1. Racially, though, X-Men is lilly-white.

    Posted by: anon | Feb 27, 2014 10:12:27 AM


  2. that's probably the comics' fault, not that of the movies

    Posted by: kennedy | Feb 27, 2014 11:24:12 AM


  3. It was for the money....he's so full of it these days....

    Posted by: styler | Feb 27, 2014 11:31:27 AM


  4. Bullsh*t ANON! X-Men has Storm and Bishop who are black. They have had Asian members such as Sunfire and Karma, Latino members such as Sunspot and Rictor, Native American members such as Thunderbird and Mirage and Forge. Kitty Pryde was Jewish, Storm pagan, Nightcrawler Catholic, Colossus atheist. Hell, Nightcrawler and Beast are freaking BLUE!

    X-Men has always been inclusive and from the reboot in the 60's, led the way in comic books for diversity. Hell, in the Ultimate Universe reboot, they made Colossus gay!

    The movies don't reflect the 'racial' diversity nearly as well as the entire published comic book history of the X-Men and related books but you still ignore Storm and some of the students at the school. If you add X-Men: First Class, they included a black hero then too. So did X-Men Origins: Wolverine. Given the limited time the movies have to tell a story, you seem to be expecting a hell of a lot.

    Maybe it is my geekhood, maybe it is just me appreciating what I actually see but I have loved both the books and the movies for what they

    Posted by: Lael | Feb 27, 2014 11:36:29 AM


  5. Bullsh*t ANON! X-Men has Storm and Bishop who are black. They have had Asian members such as Sunfire and Karma, Latino members such as Sunspot and Rictor, Native American members such as Thunderbird and Mirage and Forge. Kitty Pryde was Jewish, Storm pagan, Nightcrawler Catholic, Colossus atheist. Hell, Nightcrawler and Beast are freaking BLUE!

    X-Men has always been inclusive and from the reboot in the 60's, led the way in comic books for diversity. Hell, in the Ultimate Universe reboot, they made Colossus gay!

    The movies don't reflect the 'racial' diversity nearly as well as the entire published comic book history of the X-Men and related books but you still ignore Storm and some of the students at the school. If you add X-Men: First Class, they included a black hero then too. So did X-Men Origins: Wolverine. Given the limited time the movies have to tell a story, you seem to be expecting a hell of a lot.

    Maybe it is my geekhood, maybe it is just me appreciating what I actually see but I have loved both the books and the movies for what they

    Posted by: Lael | Feb 27, 2014 11:36:29 AM


  6. ... are. They celebrate diversity and challenge all forms of discrimination based on nearly anything possible.

    Posted by: Lael | Feb 27, 2014 11:38:14 AM


  7. Looks like Ian totally gets it. I had a feeling that was the main reason behind his choice to play Magneto - that, plus the nice paycheck and getting to work with the equally awesome Patrick Stewart. 8^)

    Posted by: FuryOfFirestorm | Feb 27, 2014 12:17:19 PM


  8. I still like him most for Gods and Monsters. But of course I'll be seeing his X-Men and Hobbit movies this year.

    Posted by: Randy | Feb 27, 2014 2:14:43 PM


  9. Love the X-Men movies! They are my favorite superheroes and I always understood the implicit allegory of civil/gay rights. Can't wait for this next installment and knowing it is back in the hands of out director Bryan Singer.

    Posted by: SpaceCadet | Feb 27, 2014 2:15:27 PM


  10. Anon, that is one of the most ignorant statements that I have read on this blog.

    Posted by: Chitown Kev | Feb 27, 2014 4:05:01 PM


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