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27 Nobel Laureates Join Sir Ian McKellen's Protest Of Russia's Anti-Gay Laws

Sir Ian McKellen

The bad press for Russia and its abominable anti-gay "propaganda" law just keeps building and building. Sir Ian McKellen is a vocal opponent of the law, and now the actor has been joined by almost 30 Nobel laureates from the fields of science and the arts, including novelist JM Coetzee, geneticist Sir Paul Nurse, and chemist Sir Harry Kroto.

An open letter was penned and given to The Independent to publish, and says in part:

On June 30th 2013, President Putin signed into Russian law a nationwide ban on the “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations to minors”. This inhibits the freedom of local and foreign Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered people to speak openly about their sexuality and prohibits Gay Pride celebrations[...]The letter is written to indicate that many senior members of the international scientific community show solidarity with politicians, artists, sports people and many others who have already expressed their abhorrence for the Russian Government's actions against its gay citizens.

The letter is then undersigned by laureates who received their designation ranging from the 1970's to post-2010, displaying a broad generational consensus.


Actor Ian McKellen Surprises Audience At Hobbit Premiere: VIDEO

Gandalf

Fans of Peter Jackson and J.R.R. Tolkien got a surprise when they attended a Friday the 13th midnight showing of The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug at New York City's AMC Lincoln Square—Gandalf the Grey himself (Ian McKellen) appeared for a few opening remarks.

The crowd broke into applause and gave the openly gay British actor a standing ovation as he commented on the film. McKellen said, "I think the dragon goes on a bit long, but my God he looks amazing." If you've seen the film, you know he's right.

He also says, "I just wanted to let you know that when we were doing Lord of the Rings all those years ago at the beginning of the century, we didn't really know whether anybody was going to want to come and see them. And it happened that you and others enjoyed them. So when we went back to do the pickups for part two and part three of Lord of the Rings, it was as if we were making these films for people who really cared."

McKellen is currently playing in a Broadway production of Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot and in Harold Pinter’s No Man’s Land. He's also been seen hanging around with his BFF and Godot co-star Sir Patrick Stewart outside The Stonewall Inn.

See video of McKellen's appearance AFTER THE JUMP...

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A 'Hugely Embarrassed' Damian Lewis Apologizes to Ian McKellen Over 'Fruity' Remark

Earlier in the week actor Damian Lewis told a reporter that he was glad he got out of theater early and escaped becoming "one of these slightly over-the-top, fruity actors who would have an illustrious career on stage, but wouldn't start getting any kind of film work until I was 50 and then start playing wizards.”

LewisThough not mentioned by name, Sir Ian McKellen determined that he resembled that remark, and issued a searing, wizard-worthy takedown of the Homeland actor.

Lewis issued a statement on Wednesday in response:

"I am hugely embarrassed that comments of mine have been linked in a negative way to Sir Ian McKellen. I have always been, and continue to be, an enormous fan and admirer of Sir Ian's. He's one of the greats and one of the reasons I became an actor. My comment in the Guardian was a soundbite I've been giving since 1999 – it was a generic analogy that was never intended to demean or describe anyone else's career. I have contacted Sir Ian McKellen and have given him my sincerest apologies."

McKellen accepted the apology on Twitter, writing:

"There was no need for @Lewis_Damian to apologise to me, as I thought his comments were fair. But he's a gentleman...Now I hope @lewis_damian enjoys @TheHobbitMovie DOS as much as I enjoy @SHO_Homeland."


Sir Ian McKellen Fights Back After 'Fruity' Remark From 'Homeland' Star Damian Lewis

LewisSir Ian McKellen, one of the finest British actors of the past several decades, and an openly gay man, was recently the butt of Homeland star Damian Lewis's (right) unpleasant commentary. Lewis mentioned that after getting his start in theater, he was glad to get out early on. Otherwise, he would run the risk of becoming "one of these slightly over-the-top, fruity actors who would have an illustrious career on stage, but wouldn't start getting any kind of film work until I was 50 and then start playing wizards.”

Though McKellen is not mentioned by name, Gandalf the Grey took it upon himself to offer a series of pointed and rather enlightened retorts.

The Independent reports:

The X-Men actor went on to describe Lewis’ statement as “a fair comment”, before adding: “To rebut it: I wouldn't like to have been one of those actors who hit stardom quite early on and expected it to continue and was stuck doing scripts that I didn't particularly like just to keep the income up.

“I've always wanted to get better as an actor. And I have got better. You've only got to see my early work to see that.

“As for a fruity voice? Well, it may be a voice that is trained like an opera singer's voice: to fill a large space. It is unnatural. Actors have to be heard and their voice may therefore develop a sonorous quality that they can't quite get rid of, so you think actors are as pompous as their voice is large. I suppose Damian was thinking of that a little bit, too.”

SiriansmilesMcKellen (right) also took the time to point out the conflicted and deeply closeted position of many gay artists, and attempted to assuage their fears.

“It's true of A-lists all over the world - A-list priests, A-list politicians. What will other people think? Will people still vote for me? Will people come and see me act?

“They're warned by the people who surround them - agents and managers, who have a living to make and are worried that the actor will get pigeonholed.”

“I don't think the audience gives a damn,” he added. “You don't have to be straight to play Gandalf. Anyway, who says that Gandalf isn't gay? I loved it when JK Rowling said that Dumbledore was gay.”

And in his final deconstruction of Lewis's remarks, Sir Ian took a stance on Russia's anti-gay propaganda laws, and made sure to mention the artists whose work he will always regard highly. 

“That's why I can't go to Russia... They couldn't protect me from those laws. Two and a half hours from London! In the land of Tchaikovsky, Diaghilev, Rudolf Nureyev - gay artists whose sexuality informed their work,” he said.

Check out Sir Ian McKellen, now on Broadway in Waiting for Godot and No Man's Land, and soon to be back in theaters as Gandalf in The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.


Ian McKellen on Life and Death

Sir Ian McKellen speaks to Men's Journal on a variety of topics, including religion:

Ian_mckellenI don't understand religion. I don't get it at all. I understand why people need it, but I think they're wrong. They don't. I do see that on a crude-ish level, when someone dies, it's nice and comforting to think that they're going to heaven and that they're going to be wrapped up warm for eternity. But they're not. Heaven doesn't exist. If you just think about it for a minute, the person is dead, they're gone, they're not coming back, and you'll never see them again. And when you go, you'll never see anybody again. Just face it. I feel stronger because of it. Knowing that I can't lean on religion to get through life. If you are leaning on it, you won't be living your life to the fullest.


Here's the 'X-Men: Days of Future Past' Trailer: VIDEO

Xmen

Director Bryan Singer spoke about the trailer with MTV News:

"I asked for something emotionally driven for this first piece, to just reintroduce characters and the stakes. It's got plenty of action and scope, but I think at it's core to remind audiences of the world, the stakes, and the characters, so it was nice to lead with a piece like this. To be honest, I was very fond of the 'Man of Steel' trailer. I felt really felt that it captivated the heart of that character. I wanted something similar to that."

Of Mystique, he says: "It's much, much closer, from the hairstyle to her agility. She hasn't quite become the cold assassin that Rebecca was, but she's headed on that course. It's much more closer to that character from 'X1' and 'X2,' from the innocent character that she was in 'First Class.'"

And of Wolverine: "I felt that enough had happened and that even Wolverine is getting a bit beaten down and haggard in this new world. I thought it would be appropriate to bring in the famous gray around the temples that he had in the comic. I really like that."

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

Wolverine

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