Sir Ian McKellen says the “thought of not working is horrifying” amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The 81-year-old actor admits he feared being “robbed” of his last few years of his acting career because of the current health crisis and believes Dame Maggie Smith or Dame Judi Dench would feel the same.
He said: “This year has been very hard. I think you’d get the same from Maggie Smith or Judi Dench – the thought of not working is horrifying. Because we’re getting to the end of our lives, to be robbed of the last few years of that capability is hard.”
And the ‘Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring’ star believes theatre will come back “just as strong as ever”.
Speaking to The Sunday Telegraph newspaper, he added: “I think the theatre will come back just as strong as ever. Why? If you come to the Theatre Royal, Windsor, it’s going to be my voice you’re hearing, coming from my diaphragm and hitting your eardrums. We’re together and human beings long to be together, that’s why so many of us are miserable at the moment.”
Meanwhile, Ian previously revealed he has been enjoying a “lazy” lockdown.
He said: “I think I’m a rather lazy person so I find it quite easy to sleep in, read the paper, cook a meal, have a snooze, go for a walk, read a book, make a phone call, think about going to bed.”
However, he has refused some film roles as he doesn’t want to “die” whilst making a movie.
He added: “I’ve been offered a few films but I wouldn’t feel safe to be making them to be honest. At 81, one is in the vulnerable age group and you just have to say, ‘Am I prepared to die to make this film?'”
Ian hopes a number of “modern masterpieces” will be written during the pandemic, like William Shakespeare wrote three of his masterpieces, ‘Antony and Cleopatra’, ‘Macbeth’ and ‘King Lear’, when London was facing the Bubonic Plague.
He said: “It’s funny isn’t it, we think we’re living in extraordinary times but looking back, when Shakespeare was living in London, acting and writing plays, they shut the theatres. They had bubonic plague for a year and during that year, Shakespeare wrote three of his masterpieces, ‘Antony and Cleopatra’, ‘Macbeth’ and ‘King Lear’, so let’s hope when all this is over, there’s going to be lots of modern masterpieces from writers.”