Saturday, 3 September 2016

Ian McKellen: Who Do You Think You Are?

It is curious, I say, that he has played so many military men. He agrees; it wasn’t until [Patrick] Stewart participated in the BBC’s Who Do You Think You Are? in 2012 that he discovered that his father had been suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder upon his return from Cherbourg in 1940. ‘It released me from so much anger.’ His avid involvement with the charities Refuge and Combat Stress are ‘for his mother and father’, respectively. ‘I’ve probably played even more military men than Patrick,’ muses McKellen. ‘Gandalf is a soldier, Magneto is a soldier, Richard III, Coriolanus, Macbeth. And I think the reason is because I want my revenge on them all.’ Who? ‘The people who start wars, perpetuate them and glory in them. “God save our gracious Queen, send her victorious?” I’m sorry. What does that mean?… If that’s what masculinity is then I don’t want any part of it at all. I think gay men are more masculine than straight men. Because, guess what? They love other men!’ He belly laughs and feels for Stewart’s hand at his side. ‘So when bully boys say: “Faggot!” you say, ‘That’s right, I’m with the boys.’

ES magazine, who've spelt his name wrong.

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