28 August 2004
WHY NO REPLY?
Q: I have epost you several times and you never answer me back. Please reply this time. Thanks.
A: I don't reply to the tens of 1000's of e-mails from which Keith Stern (webmaster) selects the sample which make it onto the site. Many of them ask questions previously answered. Some, like yours, don't ask a question at all! Thanks.
TIME FOR KING LEAR?
From: Leonard Smith
Q: Can I be the only admirer of your career who while watching your Gandalf, thought that surely "he" must be thinking that now must be the right time to do Lear. Remember that, outside of failing to make a film of the Scottish play, Laurence Olivier's greatest disappointment was not being right to play Lear (too young in 1946 - too old physically in 1983). It seems to me that by the way you jogged off down the beach in the South Bank Show finale you "must" give it to us in the next few years especially as your star is at the moment in the ascendant.
A: It's getting to be an open secret that I am planning (or rather thinking about planning) to play King Lear; which is akin, as Olivier would have agreed, to plotting to climb Everest.
Q: Your and Alan Rickman's performance in Rasputin were brilliant. As I am studying Russia and the fall of the last Tsar and the involvement of Rasputin for my G.C.S.E in History I found it incredibly useful for revision. So thanks for helping me! Also I was wondering, is Alan Rickman as sexy in real life as he is on screen?
A: Much of Rasputin was filmed close to the locations of the actual events so I'm not surprised that the film proved relevant to your studies. Also, yes.
From: Martin I am presently finishing my training for Ministry and am going through the process of finding a church - not, you will understand, an easy process. Having just watched Parkinson, I simply want to thank you for your honesty - Changing perceptions and stereotypes is not easy and I admire the simple openness you showed.
A: I've long accepted that honesty is the best policy for the individual but also, beyond them, to those who are prepared to listen. I hope this is true as you apply for a job. Churchgoers will benefit from your witness, I have no doubt.
Q: It sadden me to read in your last entry that you are an atheist. How is it that a man who had 2 grandfathers that were ministers and learned of God's love has come to reject and despise God so?
A: I rejected organised religion before I began to question the existence of the numinous. I have retained their sense that religion was mainly to do with behaviour and relationships with family, friends and strangers and in this, I have kept faith with my grandfathers and their children, my parents.
Q: I'd like to thank you (through your writing on this website and low-key activism) for forcing me to confront my prejudices against gays and lesbians. I'm ashamed to admit that I was somewhat bigoted in my heart, but my admiration of you and your work in Lord of the Rings (you were also excellent in the X-Men movies) made me reexamine my feelings.
A: I am so pleased you told me. Perhaps you would appreciate Gods and Monsters a film I'm very proud of.
DANCE OF DEATH SYDNEY
From: Nadine Dietz
Q: I was fortunate in my first trip to Sydney to catch the last performance of Dance of Death. I just wanted to express my gratitude to you and the rest of the cast for such a brillant production. I hope you enjoyed your time in Australia and got some time to check out some of the local sights.
A: Yes, Sydney locals were very welcoming particularly during the Arts Festival period of our run. It was too hot to do too much during the days though I managed the beaches, the restaurants, the bars and the bridge climb.
Q: Dear Mr. McKellen, I was very surprised to hear that you'd grown up in Wigan, as I have read the book The Road to Wigan Pier by George Orwell, written in 1937. Was Wigan really as bad as Orwell tells it?
A: I remember kids without shoes in the streets of war-time Wigan and the miners trudging home blackened with coal-dust. But our family had enough to live away from the dirt and the poverty.
NATIVE AMERICAN FAN
Q: greetings, i am a native american from canada. i have been following your work and have been reading up on your web page. i had a sister who was openly gay and heck some of my family members didn't appove and she had killed her self. for years now i have been dwelling in pain and grief for her passing. i work in a dangerous job: i am a wildland firefighter. i enjoy your movies, i loved your acting in Gods and monsters. it was strange to me at first but when ya see it enough times ya kinda get a thinking maybe being gay ain't all that bad.
A: I am so sorry about your sister but I suppose one of the reasons why I go on about being gay is to discourage the attitudes which led to her suicide. Alas, she is not the only such victim of homophobia.
From: tracy dunbar & family
Q: Sink me!! After studying the French Revolution and Reign of Terror in our home school (including reading The Scarlet Pimpernel), we came across a video of the movie. The entire family LOVED it!! The girls were thoroughly surprised (and delighted!) to see their beloved Gandalf playing the dastardly Chauvelin. Lovely performance of the character! :)
A: Mon Dieu! I've been around for some time, in more disguises than the Pimpernel himself!