25 May 2006

Ian McKellen E-Posts

24 September 2003


From: Marige11@cs.com Marige

Q: Have you any plans to write an autobiography? The reason I ask this is, in looking over all of your cinematic credits, I find that too many of them are unknown to me. :( I live in America and now begin to worry about something: has America stopped importing English films?

A: This site replaces a standard autobiography. Already there is more information and as much commentary as a book could accommodate and a great many more photographs. And these days there are computers you can curl up in bed with.

I don't know whether films with a UK subject matter travel freely to USA, if they ever did. The Internet should be revealing, certainly of video/DVD releases of films.


From: vanessa_mennella@hotmail.com Vanessa

Q: Have you ever, or will you ever appear on 'Desert Island Discs'? Which luxury would you take with you to the island?

A: I first selected my eight gramophone records to accompany me on my lonely island in 1971 with Roy Plomley, who invented the BBC radio programme. My luxury was a lot of paper and pencils I think. I've already forgotten what I picked 20 years on when Sue Lawley did the interview.

Plomley was a gent of the old school. He took me to lunch at his all-male club where the interview was worked out over a glass or two of Merlot. Lawley claims his earliest broadcasts were scripted by him for his guest with questions and answers read out on air. Her own style is much more free. Her questions are unseen in advance although there is no suggestion of a test as the show is pre-recorded and edited. Like her predecessor, Ms Lawley is charming and welcoming and I look forward to my third time on the programme in 2023!

[Webmaster's note: Click here for more info about Desert Island Discs.]


From: kitsune_kitana@hotmail.com Kitana Ly

Q: I was just curious to know your stance on the Showtime TV series "Queer As Folk". Do you view its portrayal of a graphic gay lifestyle as positive or negative?

A: I haven't seen this spin-off from the original UK production which ran for two series on Granada Television. Other people's lives, warts and all, are fascinating and when presented as in Andrew Davies' episodes with wit and directness, their impact can be very moving. My eyes were wide open and I recently saw a workshop of a musical based on the QAF characters which smelt like a hit to me.

If the US series is honest, its effect can only be beneficial. People's prejudice against gays is too often rooted in ignorance.

Brian Cheu (Director LGBT Center), Sharon Gless (Queer as Folk, Cagney & Lacey) and Ian McKellen
San Francisco 2002


From: dernhelmeowyn@compusmurf.nl

Q: I was just wondering if by any chance you have seen 'The Reduced Shakespeare Company' perform. They played all 37 works of Shakespeare in 97. I found it very entertaining. If you have seen it, what did you think of it?

A: I wish I'd chanced on this company before they became so part of the West End's furniture that I feel I've seen them when I haven't. Such a simple idea. I anticipated them slightly, when in Acting Shakespeare I got the audience to name all 37 plays, a raucous part of the show where bard freaks could shine and I could let the audience take over.


From: Michael Borel mike_borel@yahoo.com

Q: I am a gay former US Marine and I currently live in Paris, France with my partner. My partner and I have been PACS'ed and will have a formal reception and party for our union July 5 2003. I have never known my father but always dreamed he would be someone as great and open as you, so to have your blessing on such a wonderful event would truly be an honor. With greatest respect...Thank You!

A: I am sorry that I couldn't join you and your partner on such a special day. All good luck to you both. I was honoured to be invited.

With respect and admiration.


Q: I am a former Eagle Scout from San Diego. I say "former" because I resigned my badge in the wake of the discriminatory policies of the Boy Scouts of America. I'd read somewhere that you volunteer at an elementary school in LA often and wondered if you were based (at least part time) in Southern California. My question: Would you be wiling to appear at a protest rally we are holding on Sunday, Oct. 12 in front of Boy Scout Headquarters in San Diego? If you would like to learn more about our organization, I welcome you to view our website: www.sdscoutingforall.org. We would be very pleased by your presence at the rally.

A: I am based in UK not California but all good luck with the well-placed protest. Institutionalised homophobia in the Scouts or in church or school is the cruellest of all. It makes life miserable for young gay people and it misleads their peers re the truth about gay people that we are remarkably similar to the rest.


Froml: Sean Cronin isilverbull3ti@aol.com

Q: I just had a question about your, how do you put it? Activisation? I would just like to know on what you think about the U.S. president, George Bush's response to gay marriges by saying "I'm aware that we're all sinners" pertaining to gay people? I would also like to know why you even care about homosexuals if you're not one. I think of myself as a homophobic person but I deeply respect you for your work. I would go as far as to say that I hate homosexuals but as long as they don't try to get involved with my life. That may sound somehow arrogant but what I mean by that is that I don't understand why homosexuals even expose themselves to much hate of many people and put that sort of hatefulness on themselves. Anyway, I know how busy you must be so good luck and keep up the inspiring work!

A: I don't' think much about Bush's comments on gay issues which seem merely the stock response of evangelical Christianity based on a shallow reading of Old (indeed Outdated) Testament texts. But who knows what the real feelings are of a President who needs rightwing support for his re-election?

I am very sorry you think you hate homosexuals when you seem unperturbed by this one! Gay people have to stick up for themselves because for so long your view has infected the laws and social attitudes which put us at such a disadvantage. You will find some evidence of the world's cruelty to gays in these e-posts.


Q: Trying to track down a copy of Strindberg's 'Dance of Death' has had me feeling like J.R.Hartley hunting down his book of 'Fly Fishing'. Having exhausted the bookshops and libraries of Dorset I finally managed to corner one in Waterstone's Piccadilly but it isn't the latest version by Richard Greenberg but one in an anthology. Do you know anyhere where I could get hold of the latest version without ordering it from America?

A: If the Greenberg version isn't yet published someone needs sacking. It is immensely readable (as well as performable) and would encourage further productions. I wish Richard would consider translating other Strindberg, making some of his 67 more familiar beyond Stockholm. Then he might go east and rediscover the comedy in Chekov's plays and short stories. Richard won this year's Tony Award for best new play on Broadway (Take Me Out) and his latest, The Violet Hour, will open 16 October at the newly refurbished Biltmore Theatre in New York.

[Webmaster's note: The US edition of Richard Greenberg's version of Dance of Death may be ordered online: Dance of Death US or pre-ordered in the UK: Dance of Death UK]



Ian McKellen's Home Page