25 May 2006

Ian McKellen E-Posts

20 April 2005


Q; You mentioned that You had played the guy in Asylum before. May I ask which character in your career reminds you of this one in particular?

A: Perhaps I was thinking of the humourless diplomat in Plenty.


From: donna

Q: I just wanted to tell you that I was finally able to rent Emile here in Vancouver (I was never able to find anywhere that showed it in the theatre..poop) and I was enthralled from beginning to end. I thought that it was poignant, and unpredictable, and sad and joyous. I'm very glad I found it in our local video store.

A: Yes it is a charming film and when you consider it was shot in three weeks, a very remarkable achievement for Carl Bessai, its director, author, cinematographer, editor and producer!

[Webmaster's Note: Asylum will be released on DVD in US on 26 April 2005. Click here to Order.]


From: Valerie

Q: I was delighted to learn that you plan to play Widow Twankey again for the 2005-6 holiday season! I wasn't able to afford the trip (from California) this winter, and I read the glowing reviews with great envy. But now I can start saving my pennies for this second chance. Hooray! Are you still thinking about planning to play King Lear? Or, perhaps, actually planning?

A: I'm planning for King Lear sometime in 2007 but Twankey again in the meantime.

BENT (1979)

Q: I have watched Bent a few times and I think its fantastic, but is there any possibility of getting the home video, dvd or something of the play Bent where you played Max (1979)? I wish I could go behind time and watch it live in the 70s (I'm too young;)

A: It is the glory and the inconvenience of live theatre that it cannot be re-produced. No, there was no recording made of the 1979 production of Bent although I do have an unsteady video of the 1989 production (for one night only) at the Aldephi Theatre in London. It isn't good enough to distribute.

These days major theatre productions in London are kept on video for viewing at the British Theatre Museum. Aladdin has just joined the library there.


From: Margo Lewis

Q: Please please please do another panto next year. Would have seen Aladdin over and over again if I could and taken everyone I know. Best, happiest, funniest show and if Widow Twanky does not win an award there is no justice. Am moving from London to New York so if you can do it there, even better. America needs panto! Happy to train them in panto audience participation techniques. And what are all the other theatrical knights and dames doing wasting their time making films my mum likes and doing voiceovers for computer animated mythical creatures? Panto. Panto. Panto. Please tell them next time you see them.

A: Thanks in triplicate. Sir Derek Jacobi and Dame Judi Dench saw Aladdin and declared themselves well pleased, so you never know. Our show was overlooked by the Olivier Award judges, which is ironic as I know that one of Sir Laurence Olivier's greatest regrets was not to have played dame.


Q: I played baby Octavia in "A touch of love" - I was about 2 years old at the time. I have never seen the film and have been trying to get a copy for many years. Do you have any idea where I might track one down? Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

A: Good to hear from you again. You were a model baby, which is why you landed the role no doubt. I'm not sure how much you are seen in the film but all I can suggest is that you stay up night after night until you eventually catch one of its early morning screenings on television.



From: Paulo Quiros

Q: Of the actors I admire the most there is not a single one under the age of 50. I won't prattle on about all my favorite actors but I'll say that along with the you Ian Holm and Christopher Lee, Ben Kingsley, Jim Broadbendt, Liam Neeson and Julie Andrews are on the list. As a young actor myself I am interested in what gives all these great men and women such a powerful presence. Is it just time and experience that developes an actor or is there something else?

A: I am flattered you put me in the company of such splendid actors. I suspect had you known them when they were younger you would still have admired them — or do you perhaps just have a penchant for maturity? There are all sorts — startling young performers who never get further than their initial brilliance; other plodders like me who try and improve with each part we play; others who are just good all through their careers.


From: Kyle Pedley

Q: I read recently that a distinguished older actor stated he was unimpressed by the talent of new actors in the industry of both theatre and film. What are your opinions on this matter.

A: My opinion of other actors (whatever their age) divides between thinking them inadequate rubbish-merchants who should be drummed out of Actors' Equity and (for the rest) wondering how on earth they manage to be so brilliant! In the latter category I could give you a long list of actors younger and more accomplished then I am.


From: Amanda

Q: Ohhh, you do play a nasty villain! I recently viewed David Copperfield and your portrayal as the evil headmaster was...well, masterful! But you struck poor little Daniel R. That doesn't suit you!

A: Odd to think that Gandalf and Harry Potter have worked together...


From: Jori Hesso

Q: Have you ever worked with Alan Howard ('The Voice of the Ring')? What is he like?

A:  Alan Howard and I have both worked for the Royal Shakespeare Company but never in the same production. A pity.



Ian McKellen's Home Page