Ian McKellen reveals why he isn't in the new X-Men film
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Sir Ian McKellen, 81, is one of the UK’s most esteemed actors, but he is yet to release an autobiography about his life and hugely successful career. The Lord of the Rings legend admitted he was set to do so at one point, having a deal arranged with a publisher and money had exchanged hands, but after realising the huge commitment it would take to promote the book, he decided he wouldn’t have time and handed the payment back.
I gave them the money back
While appearing on the Jonathon Ross show that airs on Saturday evening, he explained that the promos were going to take longer than it would to write the actual novel.
“I put aside six or nine months to write it – it was for an awful lot of money which was basically the attraction,” he tells the host.
But he revealed that there was a long list of chat shows that he would be “expected to appear on”.
“All over the world, right across the States, South America, Australia,” he quips.
“That would take a year of my life, longer than to write the book!
“I said, ‘I don’t have enough time’. So I gave them the money back.”
He adds: “I wanted to start with my parents, why did they decide to have me, just before the Second World War, they must have discussed this and thought about this.
“It’s too late to ask them and I can’t quite imagine.
“I got rather teary thinking about them as young people and wishing I’d known more about them.
“That was another reason why I rather went off the idea.”
Ian also discusses what was probably the biggest decision he’s ever had to make in his life – coming out as gay.
At the time, the actor explained he “could have risked being prosecuted” due to society’s view on homosexuality back in the day.
“That’s not true any more,” he says.
“We have very good laws in this country.”
Sir Ian revealed his sexuality on BBC radio in 1988, and has lived his life to the fullest ever since, revealing he was no longer “hiding”.
“I [have] never stopped talking about it since. Made up for lost time,” he beams.
“It changes your life utterly. I discovered myself.
“And everything was better. My relationships with my family, with friends, with strangers, and my work got better as I wasn’t hiding anymore.
He admits up to that point, his acting had been about “disguise”, saying: “Then, when I could feel I was myself, it came about telling the truth which was much more interesting.”
The Jonathan Ross Show airs on Saturday on ITV.
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