The Big Issue : Edition 490
16 THEBIGISSUE7–13AUG2015 to make the relative scales work – from use of stunt doubles to forced perspectives (simply having him closer to the camera than everyone else). Marching around New Zealand was taxing, too, especially in the Hobbit films when McKellen was pushing 70, but he seems to have taken it in his stride – apart from a few reported grumbles about special effects in the early days of the making of The Hobbit. He even reportedly got a shoulder tattoo of the Elvish number ‘9’, to commemorate his character being one of the original nine members of the fellowship of the ring. And a tattoo is not all he took home from Middle Earth: he received an Academy Award nomination for best supporting actor for his work in the first film, The Fellowship of the Ring (2001). Over the last decade or so it would probably be easier to list the things McKellen hasn’t been in. He’s appeared on The Simpsons, was in The Da Vinci Code, had a memorable role as “himself” on Ricky Gervais’ sitcom Extras, played a conman on UK soap opera Coronation Street and was Number 2 in a remake of the cult TV classic The Prisoner. Recently, outside of his movie work, he’s co-starred in UK sitcom Vicious, in which he plays the husband of a character played by Derek Jacobi. The first season was a hit; the second is now screening in the UK. Over the same period he’s also been busy on stage, including lead roles in King Lear and The Seagull. His biggest stage smash of recent times was a revival of Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot in which he starred alongside Patrick Stewart, his friend (he officiated at his recent wedding) and foe (he plays Professor X) in the X-Men. Starting out in London, they eventually toured around the world, including a stint on Broadway a few years ago. In Australia in 2010, McKellen performed Godot alongside Roger Rees, who died last month. McKellen is showing no signs of slowing down. He runs his own frequently updated blog (he regards blogging as a version of writing an autobiography), is still active as an LGBT advocate, and his latest film, Mr Holmes, (directed by another old friend, Bill Condon) has him playing the famous detective both in the prime of his mystery-solving life and as a retired man pushing 90. He might well have played Death with Arnie long ago, but his career is unlikely to fall under the Grim Reaper’s scythe any time soon. » Anthony Morris is The Big Issue’s DVD Editor. He hopes to be solving Sherlock Holmes-style mysteries himself in his seventies. Had you wanted to reunite with director Bill Condon, whom you worked with on Gods and Monsters ? Yes. I’d just sort of assumed one day we would work together again. I can’t remember how this was, but I think he asked me to do Mr Holmes. I said yes, and then we discussed what it was. That’s probably how it happened. We both chuckled, because there are elements of this story that seem to refer back to Gods and Monsters a bit. Both cases are about a man at the end of his life and there are flashbacks to his glory days. I suppose for this to work, you have to imagine that Sherlock Holmes AGE SHALL Not WEARY HIM THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN HOLMES AND HIS HOUSEKEEPER, MRS MUNRO, PLAYED BY LAURA LINNEY, IS A KEY COMPONENT TO BILL CONDON’S FILM PHOTOGRAPH BY GILES KEYTE 16 THEBIGISSUE7–13AUG2015 IN A RECENT INTERVIEW, IAN MCKELLEN TALKS ABOUT WORKING...AND GETTING “WONDERFUL PARTS”.