Ian McKellen Requests Bathroom Break in 'No Man's Land' Play

"My character never leaves the stage for two hours and drinks an awful lot," said the actor of his role as a poet in the play opening in the U.K.
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Ian McKellen

Ian McKellen was so concerned about being caught short in his new play without a bathroom break, he attempted to insert one into the script, according to sources close to the production. In Harold Pinter's No Man's Land — which opened in Sheffield on Aug. 3 and will travel the U.K. before a three-month stint in London starting Sept. 8 — McKellen plays a down-at-heel poet who spends a heady evening imbibing heavily with an acquaintance (played by real-life BFF Patrick Stewart).

For purposes of the play, the booze is fake, but the liquid is very real. And while McKellen is a producer of the play that has been revived several times since debuting at the Old Vic Theater in 1975 without any reported bathroom accidents, his attempts to doctor the work of one of the U.K.'s greatest playwrights were in vain, sources say. McKellen, 77, and his fellow producers couldn't be reached for comment. The actor, however, did hint to a British radio station what it's like to be held captive by the work — and his bladder: "My character never leaves the stage for two hours and drinks an awful lot."

This story first appeared in the Aug. 19 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

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