Ian McKellen Honored at Deauville Film Festival

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Ian McKellen

The Oscar-nominated actor says he's committed to Martin Sherman's untitled Noel Coward biopic.

Ian McKellen lorded over the evening at the Deauville Film Festival, as he received a tribute award honoring his fifty-year career Thursday night.

The Oscar-nominated actor shed his jacket and rolled up the sleeves of his American flag t-shirt on the red carpet to show the crowds of cheering fans his Lord of the Rings-inspired tattoo, then inside the massive beachside theater he delighted the audience when he delivered his remarks in French.

Calling Deauville “the most friendly of all the festivals, and so handy” for the English —  who are just across the Channel from the seaside city, he recalled that God and Monsters won the critics’ prize here in 1998.

“My character in Gods and Monsters spoke my favorite words about the film industry: ‘Making movies is the most wonderful thing in the world.’ It’s working with friends and entertaining people,” he added.

Though he doesn’t take credit (deferring, it seems, to William Shakespeare) for Richard III, McKellen received a BAFTA nomination for the 1995 screenplay and has directed theater. He told a press conference earlier in the day he has no desire to do either again. “Acting is hard enough,” he said. “I think I’ll stick to that.”

He joked there is no worry that his latest film, Mr. Holmes, will turn into one of the franchise properties he’s become known for. A series about the aged Sherlock “where he gets older and older and older is highly unlikely,” he said, adding that he had not seen either the Jude Law or Benedict Cumberbatch versions.

While working on both the Lord of the Rings and the X-Men series were enjoyable, he doesn’t want to get involved in another franchise. “I wouldn’t like now to get stuck with one part that I play forevermore,” he said.

His next role is slated to be the untitled Noel Coward biopic. “It will be a film written by Martin Sherman, the American author of Bent, a play very close to my heart, which we also filmed, about the situation of gay people under the Third Reich in the 1930s. He has completed the screenplay which I have not yet read.”

Though he wouldn’t divulge the role he’s set to play, he says he is still committed to joining star Chris Colfer once production on the project moves forward. He added: “It is, as usual, waiting for finance, waiting for everything to come together, but if it does I shall certainly play a part in it.”


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