Oh, Sir Ian, No.

Ian McKellen has said his King Lear, which is currently on at Chichester Festival Theatre, is probably his last big Shakespeare part.


Sometimes we realize this when we wake up to discover that an entertainment idol has died – Robin Williams, David Bowie, Tom Petty.  You don’t appreciate what you had until life tells you, “No more.”

But sometimes you know what’s coming, and I’m not sure if that’s worse.  Sir Ian McKellen (and Sir Patrick Stewart and Dame Judi Dench and too many others to name) will not be around forever to bring the Shakespeare.  In the linked interview above Sir Ian gets realistic on us that he’s “probably not really” got any more Shakespeare in him.  Sad day, but one that had to come eventually.

What’s your favorite Sir Ian role?  Richard III, Macbeth, Lear?  In the image above a very young McKellen takes on Hamlet. I wish we had video of that!


2 thoughts on “Oh, Sir Ian, No.

  1. Fie upon this quiet life says:

    Anthony Hopkins said the same thing when he did the film version of Titus Andronicus — no more Shakespeare. But now he’s doing Lear for the BBC, which will be available next year. See this article: http://variety.com/2017/tv/news/amazon-bbc-king-lear-anthony-hopkins-emma-thompson-1202581337/

    That said, I think Ian McKellen is somewhat more frail than Hopkins. I absolutely love him, though — more than Hopkins, actually. His recitation here is wicked good: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=afK_bXD7pMo

  2. Joseph Erickson says:

    King Lear is the pinnacle of the Shakespeare roles. It physically and psychologically demanding for an actor of any age, nevermind someone who is actually in their eighties.

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