Belfast Telegraph

Ian McKellan the grouch

Martin Freeman has quizzed Sir Ian McKellan on his life, touching on his childhood and internet habits.

The legendary British star began his acting career while studying at college and went on to become one of the most well respected thespians in the industry thanks to his work on stage and screen.

One of his most iconic roles is Gandalf in The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit franchises. Hobbit co-star Martin Freeman sat down to interview Ian for British magazine ShortList, with the two men chatting about the magic of television when it was first invented and how it compares to the way people reacted to the internet.

“I think it’s similar to my own feelings about the internet. I was always a late adopter because I didn’t take it seriously,” Martin said.

“I haven’t got it still…” Ian replied.

“I have nearly four million Facebook followers or likes or something. But I’m a grumpy old man when I go on the Tube, and I’ve got a script in my hand or a newspaper and my eyes are closed because I’m thinking about something or simply nodding off.

“And everybody else is wired. They’re listening to music with things in their ears. They’re sending messages to people. None of them are where I am, which is travelling on a Tube with lots of strangers. They’re unaware.”

The two men spoke at length about Ian’s career and the new Hobbit film, as well as the difference between plays and movies.

Touching on 75-year-old Ian’s childhood, Martin inquired about his cinema habits as a youngster, with the older actor revealing he wasn’t allowed to go, as his parents thought of it dangerous.

“Isn’t it funny? But the cinemas as I remember them in Wigan [British town] were flea pits. Canoodling in the back row, things you wouldn't do in the theatre. And foreign as well, American. There’s something wholesome about the theatre,” Ian explained.

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