Ian McKellen: Why I smooched Smith
Sir Ian McKellen describes Will Smith as a "charmer".
The veteran actor appeared opposite the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air star in 1993 movie Six Degrees of Separation. It marked Will's breakthrough role on the big screen after winning fans over in his TV show, but Ian thinks there's one thing the 46-year-old could have done differently.
"He arrived for the read-through with a huge entourage – his family, his agent, his publicity person, his acting coach, his nanny! He was a charmer, and a good actor," Ian told British magazine Time Out London. "But he did one silly thing: he refused to kiss another boy on-screen, even though it was there in the script. Which was why, at an early preview, I met him in public outside the cinema and gave him a great big kiss on the lips."
Ian has been open about his homosexuality throughout his career and is pleased to see how far gay rights have progressed. People in Ireland recently voted to legalise same-sex marriage and Ian is hopeful other Catholic countries will follow in the Emerald Isle's footsteps.
The star has been in the public eye since the 60s, iconic parts such as wizard Gandalf in The Lord of the Rings franchise and Magneto in the X-Men flicks. Looking back Ian doesn't think his journey to stardom was as difficult as it is for the current crop of aspiring actors.
"I know it’s extremely difficult for an acting student to get their first job. The lucky ones are those whose face is right, and maybe their accent is right, and they land a wonderful part and draw attention to themselves. Whereas I had to learn, and there were opportunities available to do so. But how’s a young actor supposed to live in London today? They’re all working in coffee bars," he sighed.
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