McKellen says King Lear role makes him nervous

Award-winning actor Ian McKellen today said playing the title character in Shakespeare’s King Lear, was more rewarding than recent film roles such as Gandalf in 'The Lord of the Rings'.

Award-winning actor Ian McKellen today said playing the title character in Shakespeare’s King Lear, was more rewarding than recent film roles such as Gandalf in 'The Lord of the Rings'.

Speaking in Singapore, McKellen said that being asked to play the role of King Lear made him more nervous than the role of Gandalf, the sagacious wizard from 'The Lord of the Rings' and that of the X-Men villain, Magneto.

“I’d never read ’Lord of the Rings’ until I was asked to play Gandalf, so I didn’t really know it was a frightfully famous book,” McKellen said.

“I had never come across the ’X-Men’ comics till I was asked to play Magneto, so I just jumped into that job.”

McKellen’s performance as Gandalf earned him his second Academy Awards nomination while in 'X-Men', the British actor plays Magneto, a villainous mutant who uses his ability to control metals to take on his heroic fellow freaks of nature.

“King Lear, I’ve been seeing all my life. I mean, the great actors of my lifetime ... to join their company, as it were, by playing a part that’s challenged them, is one of the great joys of being an actor who does the classics,” McKellen said. “Without doubt, Lear is the one I got most nervous about.”

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