Ian McKellen: 'To imagine a career would come to an end when it's actually been so interwoven into life, I can't imagine it!'
- Katherine McLaughlin
- 8 November 2019
Veteran actor discusses celebrating his 80th year and his latest role in Bill Condon's mystery thriller, The Good Liar
Sir Ian McKellen is a larger than life presence. Sitting across from him at a large round table in a hotel suite room, it occasionally feels like we're having a relaxed chinwag at Bilbo Baggins shire cottage. He sets a genial atmosphere, booming with laughter and radiating wisdom. For his latest film he's teamed up once again with director Bill Condon (Gods and Monsters, Mr Holmes) who has adapted Nicholas Searle's novel The Good Liar. It is, however, the first time he has worked on a film with Dame Helen Mirren who plays a wealthy widow. McKellen's conman meets her online and sets up a scheme to steal her money. 'Have you seen the film?', he enquires when asked to comment on his scenes with Mirren. 'That's more than I have!' he laughs.
On working with Mirren on a film, McKellen says, 'It was like I thought it would be. It was jolly good fun!' And on the reasons he continues to work with Condon he chirpily explains, 'Bill always treads a wonderful atmosphere, whether it's a big film or a small film. He's always in charge, but always excited to be there as if he's at someone else's party, rather than the one he's organised. When it comes to Bill I have total confidence. You know it's going to be brilliantly lit and photographed, you know the costumes are going to be fantastic. You know the whole production around him will be great, you know it will be very well cast. What's to complain about?'