ALL IS TRUE
IAN McKELLEN (Earl of Southampton) had just completed 100
performances of his second
"King Lear" when he shot his scenes in ALL IS TRUE, an appropriate way to
celebrate that run
by meeting Shakespeare himself, in what appeared to be Stratford 500 years ago.
Since his teen
years of queuing overnight at the old Memorial Theatre, McKellen has felt the
thrall of Stratford.
The acting giants of his youth triumphed there in Shakespeare's plays-and he was
part of the
Royal Shakespeare Company's good fortunes in the 1970s and 1980s, as Macbeth to
Lady Macbeth, Romeo to Francesca Annis's Juliet, Iago to Willard White's
Othello, as well as in
productions of Marlowe, Ibsen, Shaw, and Brecht.
At Stratford, in London, on tour in UK and worldwide, he played Coriolanus,
Leontes, Toby Belch,
Henry V, Hamlet, and Iago. His recognition as a classical actor came in 1969
with "Richard II" at
Edinburgh International Festival. Alternating with Marlowe's "Edward II," he
toured, played two
sold out seasons in London, which were televised. He will be reprising these and
in his forthcoming solo show: "It's not so much a farewell tour as 'Here I am
Again!' I'm mainly
revisiting theatres I remember with affection from Wigan Little Theatre where I
saw my first
Shakespeare to the Duke of York's in London where I made my professional West
End debut in
1964. But I'll also be in Ballymena (where the McKellens hail from), Inverness
and my local Theatre Royal Stratford East-all for the first time."
McKellen's film work stretches from RICHARD III and GODS AND MONSTERS, to
Earth and Marvel's X-MEN. He will soon be seen in Bill Condon's THE GOOD LIAR
Helen Mirren) and as Gus the Theatre Cat in the Tom Hooper movie of CATS,
opposite Judi Dench
as Deuteronomy. "This has made up for the Earl of Southampton's not meeting Judi
Hathaway at home," he says. "In the stills I particularly like her tall hat,
though the Earl has a
dashing one of his own."
His favorite roles include the title role in Stephen Frears' "Walter," the
very first "Film on Four";
Widow Twankey in "Aladdin," two years running at the Old Vic; Mel Hutchwright for
of "Coronation Street,"' fooling with Rick Gervais in "Extras" ("How do I act so
with Derek Jacobi in "Vicious."
ALL IS TRUE is the first time he's worked with Kenneth Branagh, although he
was asked to be
in the film of HENRY V. "I was busy elsewhere, alas," he says. "I remember Simon
his orchestra was tearful recording the "Te Deum" retreat from battle. If Ken
had not so completely
achieved that film and subsequent Shakespeare, I wouldn't have dared try and
film RICHARD III.
I've admired his theatre work too-its purposefulness and daring. Working with
him at last was
potentially unnerving. Not only was I facing the Branagh persona, there too was
they were both the director! It was a great relief to be told by all three at
the end of our day together,
that all was well."
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