Ian McKellen says that he isn’t considering retiring anytime soon, despite one critic suggesting that it might be time.
By the time I’m 84 years old, I would hope that I’ve been retired for some time, but that’s not something Ian McKellen is considering.
While speaking with Variety, Ian McKellen said that while he’s constantly reminded of his mortality, he’s in no hurry to quit acting. “Retire to do what?” McKellen said. “I’ve never been out of work, but I’m aware that any minute now something could happen to me which could prevent me from ever working again. But while the knees hold up and the memory remains intact, why shouldn’t I carry on? I really feel I’m quite good at this acting thing now.“
Although Ian McKellen isn’t considering retiring, he says that a critic who attended previews of his recent stage comedy Frank and Percy suggested that he should. The harsh review took aim at McKellen for messing up some lines, which he says was due to being “insufficiently acquainted with the text.” McKellen added, “Instead of understanding that this happens from time to time, this critic says it was evidence that it was time for Ian McKellen to stop acting. Maybe I should challenge this man to a podcast where we could debate it.” After taking a brief moment, he reconsidered. “Perhaps that’s not a wise thing to do. It might just draw more attention to it. After all, I’ve long ago made my peace with critics.“
Ian McKellen’s latest role actually has him taking on the role of a theater critic himself. Set during the rise of fascism in pre-WWII England, The Critic is a tale of ambition and deceit in the theater world that stars Ian McKellen and Gemma Arterton as adversaries forced to take desperate measures to save their careers.
“As the new steward of London’s Chronicle, David Brooke (Mark Strong) seeks to revive the financially troubled daily as the country’s most-read family paper. In the firing line is long time theater critic Jimmy Erksine (McKellen), whose extravagant prose and personal ‘proclivities’ are distasteful to David,” reads the official synopsis. “Jimmy has a lot to lose as an elderly gay man in a culture and legal system deeply hostile to homosexuality. Yet he cannot resist writing the flamboyantly merciless critiques that are his trademark. Actor Nina Land (Arterton) — for whom the married David secretly carries a torch — is a regular target for Jimmy’s most withering remarks. As pressure to appease his employer mounts, Jimmy concocts a plot to entrap both David and Nina — herself secretly in love with a married painter (Ben Barnes). But with the Blackshirts taking to the streets amid anti-queer police raids, Jimmy may be grossly overestimating his ability to emerge from his elaborate scheme unscathed.“
The Critic recently debuted at the Toronto International Film Festival, which our own Chris Bumbray is currently attending.