Ian McKellen: Being yourself is difficult

Updated: Nov 28, 2019, 08:25 IST | IANS | Los Angeles

The film shows the tension and drama that arise when things turn more intense than just a simple con job

Ian McKellen
Ian McKellen

Veteran star Ian McKellen says the one thing he hates about his job is having to be on display as himself. "I don't know. If they're successful at keeping secrets, how would I know? There are things that one does, one simply doesn't talk about. I think that may be true of everybody. But having a secret is only part of what it is to be a human being, in that we select which part of ourselves we decide to have on display," McKellen said when asked if it is fair to say that everyone has secrets.

"In one-to-one situation, that's relatively easy, but if you're talking to a disparate group of people, who is Ian McKellen on that occasion? And am I holding on to a secret if I just present one side of myself? It's difficult being yourself, I think. The side of acting -- of the job -- I don't really like is having to be on display as myself. But one's forced to be. Here I am, talking about myself, but most of the time I spend my life talking about other people," he added.

The 80-year-old feels human beings are very good at lying.
"When you're quite young, you will have a different vocabulary when talking to your grandparents than you will when talking to your mates in the playground. You don't even think about it. You might have a different accent altogether. When those worlds collide, of course, it gets complicated and unsettling. When your friends meet your parents for the first time, what are you playing? Are you playing the mate, or are you playing the son? All the world's a stage and all the men and women merely players. All the world is a screen," he added.

On the work front, he is looking forward to the release of "The Good Liar", which also stars Helen Mirren. Warner Bros. Pictures will release "The Good Liar" in India on November 29. Directed by Bill Condon, the film is based on the acclaimed novel of the same name by Nicholas Searle. It tells the story of con artist Roy Courtnay (McKellen), who meets wealthy widow Betty McLeish (Mirren) on a dating website. The film shows the tension and drama that arise when things turn more intense than just a simple con job.

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