Sir Ian McKellen sat down with The Los Angeles Times on the eve of the premiere of his new miniseries The Prisoner to talk about gay rights, turning 70 and Gandalf, a role he may well return to next year in planned two-part movie version of The Hobbit.
The Tony-winning, two-time Oscar nominated actor told the Times that adjusting to life as a septuagenarian was rough: "You always think that 70 is the end of the road," he said. "'Somebody died when they were 73; good life.'"
All kidding aside, McKellen got serious when talk turned to gay rights and organized religion. The actor, who came out more than 20 years ago, says he is disillusioned with organized religion. Interestingly, his Prisoner costar, Jim Caviezel, is a devout Roman Catholic and rose to fame when he starred in Mel Gibson's controversial The Passion of the Christ.
"I increasingly see organized religion as actually my enemy. They treat me as their enemy," McKellen says. "Not all Christians, of course. Not all Jews, not all Muslims. But the leaders. . . . Why should I take the judgment of a declared celibate about my sexual needs? He's basing his judgment on laws that would fit life in the Bronze Age. So if I'm lost to God, organized religion is to blame."
The Prisoner, a remake of a 1960's British drama about a big brother society that achieved a cult following after it first aired, premieres Sunday night on AMC.
Read the full interview here.