Veteran actor Ian McKellen has attacked Hollywood’s timidity in depicting minorities on screen.
The 78-year-old actor, famous for his roles in “Lord of the Rings” series and the “X-Men” franchise, is openly gay and has been an outspoken advocate for LGBTQ rights.
In an interview with Time Out, McKellen was asked about the controversy surrounding the decision not to show the young Dumbledore as “explicitly gay” in the upcoming “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” sequel.
“Well, nobody looks to Hollywood for social commentary, do they? They only recently discovered that there were black people in the world. Hollywood has mistreated women in every possible way throughout its history. Gay men don’t exist,” McKellen replied.
The actor credited 1998 film “Gods and Monsters”, in which he starred as director James Whale, as being the “beginning of Hollywood admitting that there were gay people knocking around, even though half of Hollywood is gay.”
McKellen, who revealed his sexuality publicly in a BBC Radio interview 30 years ago, recalled he was once denied a role because he was a homosexual.
Recounting a story of when he auditioned for Harold Pinter’s 1983 film “Betrayal”, McKellen said producer Sam Speigel asked him if he would be taking his family with him on a trip to New York.
“I said, ‘I don’t have a family, I’m gay’. I think it was the first time I came out to anyone. Well, I was out of that office in two minutes. It took Pinter 25 years to apologise for not sticking up for me,” the actor said.