In an apparent reference to the trip to Durham made by the Deputy Chief Minister, Dominic Cummings, he added: “One of their people very close to the center of power broke the law, so maybe he they were right that there are people who I don’t know how to behave.
The government’s delay in introducing stricter social distancing measures was widely criticized in the early weeks of the coronavirus outbreak, including in an open letter rejecting herd immunity. Signed by more than 500 British scientists, it was published on March 14. The lockdown was ordered on March 23.
McKellen admitted he was “terribly happy” not to be Prime Minister and to lead the country through a pandemic, and that “whatever you do, you will be wrong.”
The actor was speaking at an event, chaired by journalist Patrick Strudwick at London’s Crazy Roosters cabaret, in which he and American author Armistead Maupin discussed their careers and long-lasting friendship. Maupin, who 30 years ago dedicated one of his Tales of the City books to McKellen, said he wrote seven chapters of a new novel in the series, Mona of the Manor, focusing on her character Mona Ramsey. McKellen credited Maupin with helping him become gay. “I think I was kind of ready,” he told her, adding, “You reached out to me and pulled me into the real world.
The couple discussed their shared passion for the theater, with Maupin recalling making his stage debut at the age of six as one of the children murdered in Medea, and saying the recent 80th anniversary solo show de McKellen had left him eager to make one of his own. McKellen discussed the recent news that once lockdown restrictions are relaxed he will return to the theater as Hamlet. He said it would never have crossed his mind to play the role, but director Sean Matthias suggested it and he was intrigued and agreed.
Playing the Prince of Denmark in his 80s – when “young Hamlet” as he is called is generally considered 30 years old to the oldest – was a way of “seeing how much we need to see what we hear” , McKellen says. The character is “so witty, so on the ball,” he added, and he can’t wait to return to a role he played before in 1971. “I didn’t think I was good,” he said. he noticed, ”and neither did anyone else.
McKellen said the lockdown is the longest time he hasn’t played and has been like “forced retirement.” He has his own project to write a play, which will revolve around two real people. The only catch, he says, is that he doesn’t yet know how to organize their meeting.