The fledgling tiff between Ian McKellen and Damian Lewis is starting to get a little confusing…
It all began with comments made by the Homeland actor to The Guardian back in October. Speaking about his early career worries, Lewis expressed a fear of “the idea that I would be one of these slightly over-the-top, fruity actors who would have an illustrious career on stage, but wouldn’t start getting any kind of film work until I was 50 and then start playing wizards.” Ouch.
Whilst McKellen’s name was never mentioned, we can all agree it’s pretty clear who he was talking about. The star of The Hobbit and Vicious responded in the Christmas edition of Radio Times: “So he feels sorry for me, does he? Well I’m very happy, he needn’t worry about me.”
What about that “fruity voice”? “Well, it may be a voice that is trained like an opera singer’s voice: to fill a large space. It is unnatural. Actors have to be heard and their voice may therefore develop a sonorous quality that they can’t quite get rid of, so you think actors are as pompous as their voice is large. I suppose Damian was thinking of that a little bit, too.”
1-0 McKellen. Lewis – clearly embarrassed by his thinly-veiled remarks – then released a statement on Wednesday night, saying, “I am hugely embarrassed that comments of mine have been linked in a negative way to Sir Ian McKellen. I have always been, and continue to be, an enormous fan and admirer of Sir Ian’s.
“He’s one of the greats and one of the reasons I became an actor. My comment in the Guardian was a soundbite I’ve been giving since 1999 – it was a generic analogy that was never intended to demean or describe anyone else’s career. I have contacted Sir Ian McKellen and have given him my sincerest apologies.”
Now McKellen has in turn taken to Twitter to heap his own praise on his former critic…
There was no need for @Lewis_Damian to apologise to me, as I thought his comments were fair. But he's a gentleman.