Without the man who brought a wizard named Gandalf to life, Friends might have been an entirely different show – or, at least, lacking the quirks of dino-loving Ross Geller.
While at a pre-screening of the pilot episode AMC series Feed the Beast, David Schwimmer credited Ian McKellen with inspiring him to become an actor:
“Somewhere in high school I went to see a one-man show of Ian McKellen. At that time, he did this one man show called Acting Shakespeare. And he toured it to UCLA, and my parents took me to see him. And that was the moment that I remember sitting there and I couldn’t believe it.”
“I watched this guy without any props, or makeup, or changes of clothing or anything — I watched him simply sit in a chair and stand occasionally, and transform into about 12 different lead characters from the greatest of Shakespeare’s plays. And I couldn’t believe it, it was like a magic trick. He suddenly became 300-pound Falstaff, or you know what I mean? I just watched this man change. And that’s when I knew I had to try to do that. I just thought, wow; it was incredible, very moving, and very funny. I think that was the moment for me, really.”
Feed the Beast stars Schwimmer as an alcoholic trying to put his life back together by opening a restaurant in New York City and will premiere in June.
Sign up to the Radio Times newsletter for the latest TV and entertainment news