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Ian McKellen advised Patrick Stewart not to do Star Trek and 9 other things we learned from his Reddit AMA

The 76-year-old star talked Star Trek, secret recipes and the stolen front door key that Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson is still looking for...

Published: Thursday, 16th July 2015 at 9:30 am

Ian McKellen has done a Reddit Ask Me Anything – and obviously it's a must-read for fans of the Lord of the Rings, X-Men and Mr Holmes star. The 76-year-old revealed all sorts about himself, from the problems he faces as a knight of the realm (it's not all medals and tea with the Queen) to the props he couldn't resist pinching from the set of The Hobbit... 


Here are the 10 things we discovered during McKellen's tell-all chat: 

He told Patrick Stewart not to do Star Trek

"Patrick and I have known each other since we in the Royal Shakespeare Company in the 70s. I'm the guy who advised him not to do Star Trek. We've recently become friends through X-Men and we did two plays together. And I married him to his lady Sunny. So all and all we've become very close to each other." There's no word on why he warned Stewart off playing Picard – one for his next AMA?

He reckons being a knight has its downsides

"The one slight problem is that sometimes the title gets in the way. Particularly backstage or on set when I much prefer not to have it used."

He should probably have his own cooking show 

Asked what his go-to home cooked meal was, McKellen swiftly replied: "I'll give you the recipe. Slice potatoes thinly. Slice onions thinly. Grate some strong cheddar cheese. You slice some small tomatoes. And you layer those ingredients. And put them in a medium oven for one hour. And to make sure it's delicious as it always is, pour a little single cream over the potatoes, which should be the top layer. Very comforting, quite nutritious, easy to make. Astound your friends."

He's a tad forgetful 

"I forget people's birthdays. I forget people's names. I sometimes forget what I did yesterday. And at 76 there's an awful lot of forgetfulness that I can't do anything about. But overall, forgetfulness is because you're lazy."

He stole Bag End's front door key 

And quite a few other keepsakes from the set of Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit... "I think my favourite set – that I didn't act in – was the golden lair, where the dragon was hiding. Hundreds of thousands of golden coins, specially made. And if you don't tell anyone, I can tell you that I have some of those coins. Along with the front door key to Bag End, which I know Peter Jackson is looking for, but will never find."

He would never fight a Hobbit

Talking of Hobbits, McKellen revealed that we'll never see him in a bust up with a Hobbit (in case you were wondering), after a fan posed this question: Would you rather fight 100 Hobbit-sized Balrogs, or 1 Balrog-sized Hobbit? "I would never fight a Hobbit, no matter his size. So I would have to go with the first. 100 Hobbit-sized Balrogs is easy. Easy," McKellen replied. 

He doesn't see much of the Fellowship

"We planned to meet each year once filming was complete. But so far we never have – unless of course, the other 8 are meeting without letting me know... :) The one I see most of, is Orlando Bloom. When we were both acting on Broadway we had adjacent apartments in New York City."

He's still not a fan of CGI 

"I would request that wherever possible, the actors should be in the same space and able to look at each other. The fact is, I was never allowed to look Elijah Wood in the eyes. Nor Martin Freeman. In order to create the illusion of different heights. Not easy."

He has some brilliant advice up his sleeve

Asked "what advice do you have for LGBT Millenneals?" McKellen replied: "My advice to you is to keep your jeans dry. And for the rest, be out and be honest and change the world."

And he's got his eye on another Shakespearean role "before he retires from acting"


"Perhaps Antonio, in The Merchant of Venice, because he is one of the very few obviously gay characters in Shakespeare."

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