During filming of The Hobbit, Hollywood pensioner Ian Mckellen cried tears of frustration at being forced to shoot scenes that insulted his thespian sensibilities.
The theatrical tart who had a taste for treading the boards and reciting pure Shakespeare in his younger days, has discarded his puritan ways in recent decades in favour of the dynamic bang for your buck the movers and shakers of tinsel town can offer.
The Laurence Olivier award-winning knight of the realm who once played the titular part in Macbeth, has become more famous in latter years for playing an evil mutant in a strange looking helmet who goes by the name of Magneto, and of course, a pipe-smoking, ass-kicking, staff wielding wizard who hangs around with little people with big feet and nods sagely whilst staring into the distance.
Yet when the time came for ‘Serena’ as Sir Ian McKellen is affectionately known in the gay community, to pull on the wig, beard, and cloak of Gandalf the Grey for the fourth time and save Middle Earth from annihilation, the 73-year-old found himself crying in frustration and howling with artistic rage as he lamented, “This is not why I became an actor.”
Serena’s beef was with the fact that during the filming for Peter Jackson’s soon-to-be-released ‘The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey’, he was required to shoot scenes on his own with a green screen instead of other actors.
The melancholy wizard explained, “In order to shoot the dwarves and a large Gandalf, we couldn’t be in the same set. All I had for company was 13 photographs of the dwarves on top of stands with little lights – whoever’s talking flashes up. Pretending you’re with 13 other people when you’re on your own, it stretches your technical ability to the absolute limits. I cried, actually. I cried. Then I said out loud, ‘This is not why I became an actor’.”
Which begs the question why does anyone become an actor? Putting the considerable fame and money aside, acting in not a profession it’s a whimsical fancy everyone indulges in their childhood called “Let’s pretend and make believe.”
Most of us grow out of it and accept the responsibilities and duties of adulthood, but a rare few persevere with this madness and call it an art form. Which is all well and fine, considering these strange creatures are rewarded considerably with both money and fame for their insincere and juvenile ways, and lest we forget, we all like a good movie.
Yet when these self same actors and masters of masks start breaking down in tears because they are asked to act in isolation and be convincingly false to a ball on a stick, instead of a real person, then how can anyone take them seriously in a world which just isn’t like the movies in any shape or form.