Ian McKellen hits back against Damian Lewis’s ‘fruity actor’ shade

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I don’t know how I missed this (??), but it seems like Damian Lewis gave an interview a few months ago where he shaded Sir Ian McKellen. HARD. Now, I like both Damian and Ian a lot – they are different kinds of actors from different generations and they think differently about the work, but I enjoy them both immensely. But Damian’s quotes about Sir Ian (although Damian left him unnamed) were completely off-side. Damian told The Guardian in October:

“[In my 20s,] I started to feel that the theatre world was rather a small one. I’ve always equated life with travel, with places to see and go. Theatre takes away your evenings and weekends. And after six or seven years, it really started to bother me that I was going to work when everyone else was coming home. I was dying to just get up in the morning and live the day.” What does that say about him? “I don’t know. It might mean that at heart I’m quite conventional. Maybe yearning for something that was a bit more structured. But, of course, preferable to getting on the tube at 7am to go to an office and turn in a full solid day.” He worried that he was backing his career into a corner. “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.”

[Via The Guardian]

If you go and read the full Guardian piece, Damian is speaking off the cuff about a number of things, including feminism, his children, Homeland’s crappy second season and much more, any of which could be “controversial.” I guess this particular “fruity actor” quote didn’t get much traction because he left Ian unnamed – but how many over-50 actors are playing wizards, really?

Anyway, Ian McKellen is currently giving interviews to support his two plays with Patrick Stewart, plus his part in Desolation of Smaug. Radio Times asked Ian about Damian’s comments, and Ian had a lot to say:

Speaking to the Radio Times as he prepares to reprise his most enduring role as bearded wizard Gandalf in new Hobbit sequel The Desolation Of Smaug, the 74-year-old hit back at ‘jobbing actor’ Lewis.

‘I wouldn’t like to have been one of those actors who hit stardom quite early on and expected it to continue and was stuck doing scripts that I didn’t particularly like just to keep the income up. I’ve always wanted to get better as an actor. And I have got better. You’ve only got to see my early work to see that. As for a fruity voice? Well, it may be a voice that is trained like an opera singer’s voice: to fill a large space. It’s unnatural.’

He added: ‘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.’

McKellen, currently appearing in two separate Broadway productions, cut his teeth in the theatre before branching into film and television in his thirties – with high profile roles in The X-Men and Lord Of The Rings franchises his most enduring to date. Describing Lewis’s remarks as ‘fair comment,’ the openly gay actor admitted a recent role in sitcom Vicious – in which he plays one half of a gay couple alongside Derek Jacobi – was ‘over the top’ because, like theatre, he was performing in front of a live audience.

‘No one needs to feel sorry for me or (Harry Potter actor) Michael Gambon or anyone else who has fallen victim to success,’ he said.

McKellan also expressed sadness at the decision many mainstream stars take to keep their homosexuality a secret for fear that coming out might harm their careers.

He said: ‘It’s true of A-lists all over the world – A-list priests, A-list politicians. What will other people think? Will people still vote for me? Will people come and see me act? They’re warned by the people who surround them – agents and managers, who have a living to make and are worried that the actor will get pigeonholed. You don’t have to be straight to play Gandalf. Anyway, who said that Gandalf isn’t gay? I loved it when JK Rowling said that Dumbledore was gay.’

[From The Daily Mail]

I don’t think Ian even went as hard after Damian as some other actors would have, although I can feel Ian’s pain from here. Ian IS a fine actor and bless him, he’s gotten better with age. It’s also a bonus that he just seems to be having the time of his life these days too – he doesn’t feel the need to impress people or go for broke with some heart-wrenching, soul-crushing awards-bait film – Ian’s too busy playing Magneto and Gandalf and posting wonderful photos on his Twitter. Some may consider it fruity, I consider it A Life Well Spent.

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Photos courtesy of WENN, Twitter.

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110 Responses to “Ian McKellen hits back against Damian Lewis’s ‘fruity actor’ shade”

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  1. Insomniac says:

    Yes, I’m sure Ian just hates getting big roles in popular franchises in his 70s, Damian. And “fruity”? Seriously? What an ass. Team McKellen.

    • LadyMTL says:

      Team McKellen forever! Damian Lewis wishes he had McKellen’s success and his talent. It’s like…jealous much, Damian?

      • Belle Epoch says:

        Exactly what I was going to say! Ian can do no wrong. As an actor he can convey more with one eyebrow than others can with their entire bodies. I’ll take happy and “fruity” over self-absorbed, rude and boring any day! Team McKlellen!

    • Cherry says:

      Same here! What a classy, well-put response to a dumb-ass comment. Well done, sir Ian.

    • LadySlippers says:

      Besides, we all need to increase our fruit and vegetable intake. And I’m more than happy to include the fruit called Ian in order to meet my daily requirements.

  2. Londerland says:

    …Damian Lewis’ wife is Helen McRory, isn’t she? Didn’t she play Narcissa Malfoy? Must have been frosty in their house after she read the article.

    • Lindy79 says:

      Her botox brows are very distracting

    • Spooks says:

      Helen is amazing. He’s an ass, though.

    • MaiGirl says:

      I don’t know anything about her, but I would have been a bit angry about the “man of the house” comment, especially when he makes it clear that she has sacrificed more for the family than he has. That, plus the clearly homophobic shade to IM makes me wish I hadn’t read the interview, because I do really like his acting.

  3. Jessiebes says:

    Awe, he doesn’t need to defend himself at all! He is great, love him.

    • Cecilia says:

      I agree with you. No need to defend himself against another mans’ opinion. I am sure Ian is solid with whom he is. A very great man told me once, “there is great weakness in defense.”
      Ian is wonderful. Love him.

  4. Lindy79 says:

    Lewis’ comments on this angered me so much. He has one hit show which has rapidly sped down the hill to mediocrity (it had better not win any Emmys/Globes next year as it doesnt deserve them, and I say that as someone who loved season 1) and he thinks that he can throw shade at actors who have ten times the career he will ever have. McKellen has shown an incredible amount of grace and restraint in not going after him more harshly.
    #TeamMcKellen
    (seriously, his acting in Homeland makes my teeth itch. His shouting voice sounds like someone with laryngitis straining for a poop)

    • tifzlan says:

      True. Homeland 3 is so painful to watch.

    • cynthia says:

      Yeah homeland is one of the only shows I’ve seen go from a 10 to a 4 so fast. First season it was a compelling spy drama. Season 2 it was a weird love story where the rules of logic don’t apply. It has picked up in season 3 but that’s because I’ve lost all expectations for it. And it got so bad because brody was supposed to die in season one. So thanks a lot damien!

      • Tiffany :) says:

        I couldn’t watch Season 3. After season 2 they showed me that they didn’t have the courage to NOT have sacred cows…They should have killed off Damien but kept him around to keep the actor (and the actors playing his family) employed. It didn’t serve the story.

        The concept of following the terrorist division in the CIA is such fertile ground for story telling…there is just no reason to keep them focused on the same one guy for so long.

    • Secret Squirrel says:

      Ha ha, that’s hilarious. I have never watched Homeland but I might just have to watch an episode to catch that shouting voice at least once! I find DL quite unattractive.

      • Lindy79 says:

        Hard to find examples and these aren’t great but
        Its like whisper shouting, you know, like you would do when you’re arguing with someone but you don’t want to wake your flatmate or have your neighbours hear.

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OMIJ1JlAKhQ

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pMcPXC1w7MQ

        His American accent in general grates on me too, he does something weird with his mouth to form the sounds.

      • Evi says:

        I loved Sir Ian’s comment about DL accepting scripts that were lame. Homeland is going to hell in a hand basket.

      • Secret Squirrel says:

        Thanks Lindy. I think it was his terrible accent in the ads that put me off watching Homeland. Unfortunately DL’s comments have put to end any desire I had to ever watch the show at all. I think Ian would be a great dinner party guest. So much wisdom and lots of interesting Hollywood stories to tell!

    • K says:

      He had more than one show, though. I’m not sure if these were hits, but they did get critical acclaim:
      The Forsyte Saga, Band of Brothers, Life…

      His comments were asinine, however.

  5. treefingers says:

    100% Team McKellen.

  6. Sixer says:

    I think there is a lot less shade in what Lewis said than is being taken – although it was clearly an ill-judged and tactless thing to say. But he likely meant that he didn’t want to end up a luvvie – as anyone who knows much about the British theatre world could probably understand. I don’t think he was digging at Surian personally.

    • Lindy79 says:

      I wouldn’t have had issue if he said exactly that, he didn’t want to end up a theater luvvie, I get exactly what you mean there.

      • Sixer says:

        I think that’s what he meant. It’s a very closed and incestuous world. Also hard to break out of and into Hwood because you are the booming, plummy-voiced Brit. Surian and Surpat have managed it, but they are special ones, you know?

        Poorly expressed and unfortunate, though. But Lewis isn’t a bitch, so I can’t see that he would be casting personal shade.

    • T.fanty says:

      While I agree that it isn’t really a shade of IM, it’s more arrogant than tactless. And definitely a bit bitchy, although not quite Laurence Fox level. And Surian (love that), quite rightly, doesn’t give a flying feck.

      Sir Ian has also been quite open in his relationship to Gandald (and not in the floozie way). He sent it up on extras and was quite frank about not really wanting to reprise the role for The Hobbit.

    • lower-case deb says:

      Sorry for the thread-jacking but…
      THE TWO SURS and Luvvie Alert:
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rZ5xdq2qd-Y

    • Leigh says:

      Then what was up with the “wizard” reference? He could’ve just said “theatre luvvie”…
      It was a thoughtless comment but,I suppose he’s allowed to have his opinion…. As for surian. Love him. He didn’t deserve the be the standout tag line in Damian’s need for validation as a TV actor.

    • Reece says:

      Yep, it took me a good minute to figure our Surian and Surpat.
      I even googled it. lol

      What ever he meant, I found it bitchy and unprofessional.

    • icerose says:

      We do not if the comment was taken out of context but if it was not Damien needs to choose his words more carefully and not leave it to others to interpret on his behalf. What annoyed most was that as an openly gay actor/advocate it was harder for McKellen to get Hollywood roles when he was Damien’s age,
      Damien is an OK actor but his talent pales in comparison so why he even begins to start in on McKellen amazed m when I originally read this some weeks ago. He made a choice to go for film/TV stardom so why justify it but knocking someone else.
      I admire Damien despite not being a huge Homeland fan ( great first season but predictable season 2/3) but a bit like the Fox incident singling out another actor publically for their career choices just minimised my respect for them.

    • Maria says:

      I think you may have nailed it. I remember reading some previous article where it was said that both he and his wife were concerned that they might end up as theatre luvvies (whatever that means – I’m a Yank, so I’m guessing they mean what we mean when we described something -detrimentally – as ‘precious’). I don’t think he meant to shade Ian for his sexuality, although it was read as such unfortunately. I also remember the actor Brian Cox lamenting the closed society that is the London Theatre scene, which was why he went into film so often, so early – as the first actor to portray Hannibal Lector for instance.

  7. Beth says:

    Bitch better recognize!

  8. yael says:

    ian mckellen: keeping it classy.

    damian lewis: obvs jealous. needs to get over himself.

  9. MO says:

    Got to admit Homeland this season has been BORING except for the episodes with Lewis in them. I can only take so much of Carrie and Saul talking CIA politics. The best episode this season was “Tower of David” which was all Brody. I bet he asks for a lot more money next season or again only appears in a fraction of the shows.

    Bashing Ian Mc was a pretty dumb/inappropriate thing to do. We all say inappropriate things about others, just not to the press as a rule.

  10. NerdMomma says:

    Ian’s response was the height of classy. Just classy, classy, classy.

  11. MrsBPitt says:

    Can’t…stand…Damian Lewis! In a couple of years, we will all be saying, Damian who? And then he will be begging to play a wizard in any movie! All successful, working actors, should bow down and kiss the ground they walk on! Maximum money, for minimal work. I’m not saying acting can’t be “hard” work, but it sure beats driving a truck, or working at Walmart for crap money. If I could play a wizard in a movie, once every couple of years, and earn a couple million dollars, I would be in Heaven! Lewis isn’t fit to wipe Sir Ian’s boots!

  12. LAK says:

    Actors shade each other all the time in Britain. no big deal. The British theatre luvvies are so bitchy, incestous and contemptous of those who make it in America who they regard as sell outs. And the ones who make it in America are always trying to justify their American careers to their fellow British theatre luvvies. It goes back and forth and is incredibly bitchy all the time.

    BTW: Homeland may have brought DL to the attention of American audiences, but he has been a star in Britain for many years. His big break out hit was the TV show: The Forsyte Saga.

    • Myrto says:

      Great point. The British acting scene (TV, movie, theatre) is so small, you always end up seeing the same faces in TV shows (it’s a great game to play btw), so no wonder there’s a bit of jealousy for anyone who goes to America.
      And I don’t think Lewis was really shading Ian McKellen, just pointing out the kind of career he didn’t want for himself. Ok, so it’s a little bitchy. But just a little.
      Unpopular opinion: I don’t care about Ian McKellen, it’s true that the only movies he’s been in were those huge franchises (The Lord of the Ring and X-Men) and he’s never impressed me as an actor. But apparently he’s the darling of the internet.

      • Lindy79 says:

        Em I don’t think it’s accurate to say they’re “the only movies he’s been in”. They’re just the ones that had the most commercial success yes, but he’s been in movies and also tv since he started acting (not to mention that Pet Shop Boys video haha)
        Fair enough you don’t like him though.

      • Tig says:

        Thanks for the insight- my SO and I joke all the time it must be great getting cast in one BBC production that then comes to PBS, bec then you see those same actors over and over again. Not that most of them aren’t great, but just seems that once the ice is broken and you’re “in”- you keep getting the gigs.

        To me his comments re theater life are like what I have heard re restaurant life- all night time. Admittedly could have re-phrased his comment to make it less actor-specific.

      • lunchcoma says:

        McKellan has been in lots of movies over the years. Gods and Monsters is one of the more notable non-franchise ones – he was nominated for an Oscar for that.

    • Tulip Garden says:

      Agree with LAK. I like both actors so there is that. I will say that the only thing I know Lewis from is Band of Brothers and he was fantastic in that. Don’t watch Homeland. McKellan, I think I like because as noted he enjoys the heck outta his life. As a woman watching her mother wither into illness and old-age, it is refreshing, life-affirming, and bittersweet to see someone actually enjoying their golden years…..and, I just made myself weepy :(

      • Lindy79 says:

        Aww, I hope you’re ok Tulip xx

      • LAK says:

        oh Tulip. :( internet hug.

      • Tulip Garden says:

        Thanks Lindy79. I expect that this will be our last Christmas with Mama. It is incredibly hard and heart-wrenching. What I find sadder still, though, is the memory of the woman that she was. While I don’t wish for her to live forever with the accompanying pain, anxiety, and degradation of her quality of life, I would love to be able to have her here with her old vivacity, her “self” if you understand. Okay, truly thanks because sometimes it helps to “talk” about. I expect intermittent and inappropriate weepiness will continue but that’s okay, each and every tear is a tribute to her (and I will admit a bit of a pity party for me). Such is life.

      • Tulip Garden says:

        LAK,
        Didn’t see your there, thanks for the hugs. I actually just breathed deep because of it and that helps.

      • bluhare says:

        Tulip, I so understand where you are right now. We went through that with my dad and I’ll get weepy because it’s hard to remember him as he was before old age got him. That’s what gets me the most and I totally understand your feelings about it.

        That being said, enjoy this Christmas if you can. Our first Christmas without dad was last year and you’ve no idea how much we wished he was over there falling asleep and waking up to say “isn’t that a bit drab?”

      • LadySlippers says:

        {{HUGS}} to my fellow flower.

        May MamaTulip have a wonderful, and as healthy as possible, holiday season.

      • Ayre says:

        Well this internet stranger right here is sending you good thoughts. I lost both my parents far too young and this can be a hard time of year. *big hug*

    • manta says:

      I’ve never seen the Forsyte saga but I recently watched a TV movie called Warriors where Damian Lewis, Ioan Gruffudd, Matthew Macfadyen among others played british soldiers sent to Bosnia in 1992, on a UN mission.
      I found all of them very good, very moving and all of their performances riveting.

      • LAK says:

        OMG: i remember that film when it was on TV. Now i feel old!!!

        The only thing i’ve liked Matthew MacFadyen in is Spooks.

      • Thiajoka says:

        @LAK: I like him (MacFadyen) in Ripper Street. And, of course, “Death at a Funeral” (British version, not American version) which had a lot of great actors in it. I finally gave up on “Spooks” (“MI-5″ in the States) after too many staff changes. I think Matthew goes back to the show eventually, but it just got repetitive.

      • LadySlippers says:

        The British version of ‘Death at a Funeral’ is such a delight! Although if you don’t enjoy British humour you may not like it. Peter Dinklage nailed his role in this movie, demonstrating what a incredible actor he is.

        Matthew Macfadyen was also a fantastic creep in the film ‘Incendiary’ with Ewan McGregor and Michelle Williams. ‘Spooks’ was already repetitive in season 2 so I never went on to season 3 (Netflix is wonderful for allowing us American to sample British TV).

    • icerose says:

      I think it use to be the case that UK theatre actors would bitch about those who had gone Hollywood but now a days it is not as prevalent.UK actors tend to move from film to TV to theatre with relative ease. I suspect now a days it is now only those who have struggled to make the cross over that continue to imply that you cannot have success in all three areas. But why Damien even thought that an oblique reference singling out another actor was necessary was beyond me. Probably a “Pooh” bear of little brains moment. But “fruity” just came over as an insult.

  13. Evi says:

    I think he makes a valid point. The theatrical life is not for everyone, but he could have refrained from using terms like ‘fruity’ and plainly insulting Ian McKellen.
    It is as though he is saying that all actors who prefer the theatrical life are all homosexual. It’s quite a generalisation.
    I do wish actors would sometimes shut their mouths and just focus on their work. I currently have about 10 actors on my sh#$%t list at the moment. Each time they say something stupid, I can’t go on watching them on screen because I keep on thinking, ‘they are the idiot who said x y and z’.

  14. Eleonor says:

    I’ve seen Ian McKellen playing Strinberg in London about 10 years ago, and he was amazing.
    SO even if I like Damien a lot he should have kept his mouth closed.

  15. Snazzy says:

    “Ian’s too busy playing Magneto and Gandalf and posting wonderful photos on his Twitter. Some may consider it fruity, I consider it A Life Well Spent.”

    Exactly.

    PS Gandalf and Magneto are not fruity… they are kick a** !!!

  16. paranormalgirl says:

    I think it was a poor choice of words on Mr. Lewis’ part.

  17. Nanou says:

    Team Ian McKellen for me !! His answer just shows how class act he is. He played two iconic characters and got an Oscar nomination for one of them. Yeah ! It’s a pity he got recognition at 50.

  18. Christina says:

    Ugh. Looks like Damian is taking lessons from Claire Danes on how to be a pretentious ingrate. I like him as an actor, but not so much as a person. Ian is a fantastic actor and he seems like a fantastic person as well. I would much rather be at a dinner party with Ian, having fun and enjoying life…than waxing self absorption with creepy faced Damian. He seems like a bore and a stuck up one at that.

  19. Amy Tennant says:

    I love you, Sir Ian!!!

  20. Lindy79 says:

    As an aside, I would love for Surian and Surpat (copyright Sixer) to release a coffee table book of photos such as the Stock Exchange bull one above.
    They are adorable.

  21. Dimebox says:

    Ian McKellen has more talent and knowledge than Lewis will ever possess. This was foolish talk on Damian’s part as it makes him look snarky and unprofessional, and the end result is sympathy for McKellen, who seems justifiably hurt. Team McKellen all day!

  22. kg says:

    I’m really disappointed to read this. I’ve been in a few homeland episodes here in Charlotte, Nc and I have to say Damian is one of the sweetest most engaging actors I’ve ever met. He does so much to form a scene and has in many occasion a personally pulled extras, taught us a bit of how to act and made us a more intrical part of the show. Most others would ignore or scowl at you. He couldn’t be more passionate or welcoming to everyone around him. He’s super funny, too. Sad to see these comments I hope they were not said as harshly as they come across.

  23. Lark says:

    It’s the fruity thing that really pisses me off. Damian is now disgusting in my opinion. It’s one thing to say “flamboyant,” which is already loaded enough, but fruity is beyond the pale. We all know what Damian means by using that word, I’m sure if he ever explains himself he’ll claim he meant one of the literal definitions like that of a mellow voice. Bish please, we all know he meant it in the derogatory slang way in reference to being gay. It’s downright homophobic, and I don’t know why MORE people aren’t calling Damian’s ass out for that. Team Ian, and I hope Damian’s ass fades quickly after this. It’s one thing to gently shade actors, another to get specific and use homophobic terms….and the only people who can call people out (and even then it’s kind of not okay) are the Sir Ian’s and the Sir Patrick’s and the Meryl Streep’s…the people who have been around and established for 30 odd years.

    • Sixer says:

      I think you might be missing British connotations of fruity, which aren’t gay-related. I really don’t think Lewis was being homophobic here. Tactless, yes. Homophobic, no.

  24. Nroth Wset says:

    Damian, remember THIS when your 70…WASHED UP, & TUCKED AWAY in a HOME. We will talk then.

  25. boredsuburbanhousewife says:

    Actually, there are quite a large number of distinguished actors playing Wizards. In addition to Sir Ian, there is or has been Christopher Lee, Michael Gambon, the late Richard Harris, Kenneth Branagh, Jim Broadbent, Ciaran Hinds……

    I didn’t even include the Witches.

    Pretty august company, I would think.

    BTW Homeland Season 3 blows big time. I cannot even muster the interest to catch up.

    • Lindy79 says:

      I’m half sticking with it, in the hope that it gets back to where it was after this series but we shall see.
      I’m seriously hoping they stop underusing some of the supporting cast who are critically underused.
      I’m also hoping they wind Carrie back in, her character was always erratic and obsessive but this “I’m going to clear Brody’s name even if it means I act like a complete lunatic and put entire missions and lives at risk because I’m in love” has become unbearable.
      If she really worked for the CIA she’d have disappeared a long time ago.

    • Mairead says:

      I was just thinking that. He’s lucky The Harris isn’t still alive… He’d come for him with the wand! Oh to be in the room when Gambon rips the piss out of him! :twisted:
      Lewis might have play acted at WW2 skulduggery, Lee lived it.

      I suppose that we should be generous and assume that he didn’t mean for it to be as pointed as it came out.

    • Flower says:

      Don’t forget the amazing Alan Rickman, he is fabulous on stage (Dangerous Liaisons).

    • Kate says:

      I was going to say the same. I suppose theater training sort of lends itself to these big fantasy movies, there’s a gravitas there, so a lot of older British actors have found themselves playing wizards and similar over the last decade or so.

      I can kind of see Damian’s point, different actors are attracted to different things, you’ll always have some who only want to play ‘real’ people and others who like to throw themselves into less grounded roles. I think the difference is maybe more stark in the UK because with less work to go around it’s quite easy to get stuck as being the Shakespeare guy or the working class guy etc. I felt he was just saying he wanted options and as such didn’t see his future in the theatre.

  26. V says:

    I would think, that no matter what your profession is, being able to do work you enjoy and are nicely paid for would be a good thing at any age. To feel the need to shade others in your profession…well, it really just reflects on how you feel about yourself and your own insecurities, doesn’t it?

  27. Grant says:

    Ian McKellan doesn’t strike me as “fruity” in the slightest…? Is Damien shading him because he likes to post fun pictures on his Twitter? That’s what makes him “fruity?” What an asshole.

  28. Nerd Alert says:

    Dude. Ian McKellen is effing Gandalf AND Magneto, and he’s right, he doesn’t need Lewis’s pity for his success. Whatever Damian’s trying to do better on Homeland isn’t working. I get that he’s big in the UK or whatever, but McKellen is known world-wide so the shade doesn’t even work right. “Oh god I would hate all that lifelong success and fame, I’d rather be known as ‘that ginger’ on a tanking cable show.” Sure, buddy.

  29. kpist says:

    Ian says: ‘No one needs to feel sorry for me or (Harry Potter actor) Michael Gambon or anyone else who has fallen victim to success,’

    PRICELESS

    • lunchcoma says:

      He also said this, which made me smirk even harder: “To be allowed for the first time in your later career to play leading parts in extremely popular movies is not a situation to worry about.”

  30. Kaboom says:

    I like Damian’s work but his office is two stories below that of ian McKellen. He can only hope to some day be a global star of his magnitude. Until then I’d stop mouthing off.

  31. bluhare says:

    You picked a great photo of Lewis to use . . . stoner eyes and a smug smile.

  32. Thiajoka says:

    Wow, what class Sir Ian used when addressing those comments. Not me so much however–I unofficially stopped watching Homeland after its awful second season anyway, so now I’m just going to go ahead and make that an official decision to purposely bow out, even should it end up on Netflix or someone should gift me with the dvd’s. Screw Lewis.

  33. girlonfire says:

    I had to go to IMDB just to see who Damian Lewis was since I wasn’t familiar with him at all. Sir Ian on the other hand, who doesn’t know him. Maybe Damian Lewis should respect his elders and keep his trap shut until he has a hit movie or two. Portraying a wizard in an epic film series is no laughing matter and I couldn’t see any other actor in the role of Gandalf or Magneto for that matter. I highly doubt Mr. Lewis will ever rise to level of Sir Ian. To Mr. Lewis, I say good day sir!

  34. Delta Juliet says:

    I’ve never watched Homeland but I know Damian from Band of Brothers, where he played an amazing man/character. I’ve always had a soft spot for him after that role. But he comes across as an ass here. Ian is also an amazing actor and I’m glad he didn’t get all huffy in his defense. He seems to be happy in his life, he is successful, what more could a man want? Screw off Damian.

  35. lunchcoma says:

    Oh, what a foolish comment on Damian Lewis’s part. It’s not just Ian McKellan who gets swept up in that generalization. I’m assuming Richard Harris and Michael Gambon get swept up in that generalization as well? That’s a lot of shade on a lot of very talented people.

    Lewis far from being so established that his career is set for the next 30 years, and there may very well be a time when he’ll be happy for either wizard roles or for theater work. He’d have done much better to just leave it at being tired of theater hours and maybe an allusion to being worried about typecasting. No need to bring the careers of people who have weathered far more years in the entertainment industry than he has into it.

  36. Ally8 says:

    Damian Lewis is basically the British David Caruso circa NYPD Blue – guy got lucky with one TV show that showcased him well in one part, and suddenly he thinks he’s Lawrence Olivier.

    I daresay that starting in his 50s, McKellen will still have a longer & more memorable career.

    • LAK says:

      i guess you missed DL in Band of Brothers, The Forsyte Saga, Life……All big hits with DL as the lead.

      • Ally8 says:

        I didn’t. Caruso had parts before NYPD Blue, too. No one noticed Lewis specifically before Homeland. He’s a pompous little twit.

  37. RobN says:

    Feel however you’d like, but keep names and obvious references to people out of it, especially when referencing people who are pretty much universally liked and respected. He hasn’t earned the right to throw shade on guys like McKellan. Get back to me in 40 years.

  38. Jayna says:

    What was great was Ian gave back more than a soundbite in his response, and his response was well thought out about the trajectory of his career and career choices and not defensive in the least nor said in anger. It makes me love him even more.

  39. bored_01 says:

    100% classy and kinder than you’d expect response.

  40. Lily06 says:

    Wow I missed these statements Damien made the first time around… I love Ian McKellan! Damien’s comments were just unnecessary. Kind of a stupid fight to pick on his part. He would be very lucky to have the kind of esteem that McKellan commands.

    • CuriousCole says:

      It was ridiculously stupid to pick a fight with Gandalf – the guy died in Fellowship of The Ring and still came back to fight! Sir Ian was incredibly gracious, what a good, accomplished man.

  41. EscapedConvent says:

    Imagine anyone saying something unkind about Ian McKellan! He sounds ridiculous. Think he’ll have the kind of career Sir Ian has had? Doubtful. He shall not pass.

  42. Gorgonia says:

    Before this, I liked very much Sir Ian. Now I totally workship him.

  43. lisa2 says:

    I am so side eyeing all this trash others thing that I have seen over and over. It seems that actor after actor has to take a dig at other. Some of these people just are not going to be able to handle the fame they have or the fame they are going to lose.

    SMH.. When did having a hit show and a few minor roles make you the shit.. Wait to see if you have a career that spans 40 or more years. hell 10.

  44. Nan209 says:

    I love Ian, I like Damien. If I got the choice between having lunch with either of them I’d definitely pick Ian. I think lunch would be filled with great conversation. He just seems like a warm person and he’s done so much and he is absolutely hilarious (I can’t help but think of the HBO show Extras).

    I agree, a life well spent.

    As for Damien, the fruity comment was in poor taste. I get what he was saying (regarding wanting a normal schedule and not wanting to put off the rest of his life until he was old – and he’s no young stud now ) but it was not well said…but ya know I’m not going to hang him by his toes just yet. We all say dumb sh!t that we face palm ourselves later – I’m going to hope this was a face palm moment.

  45. Lucrezia says:

    I’ll back Sixer up – “fruity” is not a gay slur in this context. It just means something like luvvy.

    I’m 100% certain Damian didn’t mean it as a gay slur, because if you read it that way, the sentence doesn’t make any sense. (Why hasn’t anyone noticed that yet?)

    Seriously, try swapping gay for fruity: I was worried theatre work meant I’d end up as “one of these slightly over-the-top, GAY 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.” Sexuality is not something you learn/adopt from your colleagues. It makes absolutely no sense for Damien to worry that his theatre career might wind up with him being gay. Obviously he meant something else, some kind of trait/style that theatre-work could lead to.

    It’s shade on Surian and Michael Gambon specifically; and on luvvy actors in general (bad Damian!), but definitely not homophobic.

  46. Lauraq says:

    Ian is such a classy dude. I love him as Gandalf, even though I hated the first Hobbit movie. We’ll see how the second goes.
    Also, I don’t think Gandalf was interested in men or women. I think he was interested in saving Middle Earth and that was about it.