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McKellen enrolls in ‘Academy’

Actor to star in half-hour mockumentary series

Ian McKellen is going back to drama school, for television.

The thesp has signed to star in a half-hour mockumentary series, “The Academy,” that is being shopped to U.K. and U.S. buyers by DLT Entertainment.

McKellen would play his fictional brother, Murray McKellen, who heads a run-down drama school, the Clapham Academy of Creative Arts, that is hoping to secure new funding through a docu on the school.

McKellen has been closely involved in the development of the series, which will be written and directed by Peter Hinton and produced by Humphrey Barclay. U.K. shingle 2act Prods. is co-producer with DLT. Other cast members set include Brit TV vets Jonathan Hyde, Sylvester McCoy and Frances Barber.

DLT topper Don Taffner Jr. was in Los Angeles late last month shopping the series to U.S. nets. Preproduction has begun on six half-hour segs. Taffner acknowledges that network deals have to come together quickly or McKellen will be unavailable to do the series, as he’ll be committed to lensing “The Hobbit” starting in March.

DLT, which is based in Gotham but primarily produces for the U.K. market, recently secured a 22-episode, two season renewal for its longrunning BBC laffer “My Family.”

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