British actor Ian McKellen, best known as Gandalf in the “The Lord of the Rings” movies and Magneto in the “X-Men” franchise, will be the subject of a feature documentary, “McKellen: Playing the Part.” The pic, directed by Joe Stephenson, is based around an exclusive 14-hour interview with McKellen.
The documentary will feature rare archive material of early work from stage and screen, never-before-seen photography from McKellen’s private collection, and cinematically reconstructed scenes from his life. McKellen has been Oscar nominated twice: for “Gods and Monsters” in 1999 and “The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring” in 2002. He has been Emmy nominated five times.
Stephenson said: “To a whole generation of cinema-goers Ian is known as Gandalf and Magneto, but here is an opportunity to show them his incredible, and inspiring trajectory from his modest childhood in the north of England to Tony winning star of the stage, from one of the first actors to speak openly about his sexuality to becoming an internationally recognized two-time Oscar nominee.”
He added: “While Ian has been interviewed many times, and lives a life very much in the public eye, we wanted to talk candidly to him about his journey and philosophy in a way that may not have been done. It’s an honor to tell the story of someone still so relevant and active in our industry, and my hope is that an audience might walk out of the cinema as inspired by his journey as I am, feel like they better understand how he has got to where he is today, and celebrate not just his awesome achievements, but the man himself.”
The McKellen film, which is Stephenson’s second theatrical feature, is produced by Stephenson’s outfit B Good Picture Company, in co-production with Mark Birmingham of Surreal Film Company. Stephenson’s first feature, drama “Chicken,” garnered glowing reviews on its release in the U.K. earlier this year.
Stephenson is represented by Jessica Sykes at Independent Talent in the U.K. McKellen is represented by Paul Lyon Maris at Independent Talent in the U.K., and CAA in the U.S.