Ian McKellan: The point is you are trying to make the audience laugh, and not each other. The times we crack up and relax is during the rehearsal. By the time you reach an audience, you are apprehensive and nervous and hope it will go all right.
Zap2it: Given that you came out publicly then helped to change the laws, is there a great deal of satisfaction that you can now play part of a longtime gay couple?
Ian McKellan: Some people say these characters are letting down gay people by behaving badly or so stupidly. The work I have done on behalf of gay rights here is no more than many others have done, but to have been part of the sea change and to see it happen up close, and worrying about it and understanding how important politics is and going about changing the law has been fascinating for me, and it was something I cared about and was an authority on.
And as an openly gay man, who could speak about the pressures and injustices of the past, I am very proud really of not me but the way this country with its old prejudices has changed. You wont find an old politician here who won’t say equality belongs to everyone. On the grounds of humanity, the laws have changed and now the work at hand is to change everyone’s view in the country and that will take longer to make sure everyone is at ease with the situation.