Out British actor Ian McKellen says coming out improved his life.
McKellen, who is best known for playing Gandalf in the The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbittrilogies and Magneto in the X-Men films, made his comments in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter at the Rome Film Fest.
The 78-year-old McKellen is the subject of Director Joe Stephenson’s new documentary, McKellen: Playing the Part.
“I think any gay person who does come out will tell you that that is the best thing that they have ever done in their life because they stop lying. They tell the truth about themselves,” McKellen said.
“They become altogether a more attractive person, a more confident person. Everything in your life improves, including, in my case, my acting.”
“I was able to use my work to tell the truth about human nature rather than using it to disguise it. It is not easy to come out for some people. Everyone’s worried that they’ll lose their jobs. Actors think, oh I won’t get jobs anymore. None of it’s true. My career as a film actor took off very shortly after I was honest and came out. So that’s my message to other actors who are having a problem: don’t,” he added.
McKellen came out at age 49 in 1988 in part to fight Britain’s Section 28, which prohibited authorities from “promoting homosexuality.”
“But I’m very proud of my small contributions to changing the law in this country and changing attitudes, all for the better, and I suppose in the scheme of things that is more important and the more merit and longer lasting than any acting that I have done. But that is more for other people to judge, isn’t it?” McKellen said.