Ian McKellan plays lead role promoting Shakespeare films on world stage

PUBLISHED: 17:04 29 October 2015 | UPDATED: 17:04 29 October 2015

Sir Ian McKellan searching BFI's treasured film archive for Shakespeare's screen gems

Sir Ian McKellan searching BFI's treasured film archive for Shakespeare's screen gems


The Grand Wizard Gandalf—usually going under the name of Sir Ian McKellen—has been picked to lead a year-long ‘Shakespeare on Film’ project boosting Britain’s image on the World Stage.

The news was put out on general release today by the British Council and the ‘Great Britain’ campaign as part of its Shakespeare Lives programme celebrating the Bard’s influence on the English language.

The Council is running a global tour with the British Film Institute featuring 20 interpretations of Shakespeare’s works for the cinema.

These gems from the BFI’s treasured national archive include Laurence Olivier’s Hamlet made in 1948, Zeffirelli’s Romeo and Juliet in 1968 and Richard Loncraine’s Richard III in 1995 starring McKellan himself.

Sir Ian, who lives in on the Thames waterfront in Limehouse where he bought the famous Grapes pub a few years ago, has been cast perfectly for the role to lead the promotion.

We all know him as Gandalf in The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies and Magneto in the X-Men movies.

But his work also spans genres from Shakespearean to modern theatre as well as popular fantasy and science fiction.

This is just the trailer... full details of the Film Institute’s Shakespeare Lives programme running throughout 2016 are being revealed in January.

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