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Is The Advocate making too much of "the openly gay" Ian McKellen playing Gandalf?
December 6, 2001 8:20 PM   Subscribe

Is The Advocate making too much of "the openly gay" Ian McKellen playing Gandalf? "An openly gay man has been invited to play the lead role in the fantasy lives of the world’s children, for decades to come. What’s more heroic than that?" Or, as Armistead Maupin puts it: "I think the fact that an openly gay actor is going to have his face all over Burger King cups in a matter of months is really quite significant.”

As an interesting contrast, here's McKellen, from his own website, on a certain Kenobi who felt that "It was not appropriate...for gay people to talk publicly about their sexuality nor to campaign openly for law reform."
posted by adrober (26 comments total)

 
"Playing the wizard Gandalf in The Lord of the Rings may make Sir Ian McKellen the world’s best-known gay man."

*ahem* one word: "Elton"
posted by wfrgms at 9:10 PM on December 6, 2001


Don't forget "Tom". (Just kidding, ya little Hubbard-lovin' freak. Don't sue me.)
posted by Optamystic at 9:24 PM on December 6, 2001


The fact that Ian kisses boys has no bearing on anything. It's not like Gandalf is suddenly being portrayed as a flaming queen. And the Burger King promo is about the movie, not him. The kids could could care less, if they even know who the hell he is, that he's a tea-sipper. It's not like he's the Parker Posey of the family film genre.
Now if there were an openly gay character in a movie millions of kids will get exposed to, we might have something to talk about. As it stands, nothingtoseeheremovealong.
posted by Su at 10:17 PM on December 6, 2001


The Advocate has skewed things a tad in my opinion: Isn't it the character being portrayed v. the actor? I can't imagine many people clamoring for a special limited edition official Sir Ian cup o' plastic.

The hype they (The Advocate) spew onto whatever gay/lesbian flavor of the month only serves to reinforce the notion "we must be okay if he/she is one of us."
posted by sillygit at 10:18 PM on December 6, 2001


A society caught up in categorizing people becomes like Afghanistan, a place with a bunch of tribes. The classifications and sub-categories certainly separate, rather than unite society. To say McKellen is a great actor says more than saying McKellen is a great gay actor. And in this example, gay , black, hispanic, handicapped, etc. would be seen as qualifying the praise. IMHO
posted by Mack Twain at 10:21 PM on December 6, 2001


Is The Advocate making too much of "the openly gay" Ian McKellen playing Gandalf?

Yes. Yupper. Affirmative. Indubitably. Aye.
posted by Optamystic at 10:27 PM on December 6, 2001


First you got the gays in the talkies.... next thing they're eating at the same restaurant with you and seducing the nation's youth!

Jerry Falwell mode now off

Of course it's widely accepted that once your cause gets on a Burger King cup, you're accepted by mainstream America.
posted by geoff. at 10:36 PM on December 6, 2001


su, i don't get the parker posey reference. can you explain it to me?
posted by efullerton at 12:24 AM on December 7, 2001


i don't get the parker posey reference

She's Spider-Man.
posted by kindall at 12:36 AM on December 7, 2001


Yes
posted by aaronshaf at 12:36 AM on December 7, 2001


It's not like Gandalf is suddenly being portrayed as a flaming queen

Word is there's a Hobbit-Rupaul interlude halfway through the film though.
posted by owillis at 1:35 AM on December 7, 2001


The Advocate is in the business of selling magazines. I've just let my subscription lapse, having become bored with cover story after cover story featuring Hollywood faces of whatever sexuality. Bo-o-o-o-ring.
posted by Carol Anne at 4:10 AM on December 7, 2001


Efullerton: It's not as bad now, but a while back, it seemed that Parker was in every single independent film released within a several-year span.
Off the top of my head, I'm not aware of McKellen having been in any movie The Children might see. It's just not his thing.
posted by Su at 4:28 AM on December 7, 2001


Who pays any attention to what the Advocate has to say?

Besides gays, that is.
posted by mischief at 5:20 AM on December 7, 2001


I'm not aware of McKellen having been in any movie The Children might see.

He portrayed Magneto in X-men.
posted by piskycritters at 5:52 AM on December 7, 2001


Given McKellen's earlier comments about how some Tolkien fans reacted to the news of a gay man playing Gandalf, it isn't exactly shocking that he would be happy to continue making a point of his sexual orientation. Presumably, he's operating on the assumption that if they chose to make an issue of it, why shouldn't he?
posted by thomas j wise at 6:34 AM on December 7, 2001


The hype they (The Advocate) spew onto whatever gay/lesbian flavor of the month only serves to reinforce the notion "we must be okay if he/she is one of us."

What about Jet or Vibe Magazine. Same thing when Denzel is on the cover?
posted by brian at 7:18 AM on December 7, 2001


McKellen is becoming one of my fav actors (the brits have almost all the best actors) His work in "dicky tray"(Richard the III) was great. I think the Advocate wants to sell some copies, i think carol anne is right about the multitude of faces, perhaps to just sell the mag.
posted by clavdivs at 8:24 AM on December 7, 2001


Who pays any attention to what the Advocate has to say? Besides gays, that is.

snark all you want; but i don't even know many other gay people who pay attention to the advocate. i certainly don't. they're notorious for making huge issues and fanfares for the political cause out of, well, nothin'.

and really, who cares if McKellan's gay in this context? i don't. i do, however, care that there's a fantastic actor recreating Gandolf onscreen.
posted by patricking at 8:33 AM on December 7, 2001


Actually, what's really shocking is the fact that there are LOTR Burger King plastic-cups in the first place.
And those lame, lame, lame comercials.
I feel the way a Xtian would if BK had a Jesus-tie in, with scenes from the crucifixion on there crappy cups and special Judas-snacks. Get your Mary-shakes, kids!
Fuck. The lameness of it all has no bounds.
posted by signal at 11:11 AM on December 7, 2001


I thought it was Gandalf the GRAY...?

In any event, that certainly explains his affection for Dil... uh, I mean Bilbo. And it goes a long way toward explaining Aragorn's "secretiveness."

McKellen did great work in Richard III, but you could see a mile off that he was fey as an faerie - the vaguely nazi costuming really brought it out. Not that there's anything wrong with that. Personally, I think the Advocate trying to stir the teapot in hopes that a tempest might come about.
posted by UncleFes at 12:28 PM on December 7, 2001


I've been saying we need to stop straightening out the gay press for a long time now.
posted by bradlands at 12:54 PM on December 7, 2001


Pisky: Oh yeah. Duh.

Signal: It's funny. When I first saw the cup commercial, it made me think of when McDonald's would do that type of thing all the time when I was a kid. I swear my mom still has some of those Peanuts glasses in a cabinet somewhere. They've gotta be worth something by now.
posted by Su at 2:38 PM on December 7, 2001


UncleFes-> that is untill he becomes Gandalf the White
posted by jmd82 at 3:22 PM on December 7, 2001


The problem is that anybody thinks this is a big deal, either way. Of course it shouldn't matter. And if it does matter to somebody, it's their problem.

As they say, who gives a fuck?

Ash.
posted by aeschenkarnos at 1:32 AM on December 8, 2001


"Gandalf the GRAY...?" The Grey you mean? ya, the Mosley overtones were a bit much...and sauramans (sic sp) advances...join us or die....and were did he really go with that Balrog?
posted by clavdivs at 7:01 AM on December 8, 2001


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