Damian Lewis, who you probably know as Brody on Homeland, is a really talented actor, and in fact he got his beginnings in theatre. While most actors are proud of all of their work and even choose to return to theatre later in their career, Damian was really glad to get away from it all so that he didn’t risk being lumped in with all those “fruity” actors, like Sir Ian McKellen. While he didn’t mention McKellen directly, his comments certainly seemed like a dig…
“[I didn't want to end up] as one of those slightly over-the-top, fruity actors who would have an illustrious career on stage, but wouldn’t start getting any kind of film work until I was 50 and then start playing wizards.”
Okay, first of all, who – besides maybe your grandpa – still uses the expression “fruity”? Also, your homophobia is showing, Damian. Kinda makes me think you’re a dick.
But that’s neither here nor there. In fact, McKellen responded to it with grace and humour, as only a “fruity” actor could do, I suppose. Here’s what he told the Radio Times:
“So he feels sorry for me, does he? Well, I’m very happy, he needn’t worry about me. To rebut it, I wouldn’t like to have been one of those actors who hit stardom quite early on and expected it to continue and was stuck doing scripts that I didn’t particularly like just to keep the income up.
“I’ve always wanted to get better as an actor. And I have got better. You’ve only got to see my early work to see that. As for a fruity voice? Well, it may be a voice that is trained like an opera singer’s voice: to fill a large space. It is unnatural.”
I would have so many more choice things to say to Damian Lewis, but it just goes to show how classy McKellen is. Great response.