British actor Ian McKellen says he has been warned by the British Government not to go to Russia, given its anti-gay laws.
McKellen told Radio Times magazine that the Foreign office gave a warning that “they couldn’t protect [him]from those laws.”
The Foreign Office said on Tuesday that potential travelers, especially with the approaching Sochi Winter Olympics, are advised to consider Russia’s “degree of intolerance” towards homosexuality before travelling.
McKellen, who is seventy-four, expressed his disbelief that just “two and half hours from London” and “in the land of Tchaikovsky, Diaghilev, Rudolf Nureyev—gay artists whose sexuality informed their work,” he would be forced to hide his own orientation.
McKellen came out at age forty-nine.
He also recently responded to comments made by Homeland’s Damian Lewis, who was widely believed to have been talking about Ian McKellen when he said he did not want to become “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 fifty and then start playing wizards.”
McKellen told Radio Times magazine that while it was a fair comment, “to be allowed for the first time in your later career to play leading parts in extremely popular movies is not a situation to worry about.”