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Ian McKellen won’t retire from making movies for one perfect reason

Ian McKellen is now 84-years-old and has a leading role in a movie premiering at TIFF, but just don't mention the word retirement to him.

Ian McKellen

At the age of 84, Ian McKellen is still taking leading roles in high-profile movies – such as The Critic, which is having its premiere at Toronto International Film Festival. In a recent interview about the drama movie, Ian McKellen explained why he’s not contemplating retirement yet.

McKellen told Variety; “Retire to do what? I’ve never been out of work, but I’m aware that any minute now something could happen to me which could prevent me from ever working again. But while the knees hold up and the memory remains intact, why shouldn’t I carry on? I really feel I’m quite good at this acting thing now.”

The last sentence of McKellen’s statement echoes what 80-year-old Martin Scorsese said to Vanity Fair in May 2023; “I wish I could take a break for eight weeks and make a film at the same time. The whole world has opened up to me, but it’s too late. It’s too late.” Scorsese feels that he’s at a point where he’s learned enough and gained enough experience to be truly great, but he’s running out of time to make movies.

Scorsese added; “I’m old. I read stuff. I see things. I want to tell stories, and there’s no more time. [Akira] Kurosawa, when he got his Oscar, when George [Lucas] and Steven [Spielberg] gave it to him, he said, ‘I’m only now beginning to see the possibility of what cinema could be, and it’s too late.’ He was 83. At the time, I said, ‘What does he mean?’ Now I know what he means.”

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The Critic is a movie based on a true story of theater critic Jimmy Erskine, and has elements of a crime mystery thriller movie with a blackmail plot. But of course, Ian McKellen is best-known for two iconic roles – Gandalf in The Lord of the Rings and Magneto in the X-Men movies.

See if you agree with our selections of the best Lord of the Rings characters ranked and the best X-Men characters ranked.