Thursday 8 December 2016

Sir Ian McKellen dresses his voice up for US audiences

Published 22/12/2015 | 00:21

Sir Ian McKellen re-voiced a role because American viewers could not understand his native accent
Sir Ian McKellen re-voiced a role because American viewers could not understand his native accent

Sir Ian McKellen has said he had to re-voice his role in The Dresser because American viewers could not understand his native northern accent.

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Speaking on ITV's The Jonathan Ross Show Christmas Special, The Lord Of The Rings star made the revelation while discussing BBC Two's dramatisation of Ronald Harwood's play.

"I used my native northern accent and it's now going to be shown in America next year and I've had to re-do my voice because the Americans can't understand my accent!" he said.

Sir Ian also shared his experiences of recycling gifts from friends.

"I do have a drawer at home that I put gifts in, that I know I'm not really going to get much use out of, and then around about this time of year, I take them out. It's all right as long as you remember who gave it to you in the first place."

When asked if he had ever had any mishaps with gifts, the 76-year-old admitted to one mistake.

It involved a present from "a very distinguished writer" who had given him "a lovely notebook, leather-bound" which was not needed.

"Next Christmas I thought, I wonder what I can give her? Ooh, perfect'. And I gave her back the present she'd given me," he said.

"What I hadn't noticed was that she'd given a very sweet dedication in the front of it. I don't do that any more."

On the subject of cinema, Sir Ian opened up about Pride - a film that had moved him deeply.

"The last movie I really had a sob at was Pride, which was very emotional for me as a gay man, about the early gay rights movement in this country."

The award-winning film told the unlikely, but true, story of how a group of gay and lesbian activists, including trainee chef Joe (played by George MacKay), supported striking miners in 1984.

"When the lad (Joe) finally gets to 21, and he's going to be allowed legally to have sex for the first time, they give him a button (a badge) it says, 'Legal at last' and I was just awash," Sir Ian said.

War And Peace star Lily James also dropped in for a chat to preview her role as Natasha Rostova in BBC One's forthcoming new year epic.

"I listened to Whitney Houston a lot for War And Peace," she revealed.

"My character is so passionate and instinctive and follows her gut and I Will Run To You by Whitney sort of seemed to capture that."

James will first be seen as Lady Rose Aldridge in the final ever episode of ITV's Downton Abbey, due to be broadcast on Christmas Day.

Host Ross is also joined by American actor Aziz Ansari and broadcaster Fiona Bruce.

The 55-year-old treated his guests to a three-course meal full of protein, which consisted of insects.

The starter included sago worms, black ants, locusts, grasshoppers and mealworm hummus.

While sampling a selection, Sir Ian joked: "I'm a celebrity, get me out of here!"

After accidentally knocking some of the black ants into James's lap, she cried: "I've got ants in my pants!"

Chart-topping band Coldplay provided the music, performing their festive song, Christmas Lights.

The Jonathan Ross Show Christmas Special, Saturday December 26 at 10:05pm on ITV.

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