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Newsblast Archive: Ian Mckellen Talks Smack, Stomps Mudhole, Walks It Dry
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© Joe Crowe

Newsblast Archives Dateline: December 9, 1999

Sir Ian McKellen has an extensive report from the set of X-Men in Toronto. A spy became worrisome to Ian and others on the set. Ian set out to do some rumor-busting.

He says that more details regarding the X-costumes will be available when the X-movie website gets launched. "Nothing", Ian says, about Magneto's costume is even vaguely Third Reich.

Then he realized that fans who saw Apt Pupil in which he plays a Nazi were thinking that's all he knows how to do. Check out this great Ian quote: "Singer fans who have seen Apt Pupil have assumed that this actor only has one performance in him and that inevitably Stephen King's Dussander could not transform himself into Magneto.

As reassurance -- since the Nazi I have played an English gay film director (Gods and Monsters), a Russian family doctor (Chekov's The Seagull), an aging matinee idol (Noel Coward's Present Laughter) and a ship-wrecked magician/politician (Shakespeare's The Tempest.")

Translation: He is an actor. He acts. He's not too bad at it. He can even act like different people. Then he whomped out a personal message to everyone who says the movie won't be true to the comic. (You know who you are). "I challenge any of the fanboys to name a living actor who possesses the cartoon torso of the original comic strip character.

It obviously can't be stressed too often for those unfamiliar with the problems of adapting material for the cinema, that what works on the page (novels and plays included) has to be adapted (which means changed) to work on the screen.

I break no confidence in telling you that the spirit of the movie will accord with Marvel but the look will be different. I have been through all this before, when translating Shakespeare's play of Richard III into a movie.

A play is not a movie. Nor, equally, is a comic. If it were, there would be no point in spending $75,000,000. Further, I have no time for those constipated purists in the arts who think that there is only one way of telling a story.

Would they really want the movie script to follow the over-explanatory monosyllabic dialogue of the comic strip?

If such critics had their way Verdi's Otello would be accounted a failure because Shakespeare's Othello needs no music. Titanic, Saving Private Ryan and Shakespeare in Love would all be condemned because they mix fact and fiction."

"You may still prefer the original but Fox, Singer and the rest of us are not intending to be destructive.

The comics will still exist and new issues continue to be published. Our discontented spy will still be able to drool over the exaggerated muscles and primary colors and fantasticated skintight overalls.

The rest of you, I am hoping, will be ready for new excitements." "Constipated purists in the arts."

This is the greatest pro wrestling interview I have ever heard.

RevolutionSF news editor Joe Crowe is a regular purist.

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