By the early 1980s, Ian McKellen had a well-established career in British theatre and television in addition to his work in Hollywood films. Like any actor who has featured in more than 50 films over the period of 40 years, he has had some negative encounters. Unfortunately, not everything can be like The Lord of the Rings trilogy. McKellen had some strong opinions on collaborating with renowned filmmaker Michael Mann in a recent interview.
Only 12 full-length films, including his most recent, Ferrari, starring Adam Driver, have been directed by Michael Mann. Nearly all of them have a stellar reputation, with 1995’s Heat often appearing on lists of the greatest films ever made. His previous suspense films, such as Thief, Manhunter, The Insider, Collateral, Miami Vice, Blackhat, and Public Enemies, have received favourable reviews at their first release or have subsequently gained the approval of discerning moviegoers.
In the past, Mann has dabbled in different genres with films including the historical epic The Last of the Mohicans, starring Daniel Day-Lewis, and the biography Ali, starring Will Smith. With 1983’s The Keep, they made a less successful step into the horror genre. And such was the awful incident McKellen related to Variety.
McKellen describes working on The Keep as his worst experience in filmmaking since he had to undergo hours of makeup to make him appear older. “Michael Mann said to me, ‘You’re playing this Romanian.’ So I went to Romania to scout it out, and I learned how to speak with a Romanian accent. Then on the first day of shooting, Michael told me he wanted me to speak with a Chicago accent. Well, I couldn’t do that, and it got worse from there.”
The Critic, McKellen’s next film in which he portrays a theatre critic, is titled. He states, “I’ve long ago made my peace with critics,” in reference to criticism of his own work, which is probably sensible considering that he appeared in Cats (2019).