close menu
Sir Ian McKellen Backs a New Film Series Initiative for LGBT Youth

Sir Ian McKellen Backs a New Film Series Initiative for LGBT Youth

Although to most film nerds he’ll always be Magneto from the X-Men films and Gandalf from The Lord of the Rings, distinguished Shakespearean actor Sir Ian McKellen is also one of the world’s leading LGBT activists, and has been for a several decades. For years, he’s been using his visibility as one of the movie industry’s most prominent out gay actors for all kinds of LGBT causes.

McKellen’s iconic status to the LGBT community can’t be overstated. Getting to play both Magneto and Gandalf is no small thing. Both franchises are considered “family” properties by their respective movie studios, with McKellen’s image tied to toys and Happy Meals and all kinds of licensed merchandise.

Twenty-five years ago, McKellen would have never got the job for either part simply for being an out gay actor, as the studios would have been too afraid to deal with the potential backlash from angry conservative parents groups. Those kinds of groups still exist, but their voices have become smaller as tolerance spreads. But McKellen’s presence in both series was an absolute game changer, and has helped make him the LGBT icon he is.

via GIPHY

Now we’ve learned, via the Hollywood Reporter, that Sir Ian McKellen is using his status and clout as an LGBT activist to start a new initiative for brands and broadcasters to back a planned series of short-form films aimed at LGBT youth. The plan is to create a series of four films built by and for people in the LGBT community.Facebook is the first company that has joined up to become the broadcast partner for the first film scheduled to be released, with the premiere of the as-yet-untitled project to be streamed live on their platform.

“Hollywood, to crudely sum it up, has tended to deal with fantasy, tended to deal with escape.” said McKellen, who as a star in some of the biggest Hollywood fantasy films ever, is in the position to know a thing or two about them. He continued, saying “branding has to be up to date otherwise. [Brands] come up with a response to the world as it really is. It’s a much different approach to anything that Hollywood would do.”

McKellen had been asked to work with corporate partners before, and in the interview, he talked about the attempt by Coca-Cola’s Dasani water to recruit him in the mid-2000s. At the time, McKellen said no to the deal. “I thought, ‘I can’t. I feel I’m selling my soul, and my soul is worth more than this.'” But times have changed, and he said he’s now willing to work with brands to back these films because of their response to gay rights around the world, such as the huge support from most brands when marriage equality passed in the United States.

Some might consider this “selling out”, but I respectfully disagree. To reach the broadest possible audience you can, there is no such thing as being a sell out. If getting backed by a corporate sponsor is the best way you’re going to have the money and resources you need to reach that gay kid in the Bible Belt, or in a more repressive country than the United States, you do what you have to do. It’s not being a sell out–it’s being smart.

via GIPHY

So who are the big names who will be lining up to make these films? It seems that they are already in talks with well known directors to helm future installments, including the Wachowskis and Tom Ford, for what is being tentatively called “LGBT Heroes.” McKellen is slated to appear in at least some of these films in an acting capacity. During a presentation for the project, they debuted a short animated film depicting McKellen as a gay superhero embracing his partner before flying off to adventure. Right now, the team is calling for submissions on this new project on LGBTheroes.info.

Which filmmakers would you want to see lend their talents on this new project? Let us know your thoughts down in the comments below.

Images: Twentieth Century Fox / New Line Cinema

Todd Phillips Reveals First Look at Joaquin Phoenix in His JOKER Movie

Todd Phillips Reveals First Look at Joaquin Phoenix in His JOKER Movie

article
Action Figures Remixing Iconic Movie Scenes Will Blow Your Mind

Action Figures Remixing Iconic Movie Scenes Will Blow Your Mind

article
What Are Captain Marvel's Superpowers?

What Are Captain Marvel's Superpowers?

article