Ian McKellen is all for 007 being a man’s man.
On Thursday, the “Lord of the Rings” star, 78, said he’d fully support the idea of James Bond being portrayed as a gay man ― and he thinks author Ian Fleming, who created the fictional Secret Service agent, would also fully support the idea.
“If you play James Bond as an outwardly camp, silly gay man that no one took seriously,” McKellen, who came out as gay in 1988, told Variety, “and then he turned out as many gay men are underneath their clothes — buff and strong and as hetero as any hetero — we might have a more truthful story than the one that has been told.”
To those who feel that a gay Bond would go against Fleming’s vision, McKellen begs to differ. In fact, he thinks the author, who died in 1964, would support the idea. “I’m not sure subsequent actors have quite understood the joke, which is the same as Superman,” he said. “James Bond is a wimp! He’s a silly Englishman that wants his martinis stirred. He changes his underwear, like Superman, and he can save the world.”
Fans, however, shouldn’t expect to see McKellen as Bond. “I’m too old to play it,” he said. “I can be on the periphery of this new version.”
The prospect of having James Bond be a gay man in a future film has been the subject of debate among fans and 007 actors for some time. Among those who’d support the idea is the franchise’s current Bond, Daniel Craig.
“I have heard people talk about how there should be a lady Bond or a gay Bond, but they wouldn’t be Bond for the simple reason that wasn’t what Ian Fleming wrote,” Moore, who died in May, told the Daily Mail in 2015. Keeping Bond as a straight white man, he felt, was “not about being homophobic or, for that matter, racist — it is simply about being true to the character.”
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