Details: Is it true that when you stay at hotels you tear out the Bible page that condemns homosexuality?
Ian McKellen: I do, absolutely. I'm not proudly defacing the book, but it's a choice between removing that page and throwing away the whole Bible. And I'm not really the first: I got delivered a package of 40 of those pages—Leviticus 18:22—that had been torn out by a married couple I know. They put them on a bit of string so that I could hang it up in the bathroom.
Details: So did you?
Ian McKellen: It is in the bathroom, yes, but it's too much of a curiosity to actually put to use.
Details: Does it trouble you that after becoming one of the great Shakespearean players you'll probably be remembered as the wizard from a CGI blockbuster?
Ian McKellen: I'm well aware that when I go, the London Evening Standard billboard is going to say GANDALF DIES. No, it's fine. Gandalf is a great character, and I ride on the back of his popularity, not the other way around. And you could say I've missed out on having kids but I've grandfathered so many children through the role.
Details: Your film Gods and Monsters deals with seduction across a big age gap. Seeing as you're still single, has the art of seduction changed for you?
Ian McKellen: [laughing] Well, I've never been good at seducing, and I've never wanted to be seduced. You might be surprised by how interested young people are in older people. It's always assumed that the older person is the predator, but in fact you see young people out at the pubs approaching older people.
Details: Why do you think that is?
Ian McKellen: Because they think the old people know more and they're wise. The huge difference in my lifetime is that you can just go up to somebody and make a pass. You couldn't do that in the 1950s if you were gay. There were secret handshakes, a secret language. There was nowhere you could go to be romantic outside of people's houses.
Details:It's rumored that you have a tattoo.
Ian McKellen: I do. It's of the number nine in elvish, because there are nine members in The Fellowship of the Ring.
Details: Did getting it hurt?
Ian McKellen: I don't remember. But Elijah Wood was holding my hand the entire time.