When Sir Ian McKellen received a $1.4 million advance to pen a memoir, most people thought that’s exactly what he would do.
Instead, the 76-year-old returned the money after months of tossing the project around in his mind.
While speaking at the Oxford Literary Festival on Sunday, the legendary actor revealed why he could no longer commit to writing about his stage and screen career.
“It was a bit painful,” McKellen said. “I didn’t want to go back into my life and imagine things that I hadn’t understood so far. The privacy of my life I don’t quite understand myself, and it has nothing to do with what I do for a living. So there you go, I’m sorry.”
McKellen has gotten personal in the past, however, including a 2012 Vanity Fair article in which he opened up about his regret over coming out so late in his life.
“The minute I came out, I felt immediately better in every way,” McKellen shared. “I felt relieved that I wasn’t lying. You know, when I was growing up in 1950s England, there were no gay clubs I knew about. There were no bars. Homosexuals were shamed publicly and imprisoned. You were on your own, looking over your shoulder all the time, hoping in the handshake of a stranger that he might be somebody gay.”
It sounds like the memoir would have definitely been worth a read, but it looks like we’ll have to stick to revealing interviews if we want more insight into the actor’s life.