Hard lines

Sir Ian's bid to rewrite Extras script

Sir Ian McKellen has admitted trying to alter the script for his guest appearance on Extras to make him look less pompous.

Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant had portrayed the Hollywood star as a diva who insisted everyone call him ‘sir’.

But on his website, he says that didn’t reflect his true self, and tried to replace it with another gag: him mistakenly calling Gervais’s Andy Millman character Andy Milkman.

He said: ‘There are many jokes in this episode of Extras, one of them being that Ian McKellen is gay and also that he is unsufferably [sic] pompous.

‘That makes for tricky territory, particularly when the script has been written by two experts in irony, masters of the put-down, the snigger and the snub, Ricky Gervais and his partner (in, I'm pretty sure, the non-sexual sense) Stephen Merchant.

‘I called Ricky Gervais to suggest the script had got me wrong, a little. I am one of those knights who prefers not to use the title professionally. Perhaps Gervais and Merchant had confused me with another acting 'sir'.

‘He was non-committal. You can judge the compromise we made when the episode is aired later this year.’

During filming, Gervais joked with McKellen: ‘My job is make you look crap so I can win the Bafta’, before roaring with laughter. 

‘So did I,’ McKellen added. ‘One of us, at least, was acting.’

Series two of Extras starts on BBC Two on September 14.


Published: 20 Aug 2006

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