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Ian McKellen: An Unofficial Biography [Paperback]

Mark Barratt
3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
RRP: 9.99
Price: 8.42 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

9 Feb 2006
Sir Ian McKellen has appeared in theatres around the country and on television and film screens since the 1960s. Now, with his parts in the X-Men films and the phenomenally successful The Lord of the Rings trilogy, he is celebrated worldwide. Along with McKellen’s recent rise globally, Mark Barratt covers his childhood, his time at Cambridge University with, among others, Trevor Nunn and Derek Jacobi, theatre roles in projects such as Henry V and The Seagull, Macbeth at the RSC, Broadway, running The Actor’s Company and the McKellen/Petherbridge Company and McKellen’s support of gay rights. A well-rounded, essential and readable view of one of Britain’s greatest stage and screen actors.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Virgin Books (9 Feb 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 075351074X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0753510742
  • Product Dimensions: 22.4 x 14.6 x 2.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 851,684 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


'Reveals what drove a boy from Bolton to become one of the leading creative artists of our time' -- Mail on Sunday

From the Inside Flap

Hailed as ‘the world’s greatest classical actor’, Sir Ian McKellen has been a leading theatrical actor for over 40 years. Treading the boards in legendary performances of Amadeus, Macbeth and Richard II he achieved international acclaim, and went on to ground-breaking work running the Actors’ Company and the McKellen/ Petherbridge Company at the National Theatre. Hugely readable and immensely entertaining, Mark Barratt’s intimate biography gives a rare and informed insight into the life and work of one of Britain’s best-loved actors.

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Customer Reviews

3.3 out of 5 stars
3.3 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Filled in background 25 Oct 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I enjoyed reading about Sir Ian's early life and the various productions he's been involved in - especially the ones I've seen as the book gave some interesting background on them. Unlike other reviewers who have complained about such detailing, I found it interesting.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Mckellan if you please 5 Oct 2012
By lizstar
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
What a good read still reading it,it gives an intersesting insight into his live. It looks at both his private life and career with some funny anecdotes.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By dregj
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The book does have its strengths,its doesn't just skip over his childhood like some biographies.Its mostly written well describing his upbringing and family relationships as well as can be expected for someone who had no help from the man himself.
He then goes on in great detail to cover the acting career of sir Ian,with explanations for his choices ,interviews and statements from friends he knew at the time and how the project was received and of course the authors opinion.(which probably wont track with yours).
There's a great deal on Ian's style of rehearsal ,getting to the core of the character ,finding the truth about them and using modern comparisons to help him realise to the person on the page.
and of course Shakespeare..
Those those not buying into the myth that Shakespeare was some kind of genius may falter at this point.
In this book it is taken "as read" that the plays are quite simply the greatest works in the english language and the man from Stratford is beyond compare.

If your one of the silent majority that don't believe in this mass delusion of Shakespeare's greatness then the middle of the book can get incredibly dull.
History is littered with great men that detested the bard.
Mr McKellan however aint one of em.
It covers the major film roles he is most famous for at breath taking speed unlike his finely detailed passages on his theatre work.And again the author inserts his unwelcome opinions and high handed put downs of some of his roles .Its clear he knows little of the source material ,surprising given how well versed he seems to be in other area of mckellen's life.He dismisses the lord of the rings sequels for there cockney orcs not knowing or caring that tolkien himself wrote their dialogue in phonetic cockney.
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