Ian McKellen: I’ll be long dead before Brexit deal is done

By Laura Harding, PA Senior Entertainment Correspondent

Sir Ian McKellen has joked he will be “long dead” before the Brexit deal is finished and said politicians are “wretched players and don’t know a pawn from a queen”.

The Lord Of The Rings actor said the ordeal has been so arduous he has decided he will no longer have an opinion on the proceedings.

He told the PA news agency: “I did think the other day, as we battle through Brexit, I thought ‘Oh good God, when I’m long dead they still won’t have the Brexit deal complete, so I think I won’t take a view on it.

“I’ve withdrawn entirely, emotionally, from the race and am now watching it as a bit of chess and all I can say is they are wretched players and don’t know a pawn from a queen.”

The veteran star, 80, who will next be seen starring opposite Dame Helen Mirren in The Good Liar, added that “younger people don’t know what it’s like being old”.

He said: “I (was) 80 this year and I went to a reunion of my form from school, there were 30 of us in the form and 10 didn’t turn up, because they were either dead or incapacitated or didn’t want to come.

“The other 20, hale and hearty, grandchildren of course, retired long ago, full of beans, couldn’t wait for the next party.

“That I think is the norm now for 80-year-olds, as much as people are incapacitated. Young people tend to run the world.”

Dame Helen added: “And not realise that life carries on and it does, if you’re lucky and, as Ian says, healthy and active in life.

“Life absolutely carries on in the same ways, with the same passions, the same excitement, the same fun.”

Sir Ian, who plays a con artist who sets his sights on the fortune of a retired woman he meets on a dating website (played by Dame Helen), in his latest film, also addressed returning to the kind of villainous role that made him famous.

He said: “The devil has the best tunes and often the best part in the movie is the villain.

“Why? I don’t know, because you as an audience is intrigued by what is true and what is not true.

“As an audience you can get thrilled by really nasty goings-on so are good characters. It’s very difficult to write a really interesting good character.”

The Good Liar is released in UK cinemas on November 8.