Sir Ian McKellen says he is "so happy" for X-Men co-star Elliot Page following the actor's announcement that he is transgender.
Commenting on Page's self-confidence, the Magneto actor admitted he was "disappointed" in himself for not realising the then-teenager was struggling with his identity.
"Everything gets better when you come out because you get self-confidence," said McKellen. "So you get better in terms of relationships, friends of all sorts, family, if you're lucky. And in my case, I think in every case, your acting is bound to change and improve."
The actor went on to explain an instance where Elliot wouldn't speak up on set, not realising that he was struggling with his self-confidence.
"I said, 'Look, if you can't speak up, would you mind when you're finished speaking, just dropping your hand so I know when you've finished speaking?" he said. "And then they came out [as gay] years later and suddenly you couldn't stop them talking. You heard everything.
"And now they're Elliot. And I'm so happy for Elliot. And so disappointed in myself that I didn't detect what their difficulty was with communicating."
McKellen, who came out as gay in 1988, went on to explain how being open with his sexuality ultimately improved his acting.
"One of the first plays I did having come out was Uncle Vanya at the National [Theatre]," he recalled. "And I found in Act three, when Vanya is at his peak of his misery, that I started crying.
"I've never been able to cry, but I could now, because it was more me, the real me. And that was my contribution to the play and to the character."
Digital Spy has launched its first-ever digital magazine with exclusive features, interviews, and videos. Check it out with a 1-month free trial, only on Apple News+.
Interested in Digital Spy's weekly newsletter? Sign up to get it sent straight to your inbox – and don't forget to join our Watch This Facebook Group for daily TV recommendations and discussions with other readers.
You Might Also Like