April 1, 2017
Sir Ian McKellen, in addition to being one of the great actors of our time, is also one of the most recognizable. This is partly due to his roles in a pair of hugely popular franchises.
So it was a surprise when, after sitting through Disney’s new, live-action Beauty and the Beast movie that I discovered that Ian McKellen had a prominent role in the story. He played Cogsworth the clock and the vast majority of the part was just voice-over work. I didn’t recognize his voice- in fact, I was sure I did, but I didn’t think it was McKellen. I thought it was either Leo McKern (better known as Number Two in The Prisoner and as Rumpole of the Bailey) or the guy who played Mr. Tebbs on Are You Being Served, an old BBC sitcom from the 70’s. Problem is, both men died decades ago.
And when the clock turned back to a human at the end of the film (spoiler alert!- oops, too late) and Ian McKellen appeared in person, not only did I still not recognize him but I was more sure than ever that he was either McKern or James Hayter (Mr. Tebbs from Served.) Take a look at Magneto above and Cogsworth below and tell me if any of you would have recognized McKellen.
Now take a look at the other men. Is it any surprise that I thought that it was either of them? I have to hand it to Ian McKellen. He is such a good actor that I was prepared to believe that it was anyone but him in the movie. Even a couple of dead men.