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Ian McKellen has no plans to retire: 'I'm quite good at this acting thing now'

Few actors have achieved the effortless cool and gravitas Ian McKellen carries into his 80s.

Fortunately for audiences, the actor has no plans to retire. "Retire to do what?" he told Variety in a new interview. "I've never been out of work, but I'm aware that any minute now something could happen to me which could prevent me from ever working again. But while the knees hold up and the memory remains intact, why shouldn't I carry on? I really feel I'm quite good at this acting thing now."

McKellen, 84, appears to be as busy as ever. He recently voiced a character for a new Seth MacFarlane show, is on stage in the comedy "Frank and Percy," and has a new crime drama, The Critic, ready to premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival.

Sir Ian McKellen attends the ATG Summer Party at Kensington Palace Gardens in celebration of Sir Ian McKellen on September 8, 2019 in London, England
Sir Ian McKellen attends the ATG Summer Party at Kensington Palace Gardens in celebration of Sir Ian McKellen on September 8, 2019 in London, England

David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images Ian McKellen

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Though, as he told the outlet, the topic has come up. He received a harsh review during previews of "Frank and Percy" after forgetting a line due to being "insufficiently acquainted with the text."

"Instead of understanding that this happens from time to time, this critic says it was evidence that it was time for Ian McKellen to stop acting," said McKellen. "Maybe I should challenge this man to a podcast where we could debate it."

There's no small amount of irony there, given that McKellen plays a feared theater critic in The Critic.

"Perhaps that's not a wise thing to do," he decides regarding the proposed podcast. "It might just draw more attention to it. After all, I've long ago made my peace with critics."

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