Page last updated at 13:03 GMT, Friday, 11 July 2008 14:03 UK

McKellen keen for X-Men spin-off

By Genevieve Hassan
Entertainment reporter, BBC News

Sir Ian McKellen
Magneto has the ability to generate and control magnetism

Sir Ian McKellen has said he would love to star in a spin-off film featuring his X-Men character, Magneto.

"I think it's a very good series," he told the BBC News website.

"There is a script knocking around for a spin-off, but it will be a younger Magneto, so if I were involved it would just be topping and tailing the story."

The 69-year-old was speaking ahead of an all-night screening of the X-Men trilogy at London's BFI Imax cinema this weekend, which he is introducing.

It is being shown as part of the British Film Institute's comic book movie season.

Sir Ian said it was "quite exciting" for the films to be shown back-to-back in this way.

"I don't think they've ever been shown like that, one after the other," he said.

'Serious intent'

Fans at the screening will be treated to Sir Ian telling a few stories about what it was like making the movies.

But he said that he did not think he would manage to stay for the marathon sitting due to a TV appearance the following day.

"I won't be going all the way through because I have to be on the Andrew Marr Show early in the morning," he explained.

"But who knows - I may still be there at five o'clock in the morning begging for more.

"I think the films are really a great deal more than an adventurous night out - unlike many other films of that ilk there is a serious intent behind it."

It's true - we had no idea what we were we doing
Sir Ian McKellen on not being able to play chess for X-Men

Sir Ian added: "Marvel told me that this is their favourite because it has a social purpose and the strongest demographic are young blacks, Jews and gays who respond to the idea that society does treat some adults as mutants.

"And that was what initially appealed to me about the story."

Sir Ian also told the BBC of his lasting memory of making the X-Men movies.

"It was the very last day where we had overrun but I was trying to get back to England as I was scheduled to play Widow Twankey in Aladdin at the Old Vic," he said.

"I only got back with two days to spare so I was very nervous hoping we wouldn't have to run over anymore than we did. So that was my lasting impression - wanting to get away!"

Prisoner details

Sir Ian admitted that despite a scene at the end of the first X-Men film where he and co-star Patrick Stewart play chess, neither of them knew how to play the game.

"It is true. We had no idea what we were we doing, but there are lots of things that actors don't do - it's just acting," he said.

Sir Ian also revealed details about the ITV remake of the 1960s TV cult show The Prisoner which he is starring in.

"I was talking to the producer yesterday about the details and I've seen the full cast list which is extremely impressive," he said.

"I haven't read the final script yet, it's due next week - but it's very grown-up television.

"It engages your mind and people will have to be very alert to follow the story but all is revealed in the end."

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