“Of course, the importance of coming out is personal. The importance of coming out is that you’re out yourself and your life is changed, I think, for the better. That affects those who love you – your friends, your family, people you work with. I would never say to a celebrity, ‘Come out for the good of society.’ You must come out for the good of yourself. The rest will follow. Nor does it mean that if you do come out, you have to immediately start talking about gay issues as if you were an expert.”
[Have you ever wanted to get married?] It’s never crossed my mind that it’d ever be possible for me. That’s the scar that I and so many others bear—we believed ourselves to be second-rate citizens for so long, the idea of being able to say “This is my husband, these are my children” was not an option. I remember Tom Stoppard saying to me when I came out, “I feel so sorry for you, because you’ll never have children.” These days I would say, “Well, why not, Tom?” But 20 years ago I accepted his judgment.
I sent Peter Jackson a picture of myself all made-up in the Wizard’s role [from The New Adventures of Robin Hood], but it was more in the nature of a joke, really. “This is what I look like as a Wizard, don’t forget this when you cast the movie.” It wasn’t me putting myself forward at all, because I think Peter had already made up his mind. That’s what I’ve been told, anyway, that he never thought of anybody else for Saruman, except for me. - Christopher Lee.
[Does it trouble you that after becoming one of the great Shakespearean players you’ll probably be remembered as the wizard from a CGI blockbuster?] I’m well aware that when I go, the London Evening Standard billboard is going to say GANDALF DIES. No, it’s fine. Gandalf is a great character, and I ride on the back of his popularity, not the other way around. And you could say I’ve missed out on having kids but I’ve grandfathered so many children through the role.
There’s something interesting that happens in your thirties. You’re not in the stage anymore of princes and happily ever after. It’s a different stage of acceptance and realization about the realities of love and relationships. Forever is a long time.