Sir Ian McKellen, known for his roles in Lord of the Rings and the X-Men films, was at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity. McKellen was on stage with Jackie Stevenson, founding partner of The Brooklyn Brothers, and Gary Reich, founder of production company Brown Eyed Boy.
They recently launched a project to portray LGBT people as heroes and created short films featuring a gay superhero, for instance. The trio is looking for backing from brands to fund the films.
While speaking at the festival, McKellen talked about coming out as gay and how it had a great impact on his career because he starting being himself. “You have to be honest or there’s no point in being an actor. My acting became about revelation and honesty….society didn’t allow me to express myself fully but when I was acting I could, and I heard you could meet other gay people.”
Jackie Stevenson noted that brands and media owners need to stop portraying LGBT lives as a struggle and called for advertisers to “come out of the closet”.
McKellen went on to say, “I’ve been impressed with gay rights all over the world how much commerce wants to be involved. Hollywood, to crudely sum it up, has tended to deal with fantasy, tended to deal with escape. Branding has to be up to date otherwise. [Brands] come up with a response to the world as it really is. It’s a much different approach to anything that Hollywood would do.”