Ian McKellen expressed joy that his X-Men costar Elliot Page could finally be himself after the actor announced that he is transgender.
Ian McKellen expressed joy that his X-Men: The Last Stand costar Ian McKellen So Happy For X-Men Co-star Elliot Page After Coming Out As Transgender is now finally able to be himself. Page came out as transgender in December and received a barrage of support in and outside of Hollywood. Page’s career began in the early 2000s when he starred alongside Patrick Wilson in 2005’s Hard Candy. Page went on to star in X-Men: The Last Stand the following year.
McKellen and Page met on that set prior to Page’s coming out. McKellen reprised his role as Magneto in that film, while Page played newcomer to the X-Men, Kitty Pryde. Page has since had a storied career, gaining recognition for his breakthrough performance in Diablo Cody’s Juno. McKellen and Page went on to reprise their respective roles in 2014’s X-Men: Days of Future Past, working together for the second time. Most recently, Page stars in Netflix’s The Umbrella Academy, where he will continue to play his role as Vanya in the show’s upcoming third season.
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McKellen, who came out in 1988, told Attitude how happy he was that Page had come out. The actor said that he was disappointed in himself that he did not realize at the time they worked together what Page was going through. McKellen recalled times on set when he had difficulty hearing what Page was saying and encouraging him to speak up, noting that this was before Page went on to become an outspoken advocate for the causes he is passionate about, including the LGBTQIA+ community.
I remember Elliot Page, in one of the X-Men, sat as close as we are now. And I had to speak when they’d finished, and I couldn’t hear what they were saying. Nobody could hear what they were saying. So, I said, ‘Look, if you can’t speak up, would you mind when you’re finished speaking, just dropping your hand so I know when you’ve finished speaking?’
And then they came out [as gay] years later and suddenly you couldn’t stop them talking. You heard everything. And now… they’re Elliot. And I’m so happy for Elliot. And so disappointed in myself that I didn’t detect what their difficulty was with communicating.
Page’s heartfelt coming out letter was followed up by his statement of thanks in late December, acknowledging both the overwhelming support from fans and the work that still needs to be done in supporting the trans community. Page’s visibility, as well as his unabashed activism, stands in stark contrast to what queer actors would face after coming out up until very recently. Anti-trans sentiment is still being grappled with in Hollywood and around the world, a conversation that was closely followed this year after JK Rowling’s comments.
Many spoke out against Rowling’s comments, including Harry Potter stars Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, and Eddie Redmayne. Still, a lot of work needs to be done in working towards protecting transgender individuals both in and out of the industry. Page has consistently highlighted ways to support the transgender community in his statements and McKellen’s own comments are a reminder that he is not alone. In his interview, McKellen went on to speak about one of his first roles as an out gay man in the play Uncle Vanya. McKellen plays the titular character, the same name as Page’s own character in The Umbrella Academy, in a serendipitous, full-circle moment for the pair.
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