Ian McKellen's Last Desire Is To Star In A Musical (And Cats Doesn't Count)

Over the course of an acting career in film, TV, and theater spanning 60 years, there's very little the great Sir Ian McKellen hasn't done at this point. Indeed, since he started working in the early 1960s, McKellen has played famous comic book antiheroes, wizards, Shakespeare characters, and even voiced the talking polar bear Iorek Byrnison in the 2007 movie version of "His Dark Materials." Still, there's one last major professional goal he would like to realize before he calls it a day (not that he's planning his imminent retirement, mind you), and that's to star in a musical. No, he's definitely never done that before; why on Earth would you think otherwise?

Okay, yes, McKellen co-starred as Gus the Theatre Cat in the notorious 2019 film adaptation of the Broadway sensation "Cats," and even got to show off his musical poetry talents by performing the song "Gus: The Theatre Cat." That wasn't his first outing with the genre, either, what with McKellen having also played Cogsworth in Disney's 2017 live-action remake of "Beauty and the Beast." In that case, however, all he got to do was briefly join the chorus during the show-stopping number "Be Our Guest," as far as his singing goes. No, what McKellen wants is to properly star in a musical, and this time without having to meow or lick himself while doing so. (Unless he really wants to, of course, I'm not the boss of Ian McKellen.)

"I'm Not a Proper Singer"

In an interview on the BBC Radio 4 program (via Deadline), McKellen admitted he "doesn't have much to prove anymore" but added that headlining a musical is "one of the few areas left." As for his singing abilities, the "X-Men" and "Lord of the Rings" alum was pretty forthcoming:

"I can hold a tune but I'm not a proper singer. I'm available but incompetent."

He went on to add, "I don't feel I have much to prove in my career anymore, so why not just do the things I enjoy doing, like getting in front of an audience and entertaining them." But where to cast him? I for one would be all for McKellen playing Elphaba's professor, Doctor Dillamond, in the "Wicked" movie musical. It's a role that would once again require McKellen to portray an anthropomorphic animal, this time in the form of a talking goat, but I'm sure he'd be down with the idea. Plus, he would get to share a duet with Cynthia Erivo as Elphaba on "Something Bad," and who doesn't want to see that?

Alternatively, he could instead play Hit Cat, the acoustic guitar-strumming English feline who spends his days hanging with Scat Cat and their fellow jazz-loving alley cats in Disney's live-action re-imagining of "The Aristocats." Apparently, all I really want is for McKellen to play another singing animal (preferably a cat) in a movie. I don't entirely know why, either.