Ian McKellen, the classically trained actor best known for his roles in the fantasy-adventure movies Last Action Hero and The Da Vinci Code, was recently mistaken for a bum. Which makes sense. Because of how a lot of times he kind of looks like a bum. From the Telegraph UK:

The 70-year-old actor is rehearsing Waiting For Godot in Melbourne, Australia, and was sitting in his tramp costume having a break when a passer-by gave him an Australian dollar.

He said: “During the dress rehearsal of Godot, I crouched by the stage door of the Comedy Theatre, getting some air, my bowler hat at my feet (and) seeing an unkempt old man down on his luck, a passer-by said, ‘Need some help, brother?’ and put a dollar in my hat.”

Acting! Desmond? But seriously, this makes sense. I don’t even know why this is a news story. The only thing that is surprising about it is that it hasn’t happened before. Look at him:

I’m just saying, if the town threw a Bum Look-Alike Contest, Ian McKellen would definitely place.

Oh, and shame on the newspaper for RECREATING the magical moment when Ian McKellen was mistaken for a bum. That photo is as annoying as it is staged. We know what bums look like? And we know what putting money in hats looks like? We could definitely have just used a publicity photo and our magical imaginations on that one. A rare miss, Telegraph UK Photo Editor. (Thanks for the tip, Westley.)

Comments (53)
  1. Case in point: Lord of the Rings. Peter Jackson comes to me in New Zealand and said to me: Sir Ian, I want you to be Gandalf the Wizard. And I said to him: You are aware that I am not really a wizard?

  2. One does not simply pan-handle their way into Mordor…

  3. Shit, you mean the guy in the alley behind my office isn’t Ian McKellen? That explains why he keeps asking for money when I try to get him to pose for pictures. But he does say “You shall not pass!” a lot.

  4. Extras does really imitate life.

  5. No hobo.

  6. This same exact thing happened to a good friend of mine when he was playing a bum in Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo. If only Telegraph UK had been there!

    His scene was later cut.

  7. I hope he fired the Australian dollar through a dude’s head with his Magneto powers.

  8. I’m pretty sure I saw him on the F train last week with his shopping cart lashed to the center pole.

  9. Newsweek hates it when gay actors play hobos.

    • I was so disappointed when I found out that Ian McKellan was gay. Not because there’s anything wrong with being gay, but because it was just another complicating thing about my crush on him.

      I don’t care! HE’S SO ROMANTIC.

  10. I did something similar, I must admit. When he was in my town playing King Lear, I kept mistaking him for a real king and pledging my fealty.

    • It was worse for me, I ran into Helena Bonham Carter and asked her why she didn’t jump into a lake and she didn’t believe me that I was talking about Hamlet

  11. Bum Fights would be so much more interesting if one of the bums had a mutated genetic code that gave him complete control over metal.

  12. Yea, sure, whatever. He was a fox in his day. You should remember this vividly, Gabe, as the younger women you courted would have surely had Ian McKellen posters on their walls in the late 50s.

  13. Didn’t this happen to Bob Dylan recently? Old, disheveled, talented men being mistaken for hobos are so hot right now. So hot.

    • Yes it happened to Bob Dylan, and also Al Pacino recently

    • To add a bit more detail, Bob was in Long Branch, NJ looking for the house in which Springsteen wrote Born to Run for “inspiration.” When the cops came he told them he was Bob Dylan…but they didn’t believe him.


      • The report I read said that they didn’t know who Bob Dylan was. Two different officers.

        “I’m Bob Dylan, I’m a musician.”
        “Whatever, Rob Billums, we’re still gonna have to ask you to leave.”

  14. He just wants his kids back.

  15. Awesome, I am now like 1 for 5 on tips.

    My favorite part was how he said he kept the coin as a good luck charm. B/c a well-established and respected actor of both film and stage needs the dollar someone gave him on the street by accident to remind him that he is not, indeed, a bum.

  16. I have seen Last Action Hero about half a dozen times, and I honestly had no idea he was in it. Although granted, I was about 11 at the time, and it was all in one weekend, but I still can’t place him.

  17. Need Money for Mana.

  18. In my tramping days I once flipped a rattler on the Wabash Express with a fellow traveler who turned out to be a real sagebrush philosopher, very chatty. He even claimed to have done a jolt down under with Sir Ian McKellen. I figured him for a bull artist but now I know he was on the up-and-up.

  19. All this article really tells me is that Australians are really nice people.

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