Ian McKellen to host London bus tours for Shakespeare film season

Mon Jan 25, 2016 12:03pm EST
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LONDON (Reuters) - Having tackled Shakespeare's works on stage and screen, Ian McKellen will host bus tours of locations used in his movie adaptation of "Richard III" as part of a film program marking 400 years since the playwright's death.

The 76-year-old McKellen, who has starred in numerous Shakespeare adaptations, will take fans to London's St Pancras station and Battersea power station, locations used in the 1995 film in which he played the tyrant king in a 1930s setting.

The tours are part of the British Film Institute's "BFI Presents Shakespeare on Film" program, which was launched by McKellen on Monday and will feature screenings of movie adaptations of The Bard's celebrated works.

"I thought it might be fun to take a bus ride around those buildings and say, 'Look, that's where we were', and then the bus show extracts from the film," McKellen told Reuters.

"It's a little idea that I've long treasured."

The BFI will host events looking at how filmmakers have been influenced by Shakespeare works such as "Romeo and Juliet", "Hamlet", "Henry V" and "Macbeth" and a program of 18 British Shakespeare movies is to tour 110 countries.

The program at London's BFI Southbank launches on March 31, just a few weeks before theater fans mark 400 years since Shakespeare's death on April 23, 1616.

"The beauty of Shakespeare is that he was so perceptive about human nature. He was so interested in the whole range of people from the top of society to the bottom and everything in between," McKellen said.

"He was so accurate in understanding our emotions ... and our motives for doing things, that he goes on being relevant."

(Reporting By Holly Rubenstein; Writing by Marie-Louise Gumuchian; Editing by Mark Heinrich)

Actor Ian McKellen poses during a photocall to promote the movie "Mr. Holmes" in the Panorama section at the 65th Berlinale International Film Festival in Berlin February 8, 2015. REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke