Ian McKellen has shared the “worst moviemaking experience” of his six decades-long career.
The actor, who has starred in The Lord Of The Rings, Richard III and others, cited his experience working on Michael Mann’s 1983 horror The Keep as the biggest low point.
McKellen, who had to endure hours of makeup for the role of Dr. Theodore Cuza, explained how he clashed with Mann over the direction of his character.
“Michael Mann said to me, ‘You’re playing this Romanian,’” McKellen told Variety. “So I went to Romania to scout it out, and I learned how to speak with a Romanian accent.
“Then on the first day of shooting, Michael told me he wanted me to speak with a Chicago accent. Well, I couldn’t do that, and it got worse from there.”
The Keep, based on the novel of the same name by F. Paul Wilson, follows a group of Nazi soldiers in World War II who unleash an evil supernatural force after setting up camp in an ancient stone fortress. The cast was led by Scott Glenn, Alberta Watson, Jurgen Prochnow and Robert Prosky.
The film suffered numerous setbacks during post-production, with Mann’s original 210 minute cut reduced to 96 minutes at the request of distributor Paramount Pictures. Mann is best known for directing films Heat, Collateral and Ali.
McKellen next stars in director Annand Tucker’s The Critic, which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival last week (September 7). The film also stars Gemma Arterton, Mark Strong and Lesley Manville.