Ian McKellen says he's enjoying a late burst of global fame and still has "a lot of life left" after a decades-long acting career that earned him a lifetime achievement award at this year's Berlin International Film Festival.
McKellen, 66, was picking up an honorary Golden Bear the festival's top prize at a ceremony Saturday, accompanied by a screening of the 1995 film version of "Richard III."
"I still hope I've got a lot of life left on stage and making films," McKellen said.
After "Richard III," he picked up an Oscar nomination for his part in 1998's "Gods and Monsters" and gained worldwide fame by playing the wizard Gandalf in the "Lord of the Rings" movies and appearing in the "X-Men" films. Upcoming roles include the part of Sir Leagh Teabing in the movie of "The Da Vinci Code."
The actor, a prominent gay rights campaigner, was guarded as to what impact the success of the Oscar front-runner "Brokeback Mountain" might have.
It remains "very, very difficult for an American actor who wants a film career to be open about his sexuality and even more difficult for a woman," he said. "The film industry is very old-fashioned in California."
But, he added, "my own career in mainstream films really took off once I'd come out."