Speaking at a livestreamed event on Wednesday night (12 August), McKellen said that despite it being assumed that people would not have the patience and self-restraint to respect the rules, he noted that “people are very happy to obey orders, in this democracy, if they see it’s coming from a sensible place”.
The Lord of the Rings actor added: “The government didn’t quite trust us to be grown up.”
Appearing to allude to Boris Johnson’s chief aide Dominic Cummings, who took a controversial trip to Durham during the UK lockdown, McKellen said: “One of their people, very close to the centre of power, broke the law so perhaps they were right that there are some people who don’t know how to behave.”
In June, Good Morning Britain‘s Piers Morgan said Cummings’ decision to drive 260 miles to Durham at the height of the pandemic had undermined public health advice.
“He’s single-handedly destroyed the lockdown,” said the controversial broadcaster. “He’s destroyed trust in the government. He needs to go. God knows what Cummings had on Boris Johnson.”
McKellen, 81, also admitted he is “awfully glad” he is not prime minister during this crisis, adding: “Whatever you do, you’re going to get it wrong.”
The actor can next be seen playing Hamlet in an “age-blind” production of William Shakespeare’s play.
The play was reportedly the first British theatre production to enter rehearsals after lockdown restrictions were lifted.