LONDON• 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 programme marking 400 years since the playwright's death.
The 76-year-old, who has starred in numerous Shakespeare adaptations, will take fans to London's St Pancras railway station and Battersea Power Station, locations of 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 programme, which was launched by McKellen on Monday and will feature screenings of movies 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," he said. "It's a little idea that I've long treasured."
The BFI will host events looking at how film-makers have been influenced by Shakespeare's works such as Romeo And Juliet, Hamlet, Henry V and Macbeth and a programme of 18 British Shakespeare movies is to tour 110 countries.
The programme at London's BFI Southbank launches on March 31, just a few weeks before theatre 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."