Despite both being members of Laurence Olivier‘s company at England’s National Theater in the 1960s, Ian McKellen and Anthony Hopkins never acted together until “The Dresser,” the telefilm that debuts on Starz on May 30. Richard Eyre, who was artistic director of the National Theater for a decade from 1987, adapted and directed this acclaimed version of Ronald Harwood‘s 1981 play about a fractious relationship between a fading actor (Hopkins) and his loyal dresser (McKellen).
The roles are rich and offer these two veterans, both of whom have been knighted, a chance to spar on-screen for the first time. In a fascinating interview (watch above), each talks about his admiration for the other. “Working with Ian has been the most powerful acting experience I’ve had in many, many years,” says Hopkins. McKellen explains “really good actors make you act better yourself. I can plug into his energy.”
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