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Sir Ian McKellen

Sir Ian McKellen

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HE may be over 70, but Sir Ian McKellen certainly knows a thing or two about social media.

The X Men star, who spent his early years in Wigan, revealed that he set the foundations for blogging.

He told Buzzfeed: “I was into social media way back in 2000 when we were filming Lord of the Rings in New Zealand.

“I use to keep what I called an e-post, which was a regular diary.

“You know it as a blog. You’re looking at the guy who invented blogging. Unfortunately, I gave it another name, and it didn’t catch on.”

In fact, Sir Ian elaborated that the studio apparently was against it, adding that: “They wanted their marketing department to be in charge of contacting the fans and the potential audience.

“And Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson and I both knew that we could cut them out and go straight to the source.

“And once you realize there’s a mighty audience waiting for the film that you’re actually preparing, it’s a wonderful feeling.

“So often when you’re making a film, you can’t be sure it’s even going to be released, let alone anyone is going to come and see it.

“But with Lord of the Rings and later, about the same time with X-Men, it was clear that there were people who you could actually contact and whose names you could realize and who you could meet as on occasion like this.”

Sir Ian is also a regular on Twitter, posting photos of his adventures with pal Sir Patrick Stewart.

The openly-gay actor, who is an active campaigner for equal rights in terms of sexuality, added that he took on role of Magneto in X Men as an appeal to that.

He said: “I was sold it by Bryan Singer, the director, who said, ‘Mutants are like gays. They’re cast out by society for no good reason,’”

“And, as in all civil rights movements, they have to decide: Are they going to take the Xavier, Patrick Stewart’s character line — which is to somehow assimilate and stand up for yourself and be proud of what you are, but get on with everybody — or are you going to take the alternative view — which is, if necessary, use violence to stand up for your own rights. I’ve come across that division within the gay rights movement.”

He recently showed his support to Juno actress Ellen Page, who came out as gay last month, saying: “That gladdened my heart so much.”