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December 10, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug is scheduled to open in Russia on Dec. 18, five days after the U.S. premiere, but if Warner Bros., which is distributing the movie, has any plans to mount a PR campaign in that country, it will have to do so without the help of Ian McKellen, who portrays Gandalf in the movie. In an interview with the BBC’s Radio Times magazine, McKellen has disclosed that the British Foreign Office has advised him not to travel to Russia because of its anti-gay laws and because “they couldn’t protect me from those laws … in the land of Tchaikovsky, Diaghilev, Rudolf Nureyev — gay artists whose sexuality informed their work.” McKellen denounced the laws which bar “propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations” that could be exposed to anyone under 18. “Imagine trying to be a gay actor — a gay anything in modern Russia — where to be positively oneself, to be affectionate in public with someone you love of the same gender, or to talk of that love in the hearing of anyone under 18, will put you prison? That’s why I can’t go to Russia.”