When Picard Met Gandalf in Berkeley

Adam Brinklow | August 2, 2013 | Lifestyle Story Culture

In real life, the stars of Berkeley Rep’s new production of Harold Pinter’s No Man’s Land are good friends and frequent collaborators. But isn’t it more fun to pretend that they’re arch-enemies, like their X-Men characters, and pit them against each other in a Brit battle royale?

Round One: Awards
They tie in knighthoods with one apiece, but McKellen blows Stewart out of the water with three Drama Desks, six Laurence Olivier Awards, one Screen Actors Guild Award, and one Golden Globe. Stewart’s lone Grammy can’t possibly tip the scales. ✔POINT TO MCKELLEN

Round Two: Nerd Cred
Both men are practically gods to the sci-fi/fantasy crowd, Stewart for reinventing the Star Trek franchise and McKellen for his wizardry in the Lord of the Rings trilogy. They tie for the X-Men films, but Stewart’s double-facepalm meme is still the funniest thing on the Internet. ✔POINT TO STEWART

Round Three: Iconic Stage Performance
McKellen might be the greatest King Lear of the 20th century, but Stewart wowed critics and audiences alike by playing 40 different roles in his one-man production of A Christmas Carol. Sorry, Sir Ian, but 40 beats 1, no matter what the part is. ✔POINT TO STEWART

Round Four: Overpowering Hotness
Voted the sexiest man on TV during his Star Trek days, Stewart hasn’t visibly aged in 25 years (and just married a woman in her 30s!). But we’re more impressed by McKellen for officiating at Stewart’s wedding and for looking fantastic while he did it—handsome and classy. ✔POINT TO MCKELLEN

Oh look, a tie. Maybe No Man’s Land will decide it. Aug. 3–31, berkeleyrep.org

Originally published in the August 2013 issue of San Francisco

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