Kevin R McNally: 'The parallels between King Lear and Donald Trump are breathtaking'

Trumped: Kevin R McNally as King Lear: Marc Brenner
Trumped: Kevin R McNally as King Lear: Marc Brenner

Kevin McNally believes the parallels between Shakespeare’s tragic, mad ruler and Donald Trump are “breathtaking”.

The Pirates Of The Caribbean actor, an outspoken critic of the White House on social media, launched a scathing attack on the embattled president after stepping off The Globe stage last night.

He told the Standard: “The notions of power, love and loss scream out at you in ways that are as relevant today as they were when they were written 450 years ago.

“There are literally lines that take your breath away because you feel as though they could have been coined yesterday.

“I learnt from living in America that it is absolutely apparent that the rise of an ill-educated and unhealthy society always produces fascism. They are the easiest people to manipulate and it does feel as though we’re in that time, as it says in the play, when madmen lead the blind.”

McNally, 61, who starred as Mr Gibbs alongside Johnny Depp in all five Pirates films, said he would not want to appear in a straight Trump adaptation of King Lear, despite the obvious parallels. He said: “I was determined we didn’t do a Trump production but you can certainly let echoes ring when they are there.

“Certainly the idea of a man standing up and saying to everybody, ‘tell me that you love me’, we can all recognise that. You almost could do the play about him, but I wouldn’t want that. I also wouldn’t like to have to wear the wig.”

McNally’s first big screen role was 1977 Bond film The Spy Who Loved Me, alongside the late Sir Roger Moore. He said he was thrilled that Daniel Craig has agreed to return for a fifth outing as 007. “I love his James Bond and I think he is a great choice, he has really made it a post-Bourne Bond,” he said. “They’ve got back an edge to it. It had become more, maybe more in Roger’s time which was the Bond I starred alongside, in those days it had probably relied a little too much on the jokes. So it is so good to see some fire going back in with Daniel.”

Lear’s American director, Nancy Meckler, said the Bard’s masterpiece demonstrates how mistrust of leaders stretches back hundreds of years. She said: “In the last lines of the play Edgar says, ‘Speak what we feel, not what we ought to say’. The way people feel about politicians these days is that they say just what they ought to say — which is why people don’t tend to believe them any more.”