The British stars have been close pals for decades, and Stewart and his wife, Sunny Ozell, attended the U.K. premiere of McKellen's "Mr. Holmes" on Wednesday presumably to show their support — but what the guys ended up showing was a very public display of affection.
Included were a strong embrace and a kiss on the lips for all the cameras to see. And for Ozell to get caught in the middle of. Hey, Ian was here first, sister.
After the fact, the usually voluble actors remained mum about the exchange on social media.
McKellen, 76, plays an aged and reflective version of legendary detective Sherlock Holmes in
The lighthearted "X-Men" stars, favorites in the genre universe thanks to Stewart's "Star Trek: The Next Generation" role as Capt. Jean-Luc Picard and McKellen's turn as Gandalf in "Lord of the Rings," have also appeared together in several projects since the 1970s, including Broadway and West End shows.
"In Yorkshire [where Stewart's from] they tend to be blunt ... Patrick is indeed straightforward. This helps his acting be crystal clear. But underneath, his nature is a very sweet one. And we spend much of our time laughing," McKellen said.
The men also shared a dressing room for 22 weeks while working on the London production of "Waiting for Godot." But they kept things chaste, the openly gay McKellen said, quipping, "We were always in separate beds!"
So — do we need to have separate red carpets, gentlemen?