Sir Ian McKellen and Sir Patrick Stewart in Broadway double-header

Sir Patrick Stewart and Sir Ian McKellen at the 2006 Cannes Film Festival Knights of old: Stewart and McKellen have a long-standing working relationship

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X-Men stars Sir Ian McKellen and Sir Patrick Stewart are to reprise their roles in Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot on the Broadway stage.

The pair will also perform together in Harold Pinter's No Man's Land on the New York stage later this year.

The plays, to run in repertory, will be directed by Sean Mathias, who worked with the actors on Waiting for Godot during its 2009 West End run.

The two productions are scheduled to open in the autumn.

Sir Ian, 73, will play Estragon in Waiting for Godot and Spooner in No Man's Land, while Sir Patrick, 72, takes on the roles of Vladimir and Hirst.

The British pair have a long history of working together, dating back to 1977 when they appeared in Tom Stoppard's Every Good Boy Deserves Favour.

They went on to co-star in the X-Men film franchise as Professor Xavier and Magneto, roles they will resume next year in X-Men: Days of Future Past.

"My main feeling is it's lovely to be back with friends and it will be lovely to be back in New York," said Sir Ian. "But I've got an awful lot to do in the meantime."

The actor is currently filming gay sitcom Vicious with Sir Derek Jacobi for ITV. He will then travel to New Zealand to shoot scenes for the next Hobbit movie.

Start Quote

Both plays play tricks with our memory, with time, with what time is”

End Quote Director Sean Mathias

Sir Ian made his Broadway debut in The Promise in 1967 and went on to win a Tony award for his performance as Salieri in Amadeus 14 years later.

Sir Patrick, best known for playing Captain Jean-Luc Picard in Star Trek: The Next Generation, first appeared on Broadway in A Midsummer Night's Dream in 1971 and has recently been seen in Macbeth.

Mathias said the trio would use the same approach with No Man's Land as they did with Waiting for Godot.

"What we tried to do, with so much effort, was make it real. Make them human beings, compassionate, funny, flawed and vulnerable and cocky - all the things human beings are," he explained.

"We never wanted to make it esoteric. I'm sure this is how we will approach the Pinter [play] as well."

Mathias added: "Both plays play tricks with our memory, with time, with what time is.

"Both plays are dealing with a landscape of poetry, a landscape of psychology, a landscape that is both real and isn't real. So there are incredible reverberations and resonances."

It is unclear which of the two actors will be given top billing for the shows, though Sir Patrick said there was "no question" who should.

"Ian was a star actor while I was still working in regional theatre," he said. "I was in awe of him and his work long before I knew him."

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