Sir Ian McKellen has said he was advised "not to go to Russia" by the Foreign Office because of the country's homosexuality laws.
"That's why I can't go... they couldn't protect me from those laws," Sir Ian, 74, told the Radio Times.
"Two and a half hours from London! In the land of Tchaikovsky, Diaghilev, Rudolf Nureyev - gay artists whose sexuality informed their work."
The actor came out as being gay at the age of 49.
The actor also hit back at comments made by Homeland star Damian Lewis in a Guardian interview earlier this year.
Lewis said he did not want to end up "as one of those slightly over-the-top, fruity actors who would have an illustrious career on stage, but wouldn't start getting any kind of film work until I was 50 and then start playing wizards".
The interview with Sir Ian is in the Christmas edition of the Radio Times
While not naming names, the comments were widely thought to have been aimed at actors like Sir Ian, who played the wizard Gandalf in the Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit films, and Michael Gambon, who played Professor Dumbledore in the Harry Potter franchise.
Sir Ian told the magazine: "So he feels sorry for me, does he? Well, I'm very happy, he needn't worry about me", although he did agree Lewis's remark was "fair comment".
However, he went on to say: "To rebut it, I wouldn't like to have been one of those actors who hit stardom quite early on and expected it to continue and was stuck doing scripts that I didn't particularly like just to keep the income up.
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