Two Sirs: Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart

Actors Sir Patrick Stewart and Sir Ian McKellen. CBS News

(CBS News) Sir Ian McKellen and Sir Patrick Stewart played fierce rivals in the popular 2000 film, "X Men." Now the "Two Sirs" are rehearsing for a double-header of a theatrical run on Broadway . . . while making time to talk to Lesley Stahl of "60 Minutes":


It is rare, if not unprecedented, that two of the world's greatest stage actors star together on Broadway in not one, but two classic plays: "Waiting for Godot" by Samuel Beckett some nights, and Harold Pinter's "No Man's Land" on others.

They're known as "The Sirs": Ian McKellen, going strong at 74; the same for Patrick Stewart at 73.

Who knew that these two enemies in the "X Men" movies -- Professor X and Magneto -- are in real life such close friends that Professor X asked Magneto to marry him!

"Yes! I didn't marry him as his partner, you understand," said McKellen. "I was the minister."

Sir Ian married Sir Patrick and 35-year-old singer-songwriter Sunny Ozell.

"It was my wife's idea," said Stewart, who has been married all of three weeks. "That word still sits a little uncomfortably on my lips."

The Two Sirs, both knighted by Queen Elizabeth, met in the 1970s in the Royal Shakespeare Company, where McKellen was already playing the great parts.

Stewart, who worshipped him, found him to be, well, intimidating.

Was he austere, Stahl asked?

"In my glimpses of him in the green room at Stratford, a certain aloofness or austerity about him, which I know -- you see this charming, smiling man now -- will seem unbelievable to you. But he was younger."

He's softened? Mellowed?

"Yes, yes, of course," said McKellen. "I think I've become more modest as the years have gone on. I've become less -- "

Cough! Cough! "Excuse me . . . Oh God, I'm really sorry," said Stewart. "I think I need a strong drink or something!

"That was a dreadful bit of overacting," said McKellen. "Well, they do that in Yorkshire."

WEB-ONLY VIDEO: The two thespians discuss their regional differences in the video clip below.

Normally people from Yorkshire, like Stewart, and those from McKellen's Lancashire aren't supposed to get along, going back to the War of the Roses in the 15th century.

But they bonded on the set of "X Men."

"With that kind of movie, you do tend to spend more time in the trailer than actually on the set," said Stewart. "And we had very comfortable trailers. And we hung out and -- "

"You schmoozed?" asked Stahl.

McKellen laughed, "It was great fun for me though, because Patrick and I have had very similar careers, really."

They worked their way on stage in England through the great playwrights, from Shakespeare to Chekhov to Ibsen, and then, somewhat later in life, into television and the movies, where they both gained worldwide recognition.

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