Bill Nighy, Ian McKellen or Jim Broadbent?


In my post, The Opposite of Going ViralI posed the (admittedly rhetorical) question of who would be best suited to play Gerald Stockwell-Poulter in the cinematic adaptation of The Old Man at the End of the World.

Our finalists are Bill Nighy, Ian McKellen and Jim Broadbent. It’s true: I’m not afraid to aim too high.

Firstly, I know what you’re thinking. These guys are going to be mightily offended. For goodness’ sake, Gerald Stockwell-Poulter is 87-years old; Ian McKellen is a very youthful-look 77 and both Jim Broadbent and Bill Nighy are 67 going on 50.

Righto, well… let’s just remind ourselves how good Robert  Gustafsson’s (the “funniest man in Sweden“) older-gent disguise was in The 100 Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared:


A young-looking Gustafsson (photo courtesy of Music Box Films)



Gustafsson as 100-year old Allan Karlsson Photo by Egon Andrenjy

Convincing, no?  So, without further ado, let’s have a quick look at the pros and cons of our three delightful contenders…

Bill Nighy

Pros: Nighy has first-hand zombie experience (as Philip in Shaun of the Dead), looks good in tweed (obligatory for Gerald Stockwell-Poulter) and personifies the vintage English gentleman.

Cons: He played a vampire in Underworld and I’m not at all sure Gerald would approve of such millennial fodder.

Ian McKellen


Pros: McKellen also worked on a zombie flick – E’gad, Zombies!a little-known comedy short about an 18th century seaside town stricken by a zombie-like illness and so, like Nighy, he has had some zombie experience. McKellen has also liked playing the roles of an older man since his University days at Cambridge according to a recent interview with the telegraph.

ConsE’gad, Zombies! may be being made into a full length movie (The Curse of the Buxom Strumpet – rather a fetching title!) with McKellen reprising his role and being joined by Judi Dench and Gillian Anderson. The con? Perhaps he will have have filled his zombie quota, as he famously filled his wizard quota with one (magnificent) role.

Jim Broadbent

Pros: In the glorious movie Cloud Atlas, one of Broadbent’s characters is 65-year old Timothy Cavendish who is unwittingly admitted to a nursing home and his escape is a classic example of ‘old men behaving badly’ – good practise for playing Gerald. He’s also had good practise at gardening with his role in the 1992 British comedy series Gone to Seed – look at the DVD cover, is that a pitch fork he’s holding?!

Cons: Broadbent is probably going to be a little tied up for the next couple of years with his new ‘significant’ role in Game of Thrones, season seven and eight. But, hey, GOT has a sizable zombie-ish horde, so it could be classed as a warm-up for a zombie flick…