Sir Ian McKellen has become one of Hollywood's most beloved actors between his roles of Gandalf from #TheLordoftheRings and #TheHobbit movies and Magneto from the #XMen movies. Because of the former role, it's a semi-common misconception that the 77-year-old actor also portrayed Albus Dumbledore in the Harry Potter movies; in reality, it was Michael Gambon who took over the magical role after Richard Harris' passing in 2002.
Gandalf and Dumbledore are constantly being compared. But today we learned that Ian McKellen almost played the other famous wizard — and the reason why he didn't...
Ian McKellen Said 'No' To Dumbledore
Ian McKellen recently made an appearance on BBC’s HARDtalk show, and the host, Stephen Sackur, brought up a quote of Richard Harris' about Sir Ian McKellen; Harris said McKellen as an actor is "technically brilliant but passionless," to which McKellen responded, "Yeah, nonsense."
With Richard Harris being discussed, McKellen revealed that he was approached by Warner Bros. to play the role of Albus Dumbledore following the other actor's death after the first two Harry Potter films. McKellen explained:
“When they called me up and said would I be interested in being in the Harry Potter films, they didn’t say in what part. I worked out what they were thinking, and I couldn’t… I couldn’t take over the part from an actor who I’d known didn’t approve of me.”
Stephen Sackur replied: "You could have been Dumbledore?"
McKellen added: "When I see the posters of Mike Gambon, who gloriously played Dumbledore, I think sometimes it's me. We get asked for each other's autographs."
Ian McKellen didn't take the role of Dumbledore out of respect for Richard Harris, who didn't care for his acting. In the end, it doesn't seem to bother McKellen that much, as he refers to himself as "the real wizard," which is a point that could be argued forever by fans of each franchise's movies and novels.
While McKellen is a phenomenal actor and owned the role of Gandalf the Grey, casting him as the new Dumbledore would've been a weird choice (and confused people a lot more than it already does).
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On the other hand, it would've been very interesting to see what McKellen might do with the role to set it apart from his other one. Fans would be eager to see some screen tests and auditions. Alas, this is a thing of the past now, so let's just be thankful that Michael Gambin did such a terrific job of taking over the role of Dumbledore.
Would you have preferred Ian McKellen over Michael Gambin?
What do YOU guys think? Do you think McKellen should have taken the offer? Discuss below!