Sir Ian McKellen reveals real reason why he turned down role of Dumbledore in Harry Potter
Actor Sir Ian McKellen has finally explained the reason why he turned down the part of Dumbledore in the Harry Potter films.
McKellen seemed like the perfect man to take on the role of the much-loved Dumbledore after Richard Harris sadly passed away in 2002.
When McKellen turned down the opportunity to star in the popular film series, many assumed this was due to his commitments elsewhere, as he was also playing Gandalf in the Lord of the Rings movies. However, the legendary actor has now uncovered the actual reason behind his decision, and it’s not what you might expect.
It turns out that Harris, who portrayed Dumbledore for the first two Harry Potter instalments, actually disapproved of McKellen as an actor.
Talking to BBC interview show HARDtalk, McKellen said: “When he died – he played Dumbledore, the wizard – I played the real wizard [Lord of the Rings‘ Gandalf] of course…
“When they called me up and said would I be interested in being in the Harry Potter films, they wouldn’t say what part but I worked out what they were thinking.”
However, McKellen admitted: “I couldn’t take over the part from an actor who I know disapproved of me.”
According to the actor, Harris had described McKellen, as well as fellow actors Sir Derek Jacobi and Sir Kenneth Branagh, as “technically brilliant but passionless”. Eesh.
In the end, it was Sir Michael Gambon who took on the hefty role for the rest of the Harry Potter series (remember when Dumbledore suddenly picked up an Irish accent and turned a bit angry?) Meanwhile, McKellen continued to play Gandalf in both the Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit movies.
McKellen currently stars as Cogsworth in the live-action adaptation of Beauty and the Beast, and he will also join Emily Blunt, Sylvester Stallone and Danny DeVito in voicing the upcoming animation Animal Crackers.