Ian McKellen reveals why he turned down the chance to play Dumbledore



Sir Ian McKellen has revealed why he didn’t want to play Harry Potter’s Professor Dumbledore.


McKellen – best known for playing another wizard, Gandalf the Grey/White in the Lord of the Rings trilogy – has said he couldn’t take over the Hogwarts headmaster role after the death of Richard Harris as he thought Harris wasn’t his biggest fan.

The Hobbit actor told BBC’s HARDtalk: “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. I couldn’t take over the part from an actor who I know disapproved of me.”

However, there’s a little consolation for McKellen: “Sometimes when I look at the posters of Michael Gambon, the actor that gloriously plays Dumbledore, I sometimes think it’s me. You know, we get asked for each other’s autographs!”

But McKellen’s lucky to be confused for Dumbledore: the actor previously revealed he almost missed out on playing Gandalf AND X-Men’s Magneto after being offered a role in Mission Impossible 2. Fortunately, he turned down the chance of acting with Tom Cruise, opting to play the metal-bending mutant and Middle Earth’s most powerful wizard (soz, Saruman).


You can watch McKellen’s full HARDtalk interview on BBC iPlayer