Ian McKellen turned down role in Harry Potter films because Dumbledore actor “didn’t approve”

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Lord of the Rings‘ star Sir Ian McKellen could have played another wizard, but in the Harry Potter films, had it not been for Dumbledore actor Richard Harris’ disapproval. McKellen revealed on BBC’s HARDtalk show, that he was approached for the role of Albus Dumbledore, following the death of Harris, who played the character in the first two Harry Potter films.

Harris from Chamber of Secrets.

However, McKellen turned down the part because Harris “didn’t approve” of him as an actor. HARDtalk host Stephen Sackur recited the strong harsh words that Harris had once used to describe McKellen, calling him “technically brilliant but passionless.”

McKellen replied to Sackur by calling it “nonsense” but admitted to not taking the Dumbledore role because of Harris’ views on him:

“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.”

“You mean you could’ve been Dumbledore?” Sackur asked him.

“Well, sometimes, when I see the posters of Mike Gambon, the actor who gloriously plays Dumbledore, I think sometimes it is me,” McKellen joked.

McKellen also joked that he is “the real wizard,” having played Gandalf in Lord of the Rings. Would he have made a good Dumbledore though? Let us know in the comments below…

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