Ian McKellen turned down the role of Dumbledore in Harry Potter over previous actor’s ‘insult’
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Ian McKellen turned down the role of Dumbledore in Harry Potter over previous actor’s 'insult', it has emerged.
The Lord of the Rings star opened up about why he chose to turn down the beloved role of Hogwarts Headmaster in an interview with the BBC.
Now, as many Potterheads already know, the iconic Albus Dumbledore was played by two different actors in the Harry Potter film franchise, which kicked off in 2001 with Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone.
Harris sadly died in October 2002 after being diagnosed with Hodgkin's disease in August that year.
In the interview, McKellen discussed Harris being a critic of his and lumping fellow actors Kenneth Branagh and Derek Jacobi together.
Harris called them 'technically brilliant but passionless', in which McKellen described as 'nonsense'.
After Harris died in 2002, it was reported his family wanted his lifelong friend Peter O'Toole to take over the role of Dumbledore.
However, there were concerns about insuring O'Toole for the final six films, so the role was eventually given to Michael Gambon.
He said: "When they called me up and said if I would be interested in being in the Harry Potter films, they didn't say what part.
"I worked out what they were thinking, and I couldn't take over the part from an actor I know didn't approve of me.
"When he died, he played Dumbledore, the wizard. I played the real wizard."
It was obviously a bit of a lighthearted joke from McKellen, but his decision to not take on the role of Dumbledore did show the level of respect between him and Harris despite their differences.
Especially after the success of the books, the role of Dumbledore would have been a great opportunity for any actor at the time.
Alongside a likely sizeable paycheck, no one would have blamed McKellen if he decided to take on the role.
However, knowing what Harris thought of him and the wishes of his family on who should take on the role, McKellen decided against the move.
It's fair to say that McKellen hasn't exactly had a shabby career since then, starring in the likes of The Lord of the Rings and X-Men.