Gandalf and Dumbledore?! Ian McKellen recently told BBC’s Hardline program that he had the opportunity to play Dumbledore in the Harry Potter series, in addition to being the world’s other most famous wizard, Gandalf, in Lord of the Rings trilogy.
McKellen discussed how he was approached by Warner Brothers after Richard Harris, the original Dumbledore, passed away in 2002. However, McKellen turned down the role, in part, because Harris did not think too highly of his acting. He explained that Harris had stated publicly that McKellen was “technically brilliant but passionless.”
According to McKellen: “When (Harris) died – he played Dumbledore, the wizard – I played the real wizard of course – but when they called me up and said would I 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. I couldn’t take over the part from an actor who I’d known hadn’t approved.”
And even though McKellen never joined the Potter franchise, he discussed how the two wizards actually look very similar and frequently people have mistaken the two. McKellen explained: “Well sometimes when I see posters of Michael Gambon, the actor who gloriously plays Dumbledore (after Harris), I think it’s me…You know, we get asked for each other’s autographs!”
McKellen, don’t worry – we don’t think you lack passion!