WATCH: Ian McKellen Explains Why He Passed on Playing Dumbledore in ‘Harry Potter’

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Legendary actor Ian McKellen has held many magical roles, literally.  Arguably best known as Gandolf from The Lord of the Rings films, it’s safe to say that McKellen has a familiarity with film wizardry and, he was almost part of another magical franchise.

During a recent appearance on the BBC show HARDtalk, McKellen discussed being offered the role of Albus Dumbledore after Richard Harris, the actor to originate the role, passed away.  Ultimately, McKellen passed on the role but, nobody really knew why, until now.

When HARDtalk host Stephen Sackur brought up a quote from Harris, where he called McKellen, “technically brilliant but passionless,” McKellen replied by saying, “Nonsense.”  McKellen joke, comparing playing Gandolf to Dumbledore by saying, “I played the real wizard.”

At that point, he dished on what happened when he was approached for the role in Harry Potter:

“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.”

The role was ultimately played by Michael Gambon for the final six films in the Harry Potter series.  Regarding Gambon, McKellen joked:

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

So, what do you think?  Would Ian McKellen have made a good Albus Dumbledore?  Let us know your thoughts in the comment section and check out this moment from the BBC interview below:

 

Source: Entertainment Weekly

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