As a fan of Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, and Sir Ian McKellan, seeing the veteran actor play Albus Dumbledore would have been great.
But the veteran actor has revealed that he turned down the opportunity to play the (other) iconic wizard in the Harry Potter series because Richard Harris, who initially played the Hogwarts Headmaster and was replaced by Michael Gambon after his passing, “didn’t approve of him”.
Talking to Stephen Sackur, of BBC News’ HARDtalk, McKellan said, “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 take over the part from an actor who I'd known didn't approve of me”.
McKellan’s comment came after Sackur quoted Harris, who once said that he, and fellow actors Keneth Branagh and Derek Jacobi, were “Technically brilliant, but passionless”.
This is not the first time however, that McKellan has spoken about the apparent ‘bad blood’ between him and Harris as, in a 2004 interview, he had expressed an interest in simply appearing in the Harry Potter films, not necessarily as Dumbledore, but never heard from the producers.
He also went on to say that Harris was “a disappointed man because I had played Gandalf and he had to settle for Dumblewit. Or Dumblebore, I should say” and that Harris was apparently ‘upset over the idea he [McKellan] would take over the role’.