Ian McKellen reveals why he turned down the role of Dumbledore

Ian McKellen has revealed that he refused to take over the role of Dumbledore in the Harry Potter series from an actor that didn't respect his work.

When Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, came out in 2001 it revealed a perfect Dumbledore played by Sir Richard Harris. Unfortunately, Harris died in October of 2002 before completing the third Harry Potter installment. The role of the wise old wizard was then recast to be played by Michael Gambon for the remaining six films.

Gambon’s portrayal of Dumbledore is still a hot issue for the Harry Potter fan base. Over the years, many have speculated on which actor might have played a better Dumbledore. One of the more popular names has always been Sir Ian McKellen. After all, he did a great job playing another wise old wizard in The Lord of the Rings trilogy and The Hobbit trilogy.

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In a recent interview on BBC, McKellen admits that he was offered the part of Dumbledore after Harris’ passing, but he turned it down.

“When they called me up and said would I be interested in being in the Harry Potter films, they wouldn’t say what part. But I worked out what they were thinking. I couldn’t take over the part from an actor who I know disapproved of me.”

Apparently, Harris once called McKellen “Technically brilliant, but passionless.”


Ironically, even McKellen himself thinks he looks enough like Gambon to have passed as Dumbledore.

He laughed while sharing, "Well, sometimes when I see posters of Michael Gambon, the actor who gloriously plays Dumbledore, I think it's me. You know, we get asked for each other's autographs!"

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