Ian McKellen Refused To Play Dumbledore For An Oddly Wholesome Reason

Ian McKellen Refused To Play Dumbledore For An Oddly Wholesome Reason
Image credit: Warner Bros, Legion-Media

It was a gracious gesture on the actor's part.

Throughout his long career, Sir Ian McKellen has played countless memorable roles on stage and screen, earning the love of fans around the world. Many of them believe that the role of Gendalf in Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit was one of the actor's most astounding performances, as he has brilliantly captured the essence of this wise and powerful character.

And it turns out that Ian McKellen could have portrayed another iconic wizard from literature, Albus Dumbledore, in the Harry Potter book adaptations. But the actor turned down the role for a reason that may seem petty, though not entirely unreasonable.

During a conversation on BBC HARDtalk, McKellen revealed that he was asked if he would be interested in a role in the Harry Potter films. Considering that he had just recently played Gandalf, the actor quickly figured out which character he was being offered.

However, McKellen turned down the role for a personal reason. As the actor explained, Richard Harris, who portrayed the headmaster of Hogwarts in the first two Harry Potter movies before his passing in 2002, had previously stated that Ian, as well as Derek Jacobi and Kenneth Branagh, were 'technically brilliant but passionless' actors.

When McKellen was offered to replace Harris as Dumbledore, he refused, saying that he 'couldn't take the role from an actor he had known didn't approve of him.'

Fans believe his decision was 'oddly wholesome' because, even though he disagreed with Harris' comment, calling it 'nonsense,' McKellen still respected his late colleague's opinion. It's likely that Harris wouldn't be thrilled about McKellen taking his place as Dumbledore, so it was a logical and gracious decision on the actor's part to turn down the offer.

People also note that the decision has worked well for McKellen, as seeing him play two 'wise wizard' roles back to back might have created some confusion among viewers and lead to further typecasting for the actor.

Ian McKellen Refused To Play Dumbledore For An Oddly Wholesome Reason - image 1
Gandalf (The Lord of the Rings)

And Ian McKellen probably realized that himself. The actor mentioned that, looking at the Harry Potter movie posters with Michael Gambon as Dumbledore, he sometimes couldn't help but think it was him.

Speaking of Michael Gambon, the new Dumbledore actor proved to be a worthy successor to Richard Harris, and some fans believe that the eccentricity and mystery he brought to the character make his performance even more enjoyable.

Who do you think is a better Dumbledore?

Sources: BBC, Reddit