This Is Why Sir Ian McKellen Turned Down The Role Of Dumbledore

“I couldn’t take over the part from an actor who I know disapproved of me.”

If you’re a fan of Harry Potter, you know that in the first two movies, the character of Albus Dumbledore was played perfectly by Richard Harris.

If you're a fan of Harry Potter, you know that in the first two movies, the character of Albus Dumbledore was played perfectly by Richard Harris.

After Harris died in October 2002 – in between filming ended on Chamber of Secrets and started on Prisoner of Azkaban – Dumbledore was recast. He was played by Michael Gambon for the remaining six films.

Warner Bros.

Some fans have issues with the way Gambon portrayed the characteristically wise and gentle Dumbledore – to be fair, Richard Harris was perfect, and it was a tough act to follow.

Some fans have issues with the way Gambon portrayed the characteristically wise and gentle Dumbledore – to be fair, Richard Harris was perfect, and it was a tough act to follow.

(Although he didn't help himself when he admitted to having not read the books.)

Warner Bros.

And ever since, fans have speculated over who ~should~ have played Dumbledore after Harris’ death. One incredibly popular suggestion is Sir Ian McKellen.

And ever since, fans have speculated over who ~should~ have played Dumbledore after Harris' death. One incredibly popular suggestion is Sir Ian McKellen.

It seemed like an obvious choice: He's one of Britain's finest actors, has experience playing the wise wizard Gandalf in Lord of the Rings, and has even been mistaken for the actor who did play Dumbledore in public.

New Line Cinema

But now McKellen has revealed that he actually was approached to play Dumbledore after Harris’ death, and turned down the role – but not because he didn’t want it.

But now McKellen has revealed that he actually was approached to play Dumbledore after Harris' death, and turned down the role – but not because he didn't want it.

Mike Coppola / Getty Images


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