Ian McKellen has revealed why he never joined the Harry Potter franchise.
The stage and screen legend was offered the role of Hogwarts’ headmaster to replace Richard Harris.
Harris died in 2002, shortly after Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets was released to cinema screens.
Warner Brothers quickly approached McKellen, he revealed on the BBC’s Hardline program.
But the actor, best known for playing Gandalf in the Lord of the Rings, turned down the offer – because it didn’t feel right.
And because Harris was not a fan.
‘When he died – he played Dumbledore, the wizard – I played the real wizard of course – but when they called me up and said would I be interested in being in the Harry Potter films, they didn’t say what part,’ said Ian.
‘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 hadn’t approved of me.’
McKellen said Harris had called him, as well as legends Derek Jacobi and Kenneth Branagh, ‘technically brilliant but passionless’.
Host Stephen Sackur then asked the question everyone wanted answered: ‘So you could have been Dumbledore?’
And McKellen revealed how some people seem mistake him for the ‘real’ Dumbledore, Richard Gambon – including himself.
‘Well sometimes when I see posters of Michael Gambon, the actor who gloriously plays Dumbledore, I think it’s me,’ he said.
‘You know, we get asked for each other’s autographs!’