Sir Ian McKellen Almost Turned Down Gandalf Role

Can you imagine what The Lord of the Rings film trilogy would've been like without Ian McKellen?

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By HelaGood - 11/9/2011
It's true! According to the Lord of the Rings 10-year anniversary special in the December edition of Empire magazine, McKellen calls Gandalf the "role of a lifetime" but says he nearly missed out on it.

The story goes that after he signed on to play Gandalf the Grey, his filming schedule nearly prevented him from doing so. And it was all doue to a little film called X-Men in which Sir Ian played Magneto.

It was thanks to a chance meeting at a London restaurant with New Line Cinema executive Bob Shaye that prevented McKellen from quitting. McKellen told Shaye about his scheduling conflict and Shaye told the actor that he would take care of it. The producer adjusted the schedule so they could proceed with filming Lord of the Rings for three months without McKellen, which allowed him to complete his role as Magneto.



Now I love McKellen and personally could not imagine anyone else playing Gandalf. However, I could totally see numerous actors playing Magneto. To think he almost couldn't play his "role of a lifetime" because he wanted to play Magneto.

Sometimes it is a really good thing to be in the right place at the right time...

Thanks, Mr. Shaye!!
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35 Comments
Denn1s - 11/9/2011, 11:40 AM
he was great in both roles
yeoldeemoney - 11/9/2011, 11:42 AM
Hobbits.
HelaGood - 11/9/2011, 11:51 AM
Seriously, who else couldve played Gandalf??

Christopher Plummer?

Brian Cox??

Albert Finney??

Sean Connery was actually offered the role...
ecksmanfan - 11/9/2011, 11:56 AM
Lol...Connery turned it, along with Morpheus in the Matrix, down because he didn't under stand them! lmao!
AC1 - 11/9/2011, 11:57 AM
I couldn't imagine anyone else as Gandalf.

I loved his chemistry with Patrick Stewart in the X-Films, but his actual Magneto was a little too tame for me.
nld3 - 11/9/2011, 12:04 PM
I have to say Sean Connery was also offered the role and would have been awesome. He did turn it down & decided too stay retired.
RunDTC - 11/9/2011, 12:05 PM
can't believe Sean Connery turned down LotR and The Matrix but did League of Extraodinary Gentlemen. his agent need fear for his life.
ryanjdrf1992 - 11/9/2011, 12:05 PM
Well the first person Jackson asked to play Gandalf was Sean Connery so... they might have gone back and asked him
Sparrowsabre7 - 11/9/2011, 12:09 PM
^ Which would have been AWFUL. I love the guy but like Arnie he's best loved for playing himself basically. A scenery chewing Gandalf would've not worked at all IMO. So glad McKellen got to do both, he was awesome as both.
MartianSupermanhunter22 - 11/9/2011, 12:09 PM
Thank god.
villain001 - 11/9/2011, 12:14 PM
would have been different without this fudge packer
Shaman - 11/9/2011, 12:40 PM
Him:



Would have been the perfect THIS:

JackBauer - 11/9/2011, 12:44 PM
It's a good thing that he ran into that exec. He was good as Magneto but he was great as Gandalf.
devil - 11/9/2011, 12:46 PM
sir ian mckellen is gandalf
Shaman - 11/9/2011, 12:55 PM
Oh [frick] you with the hotlinking. As if you shot the damn pic yourself.

nuck82 - 11/9/2011, 1:00 PM
yes connery turned them down because he didnt understand them and saw how good they were and then the jackass was told about LXG jumped on because he didnt want to miss out and look what we got lol
plasticman - 11/9/2011, 1:10 PM
My choices for Gandolf:

Burt Reynolds
Tom Arnold
Ed Bagley Jr
Jerry Stiller
and if he was still alive...Burgess Meredith
headlopper - 11/9/2011, 1:52 PM
Wouldn't have been the same without him...he OWNED the role of Gandolf!

Photobucket
plasticman - 11/9/2011, 2:09 PM
I thought of one more...Michael Winslow. He be dope wit his voice!
AlexRival - 11/9/2011, 2:11 PM
Ryan Reynolds should have been Gandalf.
RadicalDuck - 11/9/2011, 2:13 PM
McKellen is brilliant in both. But seriously guys? Sean Connery as Gandalf? Jesus that would have been awful!
WesleyGibson - 11/9/2011, 2:57 PM
It would have been cool to see Sean Connery as Morpheus. That itself would have had a completely different take on The Matrix

Fishburne did awesome though.
Moonwalker1991 - 11/9/2011, 3:20 PM
LOTR wouldn't have been the same without Sir Ian Mckellen. He was one of my favorite characters. In the Two Towers one of the best parts is when he fights the Balrog and returns as Gandalf The White.
marvel72 - 11/9/2011, 3:54 PM
thank f*ck he didn't,gandalf & gollum are my favorite characters from the lord of the rings movie trilogy.
comicb00kguy - 11/9/2011, 4:01 PM
I'm glad that executive was able to tweak McKellen's schedule. He was a good Magneto, but he WAS Gandalf, just the way I'd always imagined him while reading LOTR. Interesting story!
Facade - 11/9/2011, 4:35 PM
McKellen IS Gandalf.
Spectre94 - 11/9/2011, 5:55 PM
He triumphed in both roles
HellsHammer - 11/9/2011, 6:37 PM
funny how most actors almost turned down or didnt get their iconic roles
Julesimanerd - 11/9/2011, 7:44 PM
he is an amazing actor. glad he stuck with it.
AlexRival - 11/9/2011, 9:51 PM
This actually got me thinking, do you think some actors are hesitant about taking iconic roles (doesn't seem to be the case here) because they're afraid of messing it up?
superpooper - 11/10/2011, 1:54 AM
I actually thought he was a little too old for Magneto. Of course that's how old he would be, continuity wise, but I would've rather he been depicted as less "elderly". [frick] continuity.
VictorHugo - 11/10/2011, 2:21 AM
I always wanted Rutger Hauer (young or old) as Magneto.
Shaman - 11/10/2011, 4:48 AM
VictorHugo- Damn straight!!! But i have a slight preference for Ed Harris since he's taller and pretty much played the perfect Magneto in The Rock already. But Hauer would've been perfect as well :))

Gusto- ShamWows are awesome for after sex cleanup!
HarryBloodscreaming - 11/10/2011, 6:19 AM
I agree that McKellen did a fantastic job in the role of Gandalf, but if he hadn't done it, I have always thought that Max Von Sydow would have been a great choice.
HelaGood - 11/10/2011, 8:25 AM
rutger wouldve made a KILLER magneto!!!

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