Harry Potter: Sir Ian McKellen didn’t turn down Dumbledore after all

Remember the story that Sir Ian McKellen turned down the chance to play Dumbledore in Harry Potter from movie three? Well, that wasn’t the case!

Harry Potter originally cast Richard Harris as Albus Dumbledore. Sadly, the actor passed away after filming the second movie and a new Dumbledore had to be found. There was a rumor that Sir Ian McKellen was offered the role but turned it down, so it then went to Michael Gambon.

Well, it turns out the rumors aren’t true. McKellen never did turn down the role. At least, that’s what we can gather from a recent game of Two Truths and a Lie with Helen Mirren to promote their movie The Good Liar. Of course, considering the focus of the movie, it’s hard to tell if McKellen was telling the truth about the one of three that was a lie.

The three statements were:

  • The first film I ever made was never released.
  • I turned down the role of Dumbledore in the Harry Potter movies.
  • Kate Beckinsale once proposed marriage to me.

It does seem odd, though, that it’s the middle one that is the lie. And not because we don’t believe Kate Beckinsale ever proposed marriage, but because of previous statements made. According to Cinema BlendMcKellen reportedly said that he was asked to take on the role of Dumbledore (although nobody outrightly said it would be this role) and he couldn’t have taken on the role after the passing of another great actor.

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Maybe, during the game, the two actors were just playing the part of their characters in The Good Liar. It certainly makes some excellent promotional material, right? It makes us believe the conman that McKellen’s character is in the movie even more.

However, last year, McKellen told Time Out that he’d been offered the role and would take it. Nobody came back to him after that and Michael Gambon was the one to eventually land the role from the third movie.

I guess we’ll never get to the bottom of it.

Which do you think are the two truths and a lie? Would you have liked to see Sir Ian McKellen as Dumbledore? Share your thoughts in the comments below.