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Behind the Scenes of: The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)

Behind the scenes of: The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)

Legends of the screen, Sir Ian McKellen and the late Sir Christopher Lee whizz around on a golf cart in full Gandalf and Saruman costume between takes.

Ironically both actors were reportedly considered to replace Richard Harris as Dumbledore after he sadly passed away from Hodgkin’s disease just a week before the release of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002).

Ian McKellen was apparently approached but turned down the role for a number of reasons. The main being that Richard Harris had been critical of him as an actor in the past. He said of not only McKellen but also fellow actors Derek Jacobi (Gladiator) and Kenneth Branagh (Dunkirk), that they were “technically brilliant, but passionless.”

Ian McKellen said in an interview on BBC’s HARDtalk some years back:

“When he died, he played Dumbledore, the wizard. I played the real wizard…When they called me up and said would I be interested in being in the Harry Potter films, they wouldn’t say what part, 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 didn’t approve of me.”

Christopher Lee on the other hand wasn’t overly impressed with the rumours of his casting, saying:

“I have not been asked to appear in the next Harry Potter film and I probably won't. I consider this matter in very bad taste. The man had only been dead for about 10 days when this gossip started to go round.”

As it happens, Michael Gambon (Sleepy Hollow) was eventually cast as Dumbledore and the whole thing turned out fine.

Each actor has cemented themselves in movie history playing three of the most iconic and memorable wizards ever written. 🧙‍♂️

Could you imagine the Harry Potter movies with either of these actors as Dumbledore or are you glad they stuck with their Lord of the Rings characters? Let me know.👇

You’ve got to love this picture of them both! 🙌

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