Sir Ian McKellen turned down Harry Potter role over Richard Harris remarks
Michael Gambon took on the role following Richard Harris' death in 2002.
Sir Ian McKellen turned down the chance to play Professor Albus Dumbledore in the Harry Potter films because he didn't want to step in to critical Richard Harris' shoes.
The Lord of the Rings star was approached to replace Harris following the veteran's death in 2002, but he turned the role down because he was still reeling from comments the Troy star had made about his acting skills.
"When they called me up and said, 'Would I be interested in being in the Harry Potter films?' they didn't say in what part," McKellen tells BBC's HARDtalk host Stephen Sackur. "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."
Harris called his peer's talents "technically brilliant, but passionless".
Michael Gambon went on to play Dumbledore in six Harry Potter films, but McKellen can still imagine himself as the Headmaster of Hogwarts.
"Well, sometimes, when I see the posters of Mike Gambon, the actor who gloriously plays Dumbledore, I think sometimes it is me," he adds.
Dumbledore is set to return to the big screen in the Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them sequel and director David Yates is hoping Harris' son Jared Harris will portray the character as a younger man.
"In the second Fantastic Beasts movie Dumbledore comes back," he told WENN last year (16). "He's got a couple of good scenes with Newt Scamander in the second movie. We're discussing who will play Dumbledore. We've been talking about Jared Harris, who is a fantastic actor. We need a younger Dumbledore."
The Fantastic Beasts films, starring Oscar winner Eddie Redmayne, are set decades before the birth of Harry Potter. The second Fantastic Beasts film is already in pre-production, and due in cinemas in November, 2018.
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