While Michael Gambon did a pretty bang-up job of bringing Dumbledore to the screen after Richard Harris‘ death, it’s hard to deny that the Dumbledore depicted by Harris had a very magical charm (these are not puns I promise) to him and it must have been a very difficult task replacing him.
You might be wondering why, if they were looking for a kindly yet powerful, mysterious yet warm master of magic, they wouldn’t try to get Sir Ian McKellan on board – a lovely old gay man to play a lovely old gay wizard. Well, wonder no more: they did.
Apparently, they approached him for the role, but he knocked it back because Harris just did not like him, McKellan told BBC‘s ‘Hardline‘:
“When he died – he played Dumbledore, the wizard – I played the real wizard [Gandalf] 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.”
“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.”
McKellan told the show that Harris had described himself and fellow actors Kenneth Branagh and Derek Jacobi as “technically brilliant, but passionless“, which is the opposite of how people usually describe sex with me (I’m sorry about that terrible joke, but not sorry enough to remove it).
Look, I’m still glad we had Gambon, but it’s fun to imagine what a hybrid Gandalf/Dumbledore might have looked like.
Source: The Independent.