Fans have been reminiscing this week about the great roles made iconic by actor Sean Connery after his passing last weekend. The ones that come to mind are, of course, The Rock, The Untouchables, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, and so many more. But there were a few iconic roles that the actor famously turned down. One of the most famed being Gandalf in Peter Jackson’s 2001 epic, The Lord of the Rings.
This was before the actor retired, so it seems like it would have been a perfect fit. Connery was Jackson’s first choice for the role, and he was hotly pursued. Warner Bros. offered him $30 million to play the role, then sweetened the deal, offering 15 percent of of the franchise’s box office takings, which means he would have walked away with $450 million! But the actor turned it all down.
In a 2012 report from the New Zealand Herald, it was explained that Connery said he ultimately said no to the role because he simply didn’t understand the story. He said, “I read the book. I read the script. I saw the movie. I still don’t understand it. Ian McKellen, I believe, is marvelous in it.”
So there you have it. No amount of money could persuade Connery to fake his way through the story, and that’s pretty admirable. He even had the guts to admit that was why! It would have been cool to see him in that role, but of course Ian McKellan is now our Gandalf, and he is amazing in the role.