Why did Sean Connery say no to Gandalf role? James Bond star turned down $450M offer for 'The Lord of the Rings'
If things had gone as planned, the late Sean Connery would be known across the globe, not just for playing the iconic British Superspy, James Bond, but also for playing Gandalf, one of the classic fan-favorite characters in 'The Lord of the Rings'. The Scottish actor turned down the role for one simple reason -- he just didn't understand the part.
According to NME, this refusal actually meant the actor lost out a massive $450million dollars. The Peter Jackson adaptation of Tolkien's fantasy trilogy finally saw Ian McKellen, another Brit actor land the role. But then, safe to say, it would have almost been Connery. Gandalf was an Istar, sent to Middle-earth in the Third Age to combat Sauron's threat. He joined Thorin and his company to take back the Lonely Mountain from Smaug the dragon, convoked the Fellowship of the Ring to destroy the 'One Ring', and led the Free Peoples in the final campaign of the War of the Ring.
The fact is that Connery was also tempted with a 15% stake in the franchise's profits, and a yes could have potentially earned him as much as $400 million but for Connery, it was a no-deal. Celebritynetworth's Brian Warner wrote that this was a money loss for the actor. "Even a veteran star like Sean can make a mistake so big that it ultimately causes him to lose out on a mind-blowing amount of money," he said. On his part, Connery had 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."
Connery epitomized Bond with his debut in 1962’s 'Dr. No'. His charisma, the raw humor, the impeccable timing of his one-liners made him one of the most favorite actors to play the titular character. Such was his perfect portrayal that he starred in six more Bond films— 'From Russia with Love' (1963), 'Goldfinger' (1964), 'Thunderball' (1965), and 'You Only Live Twice' (1967) – then reprised the role again in 'Diamonds Are Forever' (1971) and 'Never Say Never Again' (1983).
All of his seven films as the debonair character were critical and commercial successes. Connery died on Saturday (October 31) aged 90 in the Bahamas. The Scot has also dished out exceptional performances in films like 'Murder on the Orient Express', 'The Man Who Would Be King', 'The Name of the Rose', 'Highlander', 'Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade', 'The Hunt for Red October', ‘Dragonheart', and 'The Rock'.