Sean Connery lost $450m refusing Gandalf role

Ian McKellen played Gandalf after Sean Connery turned the part down. Photo/supplied
Ian McKellen played Gandalf after Sean Connery turned the part down. Photo/supplied

Sean Connery cost himself $US450 million when he turned down the chance to play Gandalf in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, a report says.

The former James Bond actor was offered $US30 million to play the wizard in the fantasy films directed by Peter Jackson, a Celebrity Networth report says.

Producers Warner Bros attempted to seal a deal with the Scottish actor by also offering him 15 per cent of the franchise's box office takings, the report said.

Despite that, Connery turned down the role because of his concerns over the script and it eventually fell to the lesser known British actor Ian McKellen.

The Rings trilogy went on to make $US2.9 billion in box office takings, with the first film alone raking in more than $1 billion.

Had Connery accepted the Gandalf role, his 15 per cent of those takings would have been worth $US450 million.

Instead he accepted a part in the critically panned film The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, which lost $US12 million at the box office.

He has since retired from acting.

Connery has never confirmed he turned down the Gandalf role, but has admitted he never understood the script, saying: "I read the book. I read the script. I saw the movie. I still don't understand it. Ian McKellen, I believe, is marvellous in it."

McKellen is set to reprise his role as Gandalf in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, which will premiere at Wellington's Embassy Theatre on November 28.

Worst movie mistakes

* Will Smith turned down the role of Neo in The Matrix.

* Hugh Jackman reportedly refused the part of James Bond in a reboot of the franchise. It went to Daniel Craig, who is now the highest paid Bond in history.

* Matt Damon and Jake Gyllenhaal were both reported to have turned down the lead role in James Cameron's Avatar. It went on to become the highest grossing movie of all time.

* Mel Gibson turned down the part of Maximus in Gladiator. It netted Russell Crowe an Oscar for best actor.

* Jack Nicholson turned down the iconic role of Michael Corleone in The Godfather, saying "At the time I believed Indians should play roles written for Indians and Italians should do the same."

- Herald Online

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