WATCH: Here's why Ian McKellen turned down Dumbledore role

MANILA, Philippines – British actor Ian McKellen is known for playing Magneto and Gandalf in X-Men and The Lord of the Rings, but he almost played the role of Hogwarts headmaster Albus Dumbledore too.

In an interview on the BBC's HARDtalk, released online on Tuesday, April 4, the actor explained why he turned the role down.

During the interview, host Stephen Sackur brought up that the late Richard Harris, who played Dumbledore in the first two Harry Potter films, said that Ian, Derek Jacobi, and Kenneth Branagh were “technically brilliant but passionless” when it came to acting.

Ian then shared that he was offered a role in the Harry Potter series when Richard died in 2002, saying: "When they called me up and said would I be interested in being in a Harry Potter film, 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 didn’t approve of me,” he said.

Ian also joked later on: “Sometimes when I see the posters of Mike Gambon, the actor who gloriously plays Dumbledore, I think sometimes it is me.” Michael Gambon took over the role in the films that followed Richard's death.

Ian recently voiced Cogsworth in the Beauty and the Beast live-action remake starring Emma Watson and Dan Stevens. –