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Ian McKellen says he’s still mistaken for late actor Michael Gambon

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Ian McKellen has revealed that he still gets mistaken for the late Michael Gambon.

The pair have often drawn similarities due to both playing wizards Gandalf and Dumbledore in the Lord Of The Rings and Harry Potter franchises.

Gambon died last year aged 82 – though McKellen revealed on last weekend’s (February 9) The Graham Norton Show that despite this, fans have recently mixed the two up.

Noting they are “often mistaken for each other”, the Gandalf actor recalled an incident from the previous week, explaining: “I was waiting for the Docklands Light Railway to take me back from the West End to home, and a voice behind me said, ‘Excuse me.’

“I turned round, there are two young women in their 20s and one of them said, ‘Are you Michael Gambon?’ And I said, ‘Michael Gambon is dead.’ And she said, ‘Yes I know but are you Michael Gambon?’

“I said, ‘Michael Gambon is dead!’” McKellen further recalled of his frustration. “That is an exit line, I swanned on through the DLR, and she followed.

“And she was laughing and giggling with her pal, and I think what she was doing was she was texting her friend and saying, ‘I’ve just seen a ghost.’”

During the interview, McKellen also shared one encounter he had with Gambon while he was still alive.

“I said, ‘Do you ever get mistaken for me?’” he recalled. “And he said, ‘The whole time.’ And I said, ‘What do you do?’ And he said, ‘Oh they bring by their wretched 10x8s of you as Gandalf.’ I said, ‘What do you do?’ He said, ‘Oh I just sign your name.’”

Sir Ian McKellen during the filming for the Graham Norton Show at BBC Studioworks 6 Television Centre, Wood Lane, London, to be aired on BBC One on Friday evening. Picture date: Thursday February 8, 2024. CREDIT: Getty/Isabel Infantes/PA Images

Back in 2017, McKellen revealed that he was in line to take over the role of Dumbledore before Gambon signed on following the death of original actor Richard Harris.

“When [Harris] died – he played Dumbledore, the wizard [while] I played the real wizard [Gandalf], of course – [the producers] called me up and said would I be interested in being in the Harry Potter films, they didn’t say what part,” he told the BBC’s HARDTALK.

“But I worked out what they were thinking. I couldn’t take over the part from an actor who I know disapproved of me.”

He also said at the time that he sometimes confused himself for Gambon, adding: “Sometimes when I look at the posters of Michael Gambon, the actor that gloriously plays Dumbledore, I sometimes think it’s me. You know, we get asked for each other’s autographs!”

Meanwhile, last year McKellen opened up about the “worst moviemaking experience” of his career, admitting working with Michael Mann on 1983 horror The Keep was a low point.

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NME Original Article

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