McKellen Heads to Hogwarts
British acting knight Sir Ian McKellen will replace the late Richard Harris as Professor Albus Dumbledore in the third Harry Potter movie.
The 63-year-old star, who also plays wizard Gandalf in the Lord Of The Rings Trilogy, is set to appear in the third installments of both rival films - after signing to take on the role of the Hogwarts headmaster in Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban. McKellen takes over the role from Harris - who died of cancer in October.
Movie bosses had hoped to cast Harris in the new film - which is due to begin filming in February - by using computer animation and film footage. But they found they did not have the required film available.
Fellow Brit Christopher Lee - another Lord Of The Rings star - was among those tipped to replace Harris. A source on the Warner Bros movie set says, "Everyone has been sworn to secrecy about Ian McKellen getting the role of Dumbledore. One of the production staff let it slip and now it is spreading like wild fire. He got the part just before Christmas but Warner's won't announce it until the New Year. Bosses thought he was the perfect replacement for Harris and, as we all know, he is capable of playing the part of a wizard.
They are not worried about people getting The Lord Of The Rings and Harry Potter confused. They are two very different films."