During a new interview with Variety, the award-winning Thespian discusses his new project The Critic, in which he takes the lead opposite Lesley Manville and Gemma Arterton.
However, Sir Ian wasn’t the first actor to be offered the part, taking over in the role after Simon Russell Beale was forced to drop out due to prior commitments.
“I don’t think you’re ever the first choice,” he insisted, before pointing out he “certainly wasn’t the first choice for Gandalf”.
“Tony Hopkins turned it down,” Sir Ian continued, referencing the two-time Oscar-winning star of Silence Of The Lambs. “Sean Connery certainly did.”
He added: “They’re all coming out of the woodwork now, and I hope they feel silly.”
Sean Connery previously claimed he turned down the part of Gandalf because he “never understood” the world of Middle Earth.
While Sir Ian might not have been first on the list to play Gandalf, he won huge acclaim for his performance, including one of his only two Oscar nominations for The Fellowship Of The Ring.
The Olivier winner appeared in all three films of Peter Jackson’s Lord Of The Rings trilogy, before reprising the role of Gandalf in the New Zealand-born director’s adaptations of The Hobbit.