Sean Connery death: Actor turned down Lord of the Rings because he 'didn't understand it'

Decision is said to have cost him $450m

Jacob Stolworthy@Jacob_Stol
Sunday 01 November 2020 10:46
Sean Connery dies aged 90

Sean Connery had numerous memorable roles to his name, including James Bond, Indiana Jones and Jim Malone in gangster film The Untouchables.

He almost added another character to his bursting list of credits – one that would have seen him introduced to an entire new generation.

Connery – who was a nude model before he became an actor – was the first choice to play the wizard Gandalf in Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings trilogy, but the actor turned down the chance.

The Scottish actor once told the New Zealand Herald he made the decision to stay away from the trilogy’s first film, The Fellowship of the Ring, as he "never understood" it.

"I read the book. I read the script. I saw the movie. I still don't understand it," he said.

Ian McKellen eventually accepted the role, and Connery said of his performance: "I believe [he] is marvellous in it."

A 2012 report claimed that Connery's decision cost him $450m (£347.6m) due to the fact the trilogy went on to become one of the biggest of all time.

While Connery had been offered $30m (£23m) for the role, producers also said they would give him 15 per cent of the box office takings.

Connery's final film was 2003's The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. Its production was so troubled that it ultimately prompted him to retire from acting.

Find The Independent's tribute to Connery here – and our ranking of his 10 best roles here.

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