Sean Connery positively radiated star power, charm and charisma each time he appeared on the big screen, but during his career, he regularly came in for criticism claiming that he would basically play himself in every role. That’s a hugely unfair assessment, though, and while he found it very difficult to mask his signature accent, one of the few times he actually tried, it ironically ended up with him winning an Academy Award for The Untouchables.
Connery was also pretty selective about the projects he chose to sign on to, although that didn’t always work out in his favor, with his experience on infamous dud The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen leading to his retirement from acting. The first and arguably best James Bond rejected a number of high profile gigs as well, including Jurassic Park‘s John Hammond, Harry Potter‘s Albus Dumbledore, Die Hard with a Vengeance‘s Simon Gruber and most famously of all, The Lord of the Rings‘ Gandalf. Though we now have a look at how that last one could’ve gone down thanks to the awesome deepfake video up above.
As LOTR fans surely know, Peter Jackson offered Connery the chance to play the trilogy’s wizened wizard, but the Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade star didn’t understand the script despite having read the books, and ultimately missed out on a $450 million payday thanks to rejecting a contract that would have seen him earn 15% of the box office profits.
Ian McKellen ended up taking the role instead, landing an Academy Award nomination after debuting in The Fellowship of the Ring for his troubles, and it now seems impossible to imagine anyone else as Gandalf. Besides, The Lord of the Rings relied heavily on an ensemble cast that featured few big names, so you could even make the argument Sean Connery was almost too famous for the part and could’ve been a distracting presence no matter how well he played it.