Ian Mckellen would have gladly given up his Lord of the Rings role to star in Mission: Impossible as back then he did not know how big the fantasy franchise was

While Hugh Jackman Became Wolverine Because of Tom Cruise, Mission Impossible Star Almost Derailed Ian McKellen’s X-Men Role

Hugh Jackman and Tom Cruise, are two actors who hold onto some of the most iconic roles in cinema. From Wolverine to Ethan Hunt, there is a range that both of them have provided, bringing to them filmographies that are greatly valued by the fans. Individually, their careers are streams of success in their own paths. However, there is a way in which their paths cross.
Hugh JackmanHugh Jackman

Unusually so, it is not just Jackman whose career as part of the X-Men clashed with Cruise’s but also Sir Ian McKellen’s. Ironically enough, one of Cruise’s co-stars was interested in an X-Men character just as much as McKellen was interested in a role in Mission: Impossible 2. However, neither could get the roles they wanted.

Ian McKellen Was Ready to Give Up Lord of the Rings for Tom Cruise

Ian McKellen revealed during a talk at a BAFTA event in 2015 that to him, Lord of the Rings was nothing important. He stated that an offer had come from Tom Cruise himself regarding a small role in Mission: Impossible 2. It was not something he was ready to skip. At the same time, however, he was offered the role of Gandalf in J. R. R. Tolkien’s franchise.

“I wasn’t mad keen, it was a year living in New Zealand…a year away from home, with a script that wasn’t quite complete, based on books that I didn’t know about. [I didn’t think it was the] huge, big chance of a lifetime that it turned out to be. I very nearly couldn’t do it because initially I was asked by Tom Cruise to be in Mission: Impossible 2.”
He admitted that there was very little he knew about the famous franchise and was willing to give up on the role because he did not realize just how big of an opportunity was presented before him.

Ian McKellen was Willing to Sabotage his X-Men Career

In the same BAFTA event, Ian McKellen ended up admitting that Tom Cruise’s offer was something he was so keen on that he would have rather played the part that ended up going to Anthony Hopkins than Gandalf. However, that was back then. The series took off almost instantly and it was a great opportunity he was glad he did not miss out on.
Tom Cruise

Tom Cruise
Interestingly enough, the role in Mission: Impossible almost became the reason for his not choosing the X-Men movies. Ironically enough, it was Dougray Scott, Tom Cruise’s co-star in the franchise who was first in line to play Wolverine, a role that eventually went to Hugh Jackman because of his schedule tied with the franchise.