TOM Cruise almost stopped Sir Ian McKellen getting the two biggest roles of his film career.
The experienced actor, who grew up in Wigan, revealed how he could have missed out on starring in Lord of the Rings and X Men if he had said yes to working on Mission: Impossible II the day before.
I wouldn’t have been in X-Men and I wouldn’t have been in Lord Of The RingsSir Ian McKellen
Sir Ian explained: “It’s ridiculous that I’ve gotten to play both Gandalf and Magneto. How did that come about? One would have been enough. But two? And [they] also nearly might not have happened.
“I got offered a part in Mission: Impossible II with Tom Cruise, but they wouldn’t let me see the whole script because I might have spilled the beans.
“I only got my scenes. Well, I couldn’t judge from reading just those scenes what the script was like.
“So I said no. And my agent said, ‘You can’t say no to working with Tom Cruise!’ and I said, ‘I think I will.’
“The next day, Bryan Singer asked me to play Magneto and then Peter Jackson asked me to play Gandalf, and I said yes to both.
“Then, Bryan Singer’s first X-Men overran its preparation. It had to delay, delay, delay, delay. So I had to call up Peter Jackson and say, ‘I’m sorry. I can’t play Gandalf because X-Men, which I agreed to do first, is overrunning.’
“And Peter Jackson said, ‘Well, I’ll keep it free for you. Let me know what happens.’ I told Bryan Singer and he said, ‘Well, you must do Gandalf. I’ll make sure you get out in time.’ And he did – with three days to spare.
“Meanwhile, Mission Impossible was put off, put off, put off. And if I had decided to do that, I wouldn’t have been in X-Men and I wouldn’t have been in Lord Of The Rings.”
Meanwhile, the 76-year-old showed he is not out of touch with popular culture, as he gave a dramatic and Shakespearean reading of Taylor Swift’s Bad Blood at Yahoo.
He also gave a verse from Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars’ Uptown Funk.
His good friend, Sir Patrick Stewart, also did his own rendition of Blank Space by Taylor Swift.