As the once actor told the People Magazine he almost ended up in shooting Mission Impossible 2, with Tom Cruise. But luckily for all of the fans, he turned down Tom Cruise just at right time to get the roles of Gandalf and Magneto. The main reason of turning down the Mission Impossible shooting is that the director has not allowed him to read the whole script.
“Well, I couldn't judge from reading just those scenes what the script was like,” McKellen recalls. “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.’"
Only one day after turning down the role in Mission Impossible, both Peter Jackson and Bryan Singer offered him roles in their upcoming blockbusters. He accepted to play Gandalf and Magneto in those movies and the rest is history.
“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.’”
Even thou, his agent advised him to take the role in Mission Impossible, McKellen turned down Tom Cruise and went shooting LOTR and X-Men.
According to fans and his ever rising popularity it is certain that Sir Ian McKellen made the right choice, would you agree?