10 Actors Who Turned Down Iconic Roles For Stupid Reasons

6. Sean Connery Didn't Understand The Scripts - Morpheus (The Matrix) & Gandalf (The Lord Of The Rings)

Sean Connery LXG Morpheus The Matrix Gandalf Lord of the Rings
Fox & Warner Bros.

The Roles

In The Matrix, Sean Connery was offered the part of Neo's (Keanu Reeves) sage mentor Morpheus, which of course eventually went to Laurence Fishburne.

And because that's not bad enough, Connery also rejected an offer to play Gandalf in The Lord of the Rings trilogy, as was subsequently accepted by Ian McKellen.

Why He Turned Them Down

Amusingly, the answer is reportedly the same in both instances: Connery didn't understand the scripts and passed on them.

Peter Jackson was so keen to have Connery be a part of his epic trilogy he even convinced the producers to offer him $10 million per film as well as a 15% cut of the trilogy's box office.

This would've netted Connery approximately $400 million, and though the Bond icon is said to be worth north of $100 million regardless, that's definitely worth kicking yourself over no matter how rich you might be.

To rub salt in the wound further, Connery opted not to get caught short three times in a row and accepted the role of Allan Quatermain in 2003's The League of Extraordinary Gentleman despite again failing to connect with the script.

Sadly this time the film cratered critically and commercially, and so the obvious franchise prospects - and the inevitably massive paydays expected to follow - quickly went up in smoke.

Granted, Fishburne and McKellen are so perfect as Morpheus and Gandalf that it's tough to imagine Connery doing them any better, but he turned down literal mountains of money here.


Stay at home dad who spends as much time teaching his kids the merits of Martin Scorsese as possible (against the missus' wishes). General video game, TV and film nut. Occasional sports fan. Full time loon.