Everyone on the planet loves Ian McKellen. How can you not? Not only is he one of the world’s most celebrated actors who has picked up countless awards throughout his storied career, but he’s also portrayed two of the most iconic character in literature history: X-Men’s Magneto and Lord of the Rings’ Gandalf.
It was his performance as the latter that really caught the eye of internet entrepreneur Sean Parker. In fact, Parker, who founded Napster and also helped to expand Facebook in its infancy, was so enamored with McKellen’s performance as Gandalf in the Lord of the Rings trilogy that he approached the actor with a truly enticing offer.
Parker wanted McKellen to officiate his wedding, which thankfully was Tolkien-themed, while dressed as Gandalf. For doing so, Parker would have paid the Lancastrian the cool sum of $1.5 million.
— Fast Company (@FastCompany) August 24, 2016
However, despite the tempting offer to be the one to make Sean Parker and Alexandra Lenas man and wife, 77-year-old McKellen found it within himself to turn down the gargantuan amount, insisting that he only dressed up when he was on stage or in front of the camera.
Sir Ian McKellen recalled this story to the Daily Mail, explaining, “I was offered one-and-a-half million dollars to marry a very famous couple in California, which I would perhaps have considered doing but I had to go dressed as Gandalf. So I said, ‘I am sorry, Gandalf doesn’t do weddings.'”
McKellen admitted that he was never actually aware that the offer had come from Sean Parker, as all he knew was that he “was a very rich man.”
But there was never any chance of him actually doing it, because he added, while he stood outside Newcastle’s Theatre Royal just after he’d finished performing in Harold Pinter’s No Man’s Land opposite his old friend Patrick Stewart, “I don’t go dressing up – except in plays and things at places like this.”
A source then told the Daily Mail that Sean Parker didn’t make the offer to Ian McKellen himself, instead revealing, “The offer to Sir Ian to officiate was made through a mutual friend of Sir Ian’s and Sean Parker.”
It’s not that Sir Ian McKellen isn’t adverse to officiate weddings, though. The legendary actor actually saw over the vows for the wedding of his best friend Sir Patrick Stewart and his fiancee, Sunny Ozell, back in 2013.
Recalling McKellen’s prowess officiating the wedding, Stewart admitted that his remarks were truly touching, while McKellen struggled to get through them because he was so emotional.
Speaking to the Daily Mail, Stewart said, “His remarks were not only full of wisdom and humor and poetry but knowledge of the two of us.”
Ozell added, “He got a little choked up at one point,” before Stewart admitted, “There wasn’t a person there who didn’t. I certainly did.”
Unfortunately for Parker, Stewart beat to McKellen to the punch, and the billionaire had to turn to a Unitarian Universalist minister to conduct the ceremony after Sir Ian had rejected his advances.
— The Verge (@verge) August 23, 2016
But the lack of Ian McKellen was more than made up for with the abundance of other extravagancies that Parker packed in his wedding. Parker is believed to have spent around $7.5 million on the wedding, which included a wedding cake that was over nine feet tall, as well as a pen of white bunnies just in case anyone in attendance needed a cuddle.
Plus, guests, which included Sting and Emma Watson, were also asked to wear custom-made costumes for the wedding that had been designed by Ngila Dickson, the costume designer for Lord of the Rings.
[Image via New Line Cinema]