We've known for years that Sean Connery was offered the role of Gandalf in Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings, but turned the role down because he didn't understand the story. What we didn't know until now was that Connery could have earned big, big money for the role, money that puts the earnings of many stars half his age to shame.
Peter Jackson and company were so keen to have Connery on board for the trilogy that they offered him a $10 million-per-film payday, which is a big chunk of cash by itself, but that's not the biggest number in this equation.
In exchange for playing Gandalf, Connery was also offered a 15 percent stake in the trilogy's earnings, which have climbed to nearly $3 billion as of this month. That means Connery could have earned a total of somewhere in the neighborhood of $450 million if he'd taken the role.
Yup, almost half a billion dollars. For three movies. We don't know exactly what Ian McKellen eventually pulled in for his work as Gandalf, but we're betting it was pretty far off that number.
And sure, Connery's basically retired from acting these days, and he's still sitting on a net worth of somewhere in the neighborhood of $300 million, but somewhere down inside he has to be kicking himself a little for not trying a little harder to understand Tolkien.
(Via Celebrity NetWorth)