Former Napster and Facebook entrepreneur Sean Parker asked the 'Lord of the Rings' star to act as celebrant at his lavish fantasy wedding
Beloved British character actor Ian McKellen has revealed that he turned down an offer of $1.5m (€1.3m) to officiate the wedding of a billionaire tech investor. McKellen said he politely refused former Napster and Facebook executive Sean Parker’s lucrative proposal because Parker asked McKellen to fulfil the role as the character Gandalf from The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit franchises.
McKellen, who was Oscar-nominated for the role he played in six different Peter Jackson films, didn’t know that it was Parker who made the offer, part of the lavish fantasy-themed wedding ceremony he was planning with his then fiancée Alexandra Lenas. Parker made the request via a mutual acquaintance, McKellen told the Mail on Sunday newspaper.
“I don’t go dressing up, except in plays and things,” McKellen said. “So I said, ‘I am sorry, Gandalf doesn’t do weddings.’”
Tech entrepreneur Parker and singer Lenas’s 2013 wedding made headlines for the massive budget the billionaire couple spent on the event. The Lord of the Rings theme took place in a fake ruined castle in Big Sur, California. Guests included Emma Watson, Lars Ulrich, Sting, Olivia Munn, and Jack Dorsey, all of whom were dressed in clothes prepared by the Oscar-winning costume designer Ngila Dickson – who styled all of the characters in the Lord of the Rings trilogy.
Parker reportedly oversaw all of the details of the fantasy epic wedding himself, admitting to having forked out $4.5m to rent out the redwood forest site. At the time, he told Vanity Fair that he wanted to provide each of the 364 guests with a leather-bound keepsake of the ceremony to “evoke the invitation to the 1954 coronation of Queen Elizabeth II.”
Despite turning down Parker and Lenas, McKellen is available to officiate at weddings; The Guardian newspaper reports that in 2013 he qualified as a celebrant in order to officiate at the wedding of his long-time friend and fellow actor Patrick Stewart and musician Sunny Ozell.