While previously published reports have said that openly gay actor Sir Ian McKellen would be taking over the role of headmaster Albus Dumbledore in the Harry Potter series following the death of Richard Harris, E! Online now says that the role will be taken over by Michael Gambon, known for such films as Gosford Park; The Cook, the Thief, His Wife, and Her Lover; and the HBO original Path to War. According to E!, McKellen apparently never seriously considered the role of Dumbledore, particularly since he is currently involved with two other big-budget fantasy franchises, the Lord of the Rings trilogy and the X-Men series. Because Warner Bros. was closed for the holidays, no one from the studio was available to comment on casting. An official announcement is expected after the New Year.