midnightgirl sends in these small clips from an interview the actor recently gave to The Independent. Seems he wanted in for either Potter or LOTR!

..I ask another question (are there any parts in the last few years that he has coveted?), and sure enough his answer (“Hmm… no, I don’t think so”) is quickly unravelled by his wife. “The Harry Potter film,” she says, “you saw that first, didn’t you, Max, and you rang your agent, because you wanted a part.” Another sigh from Von Sydow. “Yes, that is true.” It turns out that, well before the hype, he read an article in Time magazine about Harry, and, rather perspicaciously, rang up his British agent to ask if there would be a part for an older wizard. She had not heard of the book, said she would make inquiries, but didn’t ring back. He rang her again a few months later, and she told him all the parts were going to British actors.

“And the same thing happened with The Lord of the Rings,” he notes sadly, “I rang my agent, but they had to be British actors.” It does seem unfair that the Brits have such a monopoly on old-geezer parts (I have a mental image of Von Sydow ringing to inquire about an Ingmar Bergman biopic, set in the wild archipelagos of Sweden, and being told, “Oh, bad luck, Mr Von Sydow. It’s just gone to Michael Caine…”) But what really puzzles me is that both parts he lusted after were in films that are basically fairy tales.

He looks shocked. “But I have always loved legends, especially British ones. I love Tolkien. My father was a professor, and he studied them at the university. He especially loved Irish ones, and went over there and taught himself Gaelic and translated these stories, stories that no one else in the world knew about, and would read them to me at night.”