This is from a Christopher Lee interview I found at THE LEAKY CAULDRON...
I was in Vienna, then Germany and then I went back to England and there was this flood on the Internet. It came on to my Web site, of course, eventually. People asking. Then it went into the radio. Then it went onto television. Talk and interview shows -- not with me. Then it went into the press. "He's going to play Richard Harris's part!" And then, of course, everybody asked me, "Is it true?" I said, "No. It isn't." "Well, what do you mean it isn't true?"
I said, "Look. A man has been dead for three or four days. I think it's in extremely bad taste to discuss this sort of thing and very inappropriate." When he was buried, which was only a few weeks ago, it's still inappropriate that somebody starts this. Because I'm then faced with answering this question. I think that people probably don't believe me. They think that I've done some sort of secret deal.
All I can say is that nobody ever asked me to play that part before Harris played it. And nobody has me right up to this very second. Nobody. So it's entirely a rumor. If they did ask me, I would probably say "Yes" and be very pleased. But they haven't. That's the important thing. It's not good when this sort of thing starts, you know. It's not good. It gets out of control. It's embarrassing for me and my agent is going crazy. The phone never stops. The Times printed something. The Times of London, for God's sake. Said: "Three years ago, of course, Christopher Lee was offered the part and turned it down." Totally untrue. I was never offered it. Ever. So that's the end of that story.