Iconic Harry Potter roles almost played by different stars
WHEN the first Harry Potter film premiered in 2001, it launched three unknown children into stardom.
He also cemented the careers of several well-known stars including Alan Rickman, Michael Gambon and Maggie Smith in the eyes of a younger generation.
But several of the key characters were almost played by different actors – who ended up missing the chance of a lifetime.
It’s been 20 years since the series debuted in theaters and now the original cast are gearing up for a reunion.
Here, we take a look at who almost played Harry, Hagrid and more – and why they didn’t succeed.
Liam Aiken – Harry Potter
The boy who lived almost had a very different face – and an American accent.
American actor Liam Aiken was first offered the role by director Chris Columbus who had worked with him on Stepmom.
But the offer was canceled almost immediately as author JK Rowling banned filmmakers from casting non-UK actors.
This meant that the lead role was finally offered to Daniel Radcliffe.
Hugh Grant – Professor Lockhart
Romcom King Hugh Grant almost played the wizarding world’s ultimate flirtation Gilderoy Lockhart.
Grant was offered the role and even accepted it, but it all fell apart due to scheduling issues with another movie.
It was reported at the time that he even started dyeing his hair blonde for the role before he had to step down.
The veteran actor eventually stepped away from the film and the role was handed over to Kenneth Branagh.
Tilda Swinton – Professor Sybill Trelawney
Before Emma Thompson took on the role, it was first offered to Lion With and The Wardrobe actress Tilda Swinton.
She immediately turned down the role due to scheduling conflicts and being fundamentally at odds with boarding schools.
In a 2016 interview with The Scots Magazine, she said, “I don’t like movies like Harry Potter that tend to romanticize places like this. [boarding schools]. “
“I think it’s a very cruel environment to grow up in and I don’t think kids benefit from that kind of education. Children need their parents and the love that parents can give them.”
Kate Winslet – Helena Ravenclaw
Winslet was the first choice to play as the Ravenclaw ghost by the director of the first film.
But the role was categorically rejected by the Titanic star’s agent.
The role eventually went to Kelly Macdonald and although it was a smaller role in the movies than in the books, Lady Gray was key to finding Voldermort’s last horcrux.
Robin Williams – Rubeus Hagrid
Williams initially called director Chris Columbus to express his interest in playing everyone’s favorite Keys and Grounds keeper.
This led to him being the director’s first choice for Rubeus Hagrid.
But JK Rowling once again insisted that all actors had to be British actors and therefore vetoed Williams.
The role was given to Robbie Coltrane who has become an iconic character in the franchise.
Peter O’Toole – Professor Albus Dumbledore
The legendary actor was considered for the role of Headmaster of Hogwarts after original actor Richard Harris fell ill and died.
But by the time the role emerged, O’Toole was in his late 70s, and the team behind the films were concerned about possible health issues and the show’s toll.
They decided to give the role to Michael Gambon, a little younger, who played the role until the end of the franchise.
Rosamund Pike – Rita Skeeter
Prior to appearing in Gone Girl in 2014, Pike had signed up to play the gossip reporter in Goblet of Fire.
But after learning that she should be in The Order of the Phoneix with very little screen time, she gave up.
The redesign resulted in a reduction in the role in the films and he was ultimately played by Miranda Richardson.
Tim Roth – Professor Severus Snape
While Alan Rickman’s portrayal of the Potions Master is the most iconic part of the film series, he wasn’t the first choice.
Tim Roth was lined up by the directors to play the role of the Slippery Professor, but dropped out.
Instead of the role in seven films, he decided to star in The Planet Of The Apes by Tim Burton.
Naomi Watts – Narcissa Malfoy
Before Helen McRory played Draco Malfoy’s mother, the director first proposed it to Naomi.
But she didn’t even get a chance to consider the role as her agent immediately turned down the offer.
Speaking to MTV, Naomi said, “I haven’t even heard of it except through the media. Not through my agents. [or anybody else]. I don’t know how it happened. “
Ian McKellen – Albus Dumbledore
The famous Gandelf actor was in the running to reprise the role of Headmaster of Hogwarts after Richard Harris fell ill.
But he was removed after Harris called him a “dreadful actor” before he passed away out of respect for the original Dumbledore.
Harris had described McKellen’s work as “technically brilliant, but devoid of passion”.
The role was given to Michael Gambon.
Jamie Campbell Bower – Tom Riddle
There are many incarnations of Tom Riddle in the series, and Campbell-Bower was being considered for the version in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.
But he failed and the role went to Frank Dillane.
Later, Campbell-Bower got a role in the original series of Gellert Grindelwald, the second most powerful wizard of all time.