13 Actors That Were Incredibly Close to Appearing in “Harry Potter”
When we watch a movie, especially a saga that really captures our attention, it’s hard to imagine those characters donning different faces. It’s almost as if these particular actors who bring these characters to life remain forever linked to them in our memory. Just trying to imagine our favorite heroes or villains being played by someone else evokes a strange feeling. Still, we have to face the fact that directors had more than one actor to choose from when it came to casting parts. In a parallel universe, they could have easily chosen someone else to play Harry Potter or Hermione. But in this one, they didn’t.
So, here at Bright Side, we thought it’d be fun to see what the cast of the Harry Potter franchise would have looked like if directors went for other choices while casting, and this is what we found. At the end of the article, we also have a bonus feature about Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.
1. Tim Roth turned down the offer to play Severus Snape because he didn’t feel ready for the role.
Severus Snape is a key character in the Harry Potter saga, and we pretty much all know that he stole everybody’s hearts. Because we have seen him from beginning to end in all the movies, it can be difficult to imagine anyone but Alan Rickman playing Severus Snape. However, Tim Roth was originally intended to play this character. The actor turned down the offer because he said he wasn’t ready to get involved in the project.
2. Hatty Jones could have been Hermione Granger, but she was a little too old to play the character.
Before Emma Watson, the actress chosen to play the book-loving witch and Harry Potter’s best friend was Hatty Jones. Back in 1998, she played Madeline in the movie of the same name. At first, the producers thought she was a good choice. However, they later thought that she was a bit too old to play Hermione so they chose Emma Watson who was only 9 years old back then.
3. Naomi Watts almost became Draco Malfoy’s mother.
Initially, the role of Draco Malfoy’s mother was rumored to go to English actress, Naomi Watts. Although she’s not even close to being a leading role, she does have some appearances that are key to the story. However, when the actress heard she was being considered, she admitted that she heard about it through the media, not from an agent, suggesting she was never seriously considered.
4. Ray Winstone could have played Alastor Moody, but he turned down the role because the filming would take too long.
Ray Winstone was the production’s first choice to play Alastor Moody, a character also known as Mad-Eye. However, as the actor himself confessed, one of the main reasons he rejected the role was because he considered it not profitable enough given the large amount of time he would take to film. As the actor very clearly put it, his main reason to become an actor was to “make a living” out of it.
5. Kate Winslet’s agent rejected the offer for her to play Helena Ravenclaw.
Kate Winslet, known worldwide thanks to her performance in Titanic, is also a winner of several prestigious awards. Initially, she had been thought of to play the modest role of the ghost of Helena Ravenclaw. Although she is not one of the main characters, she does have a very important role in the destruction of Lord Voldemort. Still, the actress didn’t even make it to the casting office since her manager turned the job down right away.
6. Hugh Grant had another film project coming up, so he couldn’t play Gilderoy Lockhart.
Although Professor Gilderoy Lockhart turns out to be a phony, we can’t deny that he is an important character. Plus, he gives a touch of fun and fanfare to the second installment of the saga. The first actor that director Chris Columbus thought of to play this role was Hugh Grant. However, he turned down the job because of other work commitments.
7. Rosamund Pike rejected the role of Rita Skeeter when she learned it would be a minor role.
Initially, actress Rosamund Pike accepted the role of Rita Skeeter, a journalist who loves gossip and intrigue and who appears for the first time in the fourth installment of the saga. However, when she learned that she would also participate in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, she turned down the job, as she was not interested in acting in both films in such a small role. That’s how Miranda Richardson got the role.
8. Rosie O’Donnell was willing to play Molly Weasley but didn’t make the cut since she wasn’t English.
Actress Rosie O’Donnell was interested in playing the role of Ron Weasley’s good-natured mother. However, just as with other actors who were willing to bring characters from the books to life in the movies, she didn’t make the cut since she wasn’t English.
9. The role of Sybill Trelawney was supposed to be played by Tilda Swinton, but she simply did not like Harry Potter, so she declined the offer.
In Tilda Swinton’s case, things were a bit different. She was offered a chance to play the role of Professor Sybill Trelawney in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. Trelawney, in addition to being a teacher at Hogwarts, is a key figure in the unfolding of the story. Still, Swinton rejected the role. She later admitted she disliked Harry Potter for romanticizing boarding schools.
10. It was widely suspected that Richard E. Grant would play the dubious Lucius Malfoy, but he actually wasn’t even aware of the rumor.
When the filming of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets was about to begin, Richard E. Grant was considered to play the part of Draco Malfoy’s evil father, but it never ended up happening.
11. David Thewlis originally auditioned to play Quirinus Quirrell.
Actor David Thewlis was interested in playing a part in the Harry Potter saga since the very beginning. He auditioned for the role of Professor Quirrell but was not chosen. Although Ian Hart was picked to bring Quirrell to the big screen, Thewlis later did get the role of Remus Lupin who was also a teacher at Hogwarts.
12. Robin Williams was very enthusiastic about playing Hagrid.
When it comes to Harry’s caring ranger and faithful friend, Rubeus Hagrid, there are many rumors about how producers weighed in to have Robin Williams play the part. But in the end, they only wanted English actors, and Robbie Coltrane got the job.
13. If it weren’t for his nationality, Liam Aiken would’ve played Harry Potter.
It’s very difficult to think of the main character of the saga being played by someone other than Daniel Radcliffe. Well, brace yourself because originally, Liam Aiken was thought of to bring the wizard boy to life. As in the other casting cases, Aiken was rejected because, according to the author of the books, only British actors could take part in the movie adaptations.
Bonus: Nicholas Hoult was going to play Newt Scamander in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, but the director changed his mind.
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is not part of the original saga, but it is part of the Harry Potter universe. Some of the characters of the movie even appear in both the Harry Potter movies and the prequel. The protagonist of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is wizard and magizoologist Newt Scamander. At first, the idea was for Nicholas Hoult to play the part. But in the end, director David Yates felt that Eddie Redmayne was the most suitable for the role.
Can you imagine any of these actors playing the characters in the Harry Potter movies? Do you think they would’ve given a good performance or do you prefer the actual cast?