When hiring performers for a great phenomenon like Harry Potter, many criteria come into play. These decisions are frequently so well-made that the audience develops a strong bond with the character. It’s difficult to separate the actor’s image from their on-screen part because of this strong bond. Can you fathom a Harry Potter who isn’t played by Daniel Radcliffe, or a Hermione who isn’t played by Emma Watson? Even though many of us believe that these performers were “born” to portray these roles, it is probable that the producers did not agree at first and chose someone else on multiple occasions. It’s difficult to believe, but it’s true.
We’re all Potterheads at Anomalousclub. That’s why we’d like to share all of the interesting things we discovered about the “wizarding world” with you. We’d also like to invite you to a parallel reality where different actors who were supposed to play some of the world’s most famous wizards actually got the parts. Don’t miss out on the bonus at the bottom of the page.
1. Ian McKellen — Albus Dumbledore
After actor Richard Harris, the then-Dumbledore interpreter, sadly passed away, Sir Ian McKellen, famed for his spectacular performances in movies like The Lord of the Rings and The Da Vinci Code, as well as in numerous theatre plays, was invited to bring the famous wizard Albus Dumbledore to the big screen. This occurred in 2002, but McKellen was faced with a difficult decision, and he chose to decline the offer.
It all began when Richard Harris stated, back in the day, that while McKellan was a wonderful actor in terms of skill, he lacked emotion when acting. McKellan had to determine whether or not he wanted to carry on the legacy of a man who despised him as a performer. We’ve all heard the finish of the story. McKellen said he “couldn’t take on the part of an actor who didn’t approve of me,” and that he “couldn’t take on the role of an actor who didn’t approve of me.” While we all agree he would have been fantastic in the role of Dumbledore, Michael Gambon was ultimately cast.
2. Saoirse Ronan — Luna Lovegood
Saoirse Ronan rose to prominence after roles in films such as The Lovely Bones and Little Women. Few people are aware, however, that she auditioned for the role of Luna Lovegood in the Harry Potter series. Unfortunately, she did not get the part, which went to Evanna Lynch since she was hand-picked by J.K. Rowling, the story’s writer. Lynch, she believes, was the ideal choice to play this role.
Saoirse, on the other hand, acknowledged being unhappy when she realized she had not been picked. “I was too young — but at the time I thought, ‘I’d love to be in Harry Potter,'” Ronan remarked in an interview. I used to believe they had the best job in the world when I was younger.” We wonder what a Luna played by Saoirse Ronan would look like now, with more than three Oscar nominations under her belt, and what feels she would have given to the entire trilogy.
3. Liam Aiken — Harry Potter
Originally, Liam Aiken, hero of the epic A Series of Unfortunate Events, was set to play Harry Potter in the big picture adaptation. J.K. Rowling, on the other hand, got her say once again, and that changed everything. The writer insisted that the whole cast of the film be made up of British actors. This immediately ruled out Aiken, allowing British actor Daniel Radcliff, who was only 11 years old at the time, to receive the role that would define his career.
J.K. Rowling reportedly called producer Chris Columbus, who was in charge of converting her books to the big screen, solely to make sure Aiken didn’t win the part, according to the British daily The Guardian. Rowling’s choice is thought to have been motivated by a desire to guarantee that the films stayed true to the novels, which were intended to be British in every sense of the word. It’s questionable whether Aiken would have done a greater job than Radcliff, who did a fantastic one in any case.
4. Robin Williams — Rubeus Hagrid
J. K. Rowling was emphatic once again that the film based on the world’s most renowned wizard not be cast with American actors… As a British woman, she put a lot of pressure on the production staff to provide exactly what she desired. In the end, she got her way: the ensemble was exclusively made up of British actors, which gave the film a distinct vibe. So, in addition to Liam Aiken, the renowned Rubeus Hagrid, played by Robin Williams, was axed from the franchise. Robbie Coltrane portrayed this renowned role with amazing dexterity in the end. We are confident that, like Coltrane, Williams would have performed admirably!
5. Helen McCrory — Bellatrix Lestrange
Helen McCrory was supposed to play Bellatrix Lestrange, the great and terrifying witch. J.K. Rowling had no veto power over McCrory because he is an Englishman. However, the star of Netflix’s drama series Peaky Blinders became pregnant during the filming of the Harry Potter films. There’s certainly a no better excuse to stop playing such a fantastic role. Helena Bonham Carter eventually replaced McCrory, and she gave one of the best performances of the series. McCrory had yet to say her final comments on the subject. Fortunately for us, she returned to the cast in the last three films, this time as Narcissa Malfoy.
6. Henry Cavill — Cedric Diggory
Things weren’t looking so well for Cavill before he became the legendary Superman who captivated the hearts of millions of fans around the world. Cavill, in fact, lost not one, but two roles to Robert Pattinson. The first is maybe less well-known among the general audience. He auditioned for the role of Cedric Diggory in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire and was cast. The story of the second part he lost to Pattinson is well-known. Cavill came close to portraying Edward Cullen, the main character in the Twilight saga.
In fact, in the latter, he even turned out to be the first choice of writer Stephenie Meyer, creator of the “Cullen universe.” However, as you probably know, both roles, in the end, went to Pattinson. Cavill simply thought of the rejections as “something good” that happened in his life. After all, things happen in due time and there’s no reason to rush anything.
7. Hatty Jones — Hermione Granger
Producers struggled to choose between two young actresses who were equally qualified to play Hogwarts’ wiser sorceress, Hermione Granger: Hatty Jones, star of the feature film Madeline, and Emma Watson, who was previously unknown. Surprisingly, casting director Janet Hirshenson’s impressions of Emma were used to make the decision. Hirshernson believed the young woman would add a “dull” element to the plot that was desperately required. In the end, it appears that she made the right decision since Watson’s skills and sensitive nature allowed her to steal the audience’s hearts and souls.
During an interview, Hershenson said, “A star is born.” Hirshenson’s choice was so spot-on that it’s difficult to envision anyone else playing Hermione today.
8. Jamie Campbell Bower — Tom Riddle (Lord Voldemort when he was a young man)
Most likely, actor Jamie Campbell Bower is a huge fan of the magical sagas. Not only was he a member of the Twilight ensemble, but he also appeared in The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones. Of course, he had no idea at the time that he would go on to star in subsequent films based on J.K. Rowling’s Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, a spin-off series from the Harry Potter universe. In both Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows — Part 1 and Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, he played Grindelwald.
And we’re stating that to clarify something that many people don’t know: Jamie Campbell Bower had auditioned for the character of the young Tom Riddle (Lord Voldemort) in the sixth Harry Potter film before earning that role. Not only that but he was also featured in the magazine Teen Vogue. He was ultimately passed up for the part, but the reasons for his rejection are unknown. As you may be aware, Frank Dillane was cast in the part.
9. Eddie Redmayne — Another version of Tom Riddle (Lord Voldemort when he was a teenager)
Jamie Campbell Bower wasn’t the only actor who wanted to play Lord Voldemort, also known as Tom Riddle, the young version of Harry Potter’s enemy. Eddie Redmayne, like Campbell Bower, didn’t get the part of the larger-than-life villain, but his patience paid off when he was cast in the Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them trilogy, this time as Newt Scamander, the main character.
Eddie claimed in an interview that despite not receiving any feedback after the audition, he had a glimmer of optimism glowing deep inside his soul that he would at least be cast as a member of the Weasley family throughout the years. Of course, this did not happen, as we all know. But, thankfully, this excellent actor was able to play his part in a J. K. Rowling universe, and he did a fantastic job. Christian Coulson was cast as Tom Riddle in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets in the end.
10. Tilda Swinton — Sybill Trelawney
Professor Sybill Trelawney was played by Oscar winner Emma Thompson. The character was first given to fellow Golden Statuette winner Tilda Swinton, who turned it down before the producers and Thompson reached an agreement. While her decision may appear bizarre in retrospect, Swinton noted in an interview that the series idealized boarding school life, and she didn’t want to be a part of it:
“I believe that this is a really terrible environment in which children must grow up and that it is not conducive to their education.” We’re not sure if Swinton was correct in declining the role, but one thing we can all agree on is that Emma Thompson would have been as excellent for the part as Swinton would have been if she had accepted it.
11. Jason Isaacs — Gilderoy Lockhart
Jason Isaacs, who is best known for his portrayal of Lucius Malfoy, originally wanted to play Gilderoy Lockhart, a half-blood wizard. However, the producers believed that Isaacs would be a better fit for Draco Malfoy’s father, as well as one of Potter’s most formidable foes throughout the series. The actor was already set to play Captain Hook in Peter Pan at the time, so he didn’t want to be associated with the idea of two infantile villains. This was the basis for his decision to decline the part in the first place.
Fortunately for us and other Potterheads, Isaacs’ family intervened and persuaded him to portray the wizard with the long, straight blond hair. “Everyone who knew me called me over the weekend: nieces, nephews, godchildren, and then their parents,” he explained. “They attempted to persuade me to take the position not because they cared about me, but because they wanted to see the set!” he joked.
12. Kate Winslet — Helena Ravenclaw
When one of the most popular sagas of the time came to a close, the producers felt compelled to come up with a memorable way to say farewell. They wanted every element to be right, which included finding an actress who could match Helena Ravenclaw’s grandeur, a figure whose role in the story was relatively brief but crucial. Kate Winslet was at the very top of the list. Her agent, unfortunately, rejected the script before even asking if she was interested in participating in the project. As a result, Kelly Macdonald, who is equally wonderful, was cast as the Grey Lady.
13. Thomas Brodie-Sangster — Ron Weasl
On the big screen, Thomas Brodie-Sangster revealed that he would have loved to play Ron Weasley. Not only that, but he actually tried it and lost out to Rupert Grint, the little redhead who is now well-known to all Star Wars fans. Despite failing the test, the Nanny McPhee actor said that his first “tough” experience of rejection in the entertainment industry “allowed him to maintain a more ‘optimistic’ attitude during audition processes for future roles.” “Every cloud has a silver lining,” as the saying goes.
14. Tom Felton — Ron Weasley and Harry Potter
It may be difficult to believe, but it is true. Tom Felton tried out for roles as Ron Weasley and even Harry Potter before landing the role of Draco Malfoy. Despite not being cast in either role, the actor claims there was no jealousy or rivalry between him and Radcliffe or Grint behind the scenes. On the contrary, he was overjoyed at the prospect of appearing in a film at all. “I’m even more grateful that I got the role of Draco because it gave me a great sense of being part of a team,” he said. And, as Felton mentioned, it appears that the choices were spot on, as each of the actors becomes a living legend in their own right.
Producers asked J. K. Rowling, the creator of the Harry Potter universe, to play Lily, the mother of The Boy Who Lived, as a bonus.
It’s pointless to deny that J. K. Rowling and Geraldine Somerville share a lot of similarities. Perhaps this is why the saga’s producers wanted the author to play Lily Potter in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone because she fit “the profile” so well. “The filmmakers did ask me to play Lily Potter in the first film, but I really am not cut out to be an actress, even if I just have to stand there and wave,” Rowling politely declined. I’d have messed it up in some way.” It’s difficult to believe that we might have had the opportunity to see J. K. Rowling on the big screen, but it’s true.
And we believe she would have done a fantastic job!
The majority of people believe that the cast for the Harry Potter films was chosen wisely. Do you agree, or do you think someone else could have done a better job? Is there anyone you’d have liked to see on the big screen casting a spell?