Harry Potter Director Reveals Robin Williams Wanted To Play Professor Lupin
Harry Potter director Chris Columbus reveals Robin Williams approached him about playing Remus Lupin, the role that went to David Thewlis.
Harry Potter director Chris Columbus reveals that Robin Williams wanted to play the role of Professor Lupin. Starting with J.K. Rowling’s books as their source material, the first two Harry Potter films, subtitled The Sorcerer’s Stone and The Chamber of Secrets, were directed by Columbus and released in 2001 and 2002. The beloved blockbuster franchise that followed the Golden Trio of Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe), Hermione Granger (Emma Watson), and Ron Weasley (Rupert Grint) went on to earn billions at the box office, putting it as the third-highest-grossing series behind the MCU and Star Wars.
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter then moved forward with a prequel series, Fantastic Beasts, releasing installments in 2016 and 2018, though many fans and critics agree they fail to recapture the magic of the original films. The franchise has also been marred with controversy recently due to Rowling’s transphobic statements and Johnny Depp’s public legal battle with his ex-wife Amber Heard. Nevertheless, Fantastic Beasts is moving forward with its next installment, The Secrets of Dumbledore, with Mads Mikkelsen recast as Grindelwald.
As the 20th anniversary of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone is coming up next month, fans have been looking back and longing for the glory days of the franchise, including Chris Columbus, who recently sat down for an interview with Total Film (via GamesRadar). During the conversation, the Harry Potter director even confirmed a surprising casting rumor. The legendary late comedian Robin Williams expressed interest in playing the role of Professor Lupin, but Columbus had to turn him down because they were only casting British actors. Read what Columbus had to say below:
I had a conversation with Robin Williams, who wanted to play Lupin. It was very difficult for me to say “It’s all British. There’s nothing I can do.”
It was already known that Robin Williams, a huge fan of the books, approached Chris Columbus about playing Hagrid in 2000, the role that eventually went to Robbie Coltrane. At the time, Williams and Columbus were coming off collaborations on Mrs. Doubtfire, Nine Months, and Bicentennial Man. Unfortunately, Columbus had to turn him down due to the mandate that they could only cast UK actors, which was instituted from the top by Rowling.
Williams was apparently not discouraged by the rejection as it is now known that he approached Columbus again about a role in 2004’s Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, which he served as a producer on. Though the part of Remus Lupin eventually went to David Thewlis who did an admirable job, it’s hard not to imagine what kind of performance Williams would have given, likely portraying the professor with the same enthusiasm he did John Keating in Dead Poets Society.