Robin Williams is one of the funniest and most talented actors of all time, and while he is no longer with us, his legacy continues to live on thanks to the brilliant work that he released during his lifetime. With one classic film after the next, Williams’ body of work will be hard for anyone to rival.
At one point, the actor was interested in appearing in the Harry Potter franchise. The folks making the first film were willing to take his call, but a rule that production put in place kept him from ever getting the job.
Let’s see which character Robin Williams wanted to play in the Harry Potter franchise.
Robin Williams Was A Major Film Star
Major Hollywood actors tend to be considered for major roles in projects that have a wealth of potential. This is due to studios looking to cast those with a proven track record as opposed to unknown commodities in an attempt to sell more tickets at the box office. Thanks to being a major star, it makes sense that many movies considered Robin Williams for a big role at some point.
The actor was originally a television star who was able to make a fantastic transition into film acting as his career continued. During the late 80s and 90s, in particular, Williams went from hilarious actor to genuine A-list talent thanks to the success of films that have been able to stand the test of time. Movies like Dead Poets Soviet, Hook, Aladdin, Mrs. Doubtfire, and Good Morning, Vietnam all made Williams one of the biggest stars of his era.
Clearly, the actor did an exceptional job in choosing the right roles that he was offered, but this does not mean that he scored every role that he was considered for. For instance, Williams was up for roles in huge movies like Batman, JFK, Big, and more, but these never came to fruition. In fact, tossed his name into the hat for a role in the Harry Potter franchise before it conquered the box office.
J.K. Rowling Only Wanted British Actors
It’s easy to look back at what the Harry Potter franchise accomplished on the big screen and just assume that things fell into place easily, but the casting process was one that had to be perfect in order for things to work out. To further complicate matters, there was a rule put in place that the lead actors in the film had to be British, with no exceptions allowed.
As fans of the franchise know, the books and movies all take place across the pond, and J.K. Rowling wanted to make sure that the actors were as authentic to their characters as possible. While this strategy clearly paid off down the line when the franchise became a monumental success, it did limit the amount of people who were being considered for the roles. Not only that, but it also meant that many actors who wanted to be in the franchise would not even be considered.
Early on in the casting process, Robin Williams was interested in a large role in the franchise. In fact, there were a few different roles that Williams himself wanted to play, but thanks to the rule being in place, Williams never got a fair shake.
He Wanted To Play Hagrid
It has been reported that Robin Williams would have played Hagrid, if he had it his way. This, however, would not come to pass.
Janet Hirshenson, who served as casting director, said, “Robin had called because he really wanted to be in the movie, but it was a British-only edict, and once he said no to Robin, he wasn’t going to say yes to anybody else, that’s for sure. It couldn’t be.”
According to Williams himself, “There were a couple of parts I would have wanted to play, but there was a ban on [using] American actors.”
Ultimately, Robbie Coltrane was cast as the Keeper of Keys and Grounds in the franchise, and to be fair to Coltrane, he was absolute perfection in the role. Not only could he bring out the humor in Hagrid, but he could portray the softer and kinder side of the character, as well. It was a perfect example of the franchise making and amazing casting decision.
Robin Williams very well could have been great as Hagrid in the Harry Potter franchise, but a casting rule ultimately prevented this from ever happening.