‘Aladdin’s Genie meets Harry Potter’: WB Didn’t Let Robin Williams Play Hagrid as He Wasn’t British
We all love Robin Williams. His demise in 2014 brought an ache to our hearts like never before. His work in movies like Aladdin and Jumanji will forever be etched into our minds. So it definitely came as a shock when fans realized that they could’ve possibly seen Robin Williams as one of the most iconic characters in entertainment history.
Which iconic character you may ask? Well, just like any other person obsessed with the Harry Potter franchise, Robin Williams, too, wanted to be a part of the magic world of Hogwarts. As a huge fan of the J.K. Rowling-authored books, the late actor would’ve done anything to play the lovable giant, Hagrid. Even though we know that’s far from what happened, it sure is intriguing to think what an American Hagrid would’ve looked like!
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Robin William Turned Down for Hagrid
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Robbie Coltrane did a splendid job of making his place in our hearts as the magical creatures-loving Hagrid. Though his appearance might’ve been intimidating, Coltrane’s portrayal perfectly depicted the loving giant Hagrid was. However, as it turns out, Robin Williams was all for the idea of playing Hagrid. So, what made the production team look over him? Well, for starters, he wasn’t British. According to Huffington Post, after he was rejected because of his nationality, Williams reached out to director Chris Columbus to play Hagrid.
“There were a couple of parts I would have wanted to play, but there was a ban on American actors. Maybe one day, say if [Harry] goes to Yale and becomes president.”
Huffington Post got hold of casting director Janet Hirshenson who confirmed the previously mentioned statement. She stated that Williams called Columbus because he “really wanted to be in the movie.” However, the team was adamant about the films being a “British-only edict.”
While it would have been a treat to see Williams’ skills in the world of magic, it goes without saying that Coltrane was perfect for the role. Although the actor, unfortunately, passed away in 2022, his portrayal of Hagrid was just as magical as the books and will always be considered iconic.
Also Read: 7 Robin Williams Performances To Make You Miss The Hollywood Legend Even More
Robin Williams Tried for Another Role
Yep, Hagrid wasn’t the only role Williams lobbied for. As revealed by Columbus himself, the Jumanji actor also wanted to play Remus Lupin. The Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher/werewolf was eventually played beautifully by David Thewlis. However, Columbus stated in an interview with Total Film that he had a conversation with Williams about the same.
“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.”
Later on, Columbus talked about this again with Insider where he stated that while Thewlis was a great Lupin, Williams would’ve been brilliant. If only there wasn’t a geographical barrier, we would’ve seen Williams’ take on two of the most iconic characters in film history. Would that have been a good thing or not, though?
All Harry Potter films are available to stream on HBO Max.