Robin Williams was rejected for two roles in the Harry Potter movies

10 November 2021, 21:02

Daniel Radcliffe On Harry Potter Reunion For Philosopher's Stone 20th Anniversary

Robin Williams reportedly wanted to play both Lupin and Hagrid but producers rejected him for both roles because of a major rule.

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Can you believe it's been 20 years since the very first Harry Potter movie was released in cinemas?

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone was released way back in November 2001, launching Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint, Tom Felton and a whole host of other cast members into the Hollywood stratosphere.

But did you know that the cast could have looked completely different? From Harry himself to Snape, Bellatrix and Hagrid, other actors were either initially cast, considered or wanted to play those iconic roles.

For years now, the late, great Robin Williams was one of those actors whose name was always attached to the Potter franchise but he was never actually allowed to play a role.

Robin reportedly had hopes to play two iconic Potter characters but due to a rule put in place by production, he was rejected twice.

READ MORE: 13 actors who almost played your favourite Harry Potter characters

The story of why Robin Williams was rejected from playing Hagrid and Lupin in Harry Potter
The story of why Robin Williams was rejected from playing Hagrid and Lupin in Harry Potter. Picture: Ethan Miller/Getty Images, Warner Bros. Pictures

Robin Williams as Hagrid

Speaking to Huffington Post back in 2016, casting director Janet Hirshenson revealed that Robin had reached out to director Chris Columbus "because he really wanted to be in the movie."

"But it was a British-only edict," she said. "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.”

One of the reported casting rules on the Harry Potter films, set in place by the producers, was that the cast for the film franchise should only feature British and Irish actors.

Of course, Robbie Coltrane ended up playing the role of the beloved half-giant and Hogwarts groundskeeper but Robin Williams' take on the iconic character would have been incredible to see.


Robin Williams as Remus Lupin

While Hirshenson spoke about Williams being interested in playing Hagrid, Columbus recently revealed that he also wanted to take on the role of Remus Lupin.

Lupin is introduced in the third book, and the third film, as the new Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher. But unfortunately, the 'British Only' rule was still in place when Robin put his hat into the ring for a second time. The role eventually went to David Thewlis.

In a new interview with Total Film in October 2021, Columbus said: "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.'"

Columbus revisited those comments in another interview with Insider a month later, saying: "Robin would have been brilliant. It would have been a different interpretation — I thought David Thewlis was great — but Robin would have been brilliant."


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