Williams had giant hopes for a role in Harry Potter.
[dropcap size=small]R[/dropcap]obin Williams was undoubtedly one of the most talented and beloved actors to have ever graced our screens. Films such as Jumanji, Aladdin, Mrs Doubtfire and Hook cemented his place in the hearts of many young viewers, and if things had turned out differently, Harry Potter could have been included in that list too.
Harry Potter casting director Janet Hirshenson was recently interviewed by Huffingtonpost (via news.com.au) about her time with the franchise, during which she revealed that Williams had wanted to play the role of the lovable half-giant, Rubeus Hagrid.
Alas, it was not meant to be. Hirshenson explained Williams’ hopes of being in the first movie were dashed thanks to Philosopher’s Stone Director Chris Columbus, who turned down Williams on account of his nationality:
“Robin [Williams] had called [director Chris Columbus] 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”
Columbus directed Williams in Mrs. Doubtfire and Bicentennial Man, but their previous work relationship was evidently not enough to bypass the “British-only edict”, and the role eventually went to the ever-brilliant Robbie Coltrane. As great an actor as Williams was, Coltrane was J.K. Rowling’s first choice for the role, so even without the nationality thing getting in the way, Coltrane would have likely won out anyway.
Coltrane absolutely nailed the role, but we can’t help but wonder what Williams’ Hagrid would have been like. Many have pulled up the image of Williams in Jumanji after he returns from the board-game after 26 years, and we can totally see a likeness.
I guess the role that could have been is best left up to our imagination.
What do you think of Williams as Hagrid? Share your thoughts in the comments below!