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Robin Williams really wanted to be part of the Harry Potter universe – but he was turned down not once, but twice.
The late comic was one of the most gifted entertainers Hollywood has ever seen, whether it’s his laugh-out-loud stand-ups, life-long beloved roles in the likes of Mrs. Doubtfire and Aladdin and incredible, Oscar-winning dramatic work with Good Will Hunting. This year’s anniversary of his death saw a massive outpour of tributes.
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (or the Sorcerer’s Stone, for US readers) is approaching its 20th anniversary. In an alternate universe, we could have had Williams in the world of witchcraft and wizardry from the start.
As explained by Charles Peralo (@charlesperalo), Williams was a big fan of J.K. Rowling’s original books, as well as being a close friend and collaborator with Christopher Columbus, the director of Mrs. Doubtfire and the first two Harry Potter movies.
‘He originally pitched Columbus on the idea of him playing the character of Hagrid,’ Peralo explains. Of course, Hagrid was perfectly portrayed by Robbie Coltrane, who was reportedly Rowling’s first choice.
He later pitched playing Professor Remus Lupin (played by David Thewlis). However, he was turned down because of the ‘British rule’, enforced by Rowling after Steven Spielberg was originally slated to direct with The Sixth Sense star Haley Joel Osment as the titular boy wizard.
‘There were a couple of parts I would have wanted to play, but there was a ban on [using] American actors,’ Williams told the New York Post in 2001.
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