It was a worldwide sensation before J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World hit the big screen, thanks to the Harry Potter series of novels. It was exciting for fans to watch how Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone would bring life to Hogwarts and its characters. Movies were up to the task, bringing together a group of bright young novices, as well as some of our most recognized thespians.
A large portion of the main cast was able to stay on from the beginning to the end, and several of the young performers even grew up with their roles. The eight-film series also saw the replacement of a number of performers along the road.
In some situations, the parts simply outgrew their original performers, while in others, anything from a terrible death to legal difficulties to a controversial whitewashing decision led to cast replacements. As a result, there were some significant Harry Potter characters who were recast between films, along with their origin tales.
· Richard Harris as Dumbledore
For Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, the part of Hogwarts headmaster was recast after Richard Harris’ death in 2002. Harris had expected that he would not be able to complete the job he had taken on to please his granddaughter. In a statement to the press, he said, “I’ll keep doing it so long as I’m enjoying it, so long as my health holds up, and so long as they want me.”
Michael Gambon would play the role in all six of the films that followed, although he wasn’t the first great British performer to don the voluminous wigs and opulent cloaks for the role. He stated that he had an opportunity at becoming Albus Dumbledore as well, but he turned it down.
According to what he subsequently said to the BBC’s HARDtalk programme “My interest in appearing in the Harry Potter films wasn’t specified by whoever I would be working with when they contacted me. My understanding of what they were thinking allowed me to decline the role from an actor who I knew did not approve of me.” While McKellen was alive, Harris was allegedly dissatisfied with him, calling him “passionless.” Still, McKellen confessed to seeing himself in Gambon’s Dumbledore posters.
· Richard Bremmer as Voldemort
There wasn’t much for the actor portraying Lord Voldemort to do when he first appeared on screen in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone Even when he finally emerged at the end of the movie, his face was still overlaid on the back of someone’s head. In spite of his efforts, Richard Bremmer was not asked back for the character’s next big cinematic appearance in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, when the Dark Lord’s power had reached its pinnacle (and so did the phenomenon of the franchise).
A long battle was waged in my favor, and I’m thrilled to be the first to get the award. Former classmate Ralph Fiennes plays the part in the fourth film, he said (via Digital Spy). They chose a bigger name for a reason, and I’m pleased to pass it on.” In the wake of Schindler’s List and The English Patient, Fiennes was a household celebrity, so it’s understandable that the filmmakers didn’t bother to track him out.
· Jamie Waylett as Vincent Crabbe
In the role of Vincent Crabbe, Draco Malfoy’s pastry-loving henchman, Jamie Waylett performed a decent job. To be fair to the young actor, he had no experience in the film industry when he was cast, but as his screen time increased over the course of his six-picture run, his portrayal of Slytherin sidekick became increasingly believable. While Gregory Goyle (Josh Herdman) and Blaise Zabini, who had made his debut in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, were seen standing next to each other in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1, they were not.
It all originated from Waylett’s off-camera run-ins with the law, which resulted in Crabbe’s removal from the film. While the part wasn’t replaced, the character was moved out of sight to make way for Zabini. A marijuana growing incident at his mother’s house resulted in his imprisonment in 2009.
In spite of the fact that he was simply sentenced to community service by the court, his difficulties would continue. For his involvement in a riot, the actor was detained again in 2012; he now risked prison. His co-stars came to his rescue, but the actor’s career has suffered because of it.
· Verne Troyer as Griphook
Only British actors were cast in Harry Potter films, including Robin Williams for Hagrid, but Verne Troyer was cast as Gringotts banker Griphook in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, making him a rare exception.
Although Troyer was the only significant American actor in the picture, Warwick Davis, who played Professor Flitwick and another bank teller, voiced Troyer’s part. Davis took up the role of Griphook when the plot of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows became more important. Davis went on to explain why he wanted the position. “As Professor Flitwick, I was never able to fully understand Griphook’s character. Then, I went in and read for David Yates and the casting director, and after giving it my best shot, David told me I’d landed the role.”