Ahead of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone hitting cinemas back in 2001, a casting call was issued all over the UK to find J. K. Rowling's on-screen wizarding community. However, as the producers were gathering a slew of both familiar and unfamiliar faces to take part in what would become one of the most successful franchises the movie world has ever seen, one acting legend had to come to terms with the fact that he couldn't participate.
In a recent interview with The Huffington Post, casting director Janet Hirshenson revealed that Robin Williams was very eager to play the part of Rubeus Hagrid in the #HarryPotter series. So much so, that he even called director Chris Columbus himself to inquire about the role — the two had previously worked together on 1993's Mrs Doubtfire and 1999's Bicentennial Man.
Referring to the "British only" rule, Hirschenson recalled how Robin Williams was rejected on account of his nationality:
"He really wanted to be in the movie, but it was a British-only edict. And once [Columbus] said no to Robin, he wasn’t going to say yes to anybody else, that’s for sure. It couldn’t be.”
As we all know, Robbie Coltrane went on to be cast as the half-giant Hogwarts gamekeeper and in the process, became one of the series's most beloved characters throughout the eight movies:
- Two Hagrids, One Cut: Harry Potter Director Reveals What We Never Knew About Hagrid
- 'Fantastic Beasts' Theory: Did Newt Scamander Give Hagrid Aragog?
- 25 Reasons Why Being A Hogwarts Student Like Harry Potter Would Be The Absolute Worst
And in 2001, Williams actually once spoke out about the casting rejection, telling the New York Post:
“There were a couple of parts I would have wanted to play, but there was a ban on [using] American actors.”
Other roles that Robin was considered for were the lead in The Shining, the Charlie Chaplin biopic directed by Richard Attenborough and even the part of the professor in Little Miss Sunshine, which ended up going to Steve Carell. Williams sadly passed away in August 2014.
Would you have preferred to see Robin Williams as Hagrid?
(Source: The Huffington Post)