The Harry Potter Franchise is one of the most beloved franchises to have ever existed. When the books came out they were loved and anticipated. I remember the first book from the series I ever got was Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. My mom bought it for me at Costco because they were having a sale. But after she bought it, she told me I had to wait to read it. I remember asking why and she said I had to start from the beginning of the series. I was a little disappointed, but at the same time, I understood what she was trying to explain to me.
You can't just dive into a series and expect to understand everything. So, I begged for the rest of the series and it took awhile, but I finally got them. I devoured each book so quickly because I was just too anxious to get to that fourth book and find out what was going to happen.
Then while reading the books and anticipating the next one to come out, I found out that Hollywood was going to turn it into a movie. I've always been fascinated with the visual arts. So to get to see one of my all time favorite series brought to the big screen was exciting. I remember standing in line with my dad and older brother while we waited to go in to see the movie. Someone had knocked the popcorn out of my hand and everything. But when I sat down in the theater to watch the movie, my eyes were glued to the screen and I was entranced.
The movie was and still is amazing. The Sorcerer's Stone and The Chamber of Secrets are my two favorite films of the entire movie franchise. Each film has their ups and downs, yes. Mostly because it's all about the personal interpretation each director/writer had for the series. And of course it was merely just based off of the novels. But the one thing that has always bothered me about the series isn't that the directors/writers decided to change the series a little and incorporate more muggle clothes while at Hogwarts. No, the one thing that constantly bothers me is the beloved character Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore.
I'm sure I'm not the only with an opinion about the two actors who were cast to play Albus Dumbledore. In fact, my opinion may even cause an uproar. That being said, I'll explain myself.
Richard Harris, an amazing actor in my own personal opinion, was the perfect Dumbledore. His grandson knew it and initially threatened him to take the part despite not being in very good health. Hands down, Richard Harris is the biggest reason The Sorcerer's Stone and The Chamber of Secrets were my two favorite movies of the franchise. Dumbledore is a key character in the series and Mr. Harris captured the essence of Dumbledore perfectly.
When I heard that he had passed away, it was definitely a sad time for Harry Potter lovers around the world because we all had the same question on our minds. Who is going to play Professor Dumbledore?
The answer to that question is Sir. Michael Gambon. Now, a lot of the fans of Harry Potter had hoped that Sir Ian McKellan would portray Dumbledore for the rest of the series. And he had actually been offered the part from articles I've read online, but he had turned it down because he said he already played the wizard role when he was Gandalf in the Lord of the Rings franchise. And he was also working on his role as Magneto for the X-Men franchise.
Sir Michael Gambon was then offered the role to play. I was highly skeptical at how it would turn out with someone new playing Dumbledore. Mr. Harris had done an outstanding job at portraying the character, that I felt the shoes were going to be hard to fill by just some random actor. The guy who had to fill the shoes had to be perfect. Some may agree with me and some may disagree with me about his performance, but I personally feel that Sir Michael Gambon was a rather weak Dumbledore.
There were so many times that I cringed whenever I saw him on screen. It's not that he's not a good actor, because I'm almost positive that he is, but the character of Dumbledore is so specific and so unique to the franchise. There are many times that I felt Sir Michael Gambon fell really short. He changed the character of Dumbledore so much from the books that it was not something I was okay with as a beloved fan of the series.
I started looking into the matter when I saw The Goblet of Fire movie and was highly disappointed with his performance as Dumbledore. J.K. Rowling wrote the character of Dumbledore to have this sense of calm about him. He was always so eerily calm during high stress situations and he was also always optimistic about everything. He didn't judge. He simply advised and guided Harry the best way he knew how and the best way he saw fit.
As a fan I expected to see the same kind of performance that Mr. Harris gave. I probably shouldn't have expected the same kind of performance from Sir Michael Gambon because the actors are two different people. So, when I found out that the reason Sir Michael Gambon's interpretation of Dumbledore was so different was because he refused to read the novels beforehand, I was pretty livid. I don't know how many fans were happy or how many fans even knew the reason behind the huge difference.
Personally, I don't think an actor has to read an entire series to really understand a character. Just the first two novels within the series to get a really good idea of who the character you are portraying is. Reading the novels, should be a requirement for actors portraying characters based on novels. The novel gives the actor a foundation of who the character is and how that particular character acts around other characters. I'm all for with creative expression and having your own interpretation of characters, because that's what makes actors unique in their craft.
I just strongly feel that all actors portraying characters based on beloved series and novels, should at least consider reading the first book if it's a series. It's not too much to ask of an actor to read a novel to help prepare themselves for that particular character. Whether you agree or disagree that's up to you.