Movie fans were in for a major disappointment when they heard that Robert Pattinson had turned down the lead in J.K. Rowling’s newest film. Though the actor had been rumored for the part for some time, many were still under the assumption that he had finally agreed to play the role of Harry Potter in the Harry Potter series. The popular fantasy film franchise was released in October 2006 and immediately became one of the highest-grossing films of all time, spawning two direct sequels and a magical world of merchandise. It was a role that would have been a perfect fit for Pattinson, who is known for playing the lead in several romantic comedies and has often been praised for his acting prowess. After weeks of fanfare, it was revealed that the ‘Twilight’ hater had spurned the opportunity to play the iconic Harry Potter in order to star in a new film adaptation of J.K. Rowlings’ popular novel, ‘The Casual Vacancy.’ Although Harry Potter fans will have to wait until at least 2018 for the next installment of the franchise, they can still enjoy the adventures of their favorite wizard thanks to the success of the original film and the subsequent book series.
Pattinson is not the only Hollywood superstar to have turned down a role in the Harry Potter franchise. In fact, several famous faces have passed on the offer, including Kate Winslet and Colin Firth, who had both been rumored for the part of the Hogwarts Headmaster, Alastor ‘Mad-Eye’ Moody. Perhaps most famously, Tom Hanks, who won an Oscar for his performance as Mr. Banks in the 2003 film adaptation of the beloved literary classic, ‘The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,’ had famously said that he would never play the part of Harry Potter, as he felt that the part was “too small to portray a character that is essentially a child.” It was an opportunity for legions of Harry Potter fans to experience their favorite characters’ journey from page to screen in all their magical glory. Sadly, many will have to live out their dream vicariously through the many high-profile actors who have taken on the iconic role over the years. As J.K. Rowling has stated, “The Pottermore stories are an extension of the original series – a continuation of adventures that began over a decade ago.” The beloved literary series will continue to be enjoyed by audiences around the world thanks to the magical cinema that is Hollywood.
Why Robert Pattinson Turned Down the Lead in ‘Harry Potter’
As previously mentioned, Robert Pattinson was one of the first names reported to have been asked to play the role of Harry Potter. According to sources, the actor had finally accepted the role after months of fanfare and speculation. Since turning down the lead in ‘Harry Potter,’ Pattinson has gone on to star in a number of successful films, most notably ‘The Twilight Saga: New Moon,’ Twilight’s highly anticipated sequel. Directed by Chris Weitz, New Moon was released on July 20, 2009 and went on to become the second-highest-grossing film of 2009, trailing only Twilight. The following year, he starred in another romantic comedy, ‘Just Friends,’ which was another box office hit and spawned a sequel. He also starred in the 2013 comedy, ‘The Retrieval of Daisy May,’ which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival that year. Most recently, he starred in and lent his voice to several episodes of the popular fantasy series, ‘Game of Thrones.’
It is likely that Pattinson’s decision to turn down the role of Harry Potter had to do with his desire to expand his repertoire and work on more challenging material. The actor had previously stated that he was a “huge fan” of the Harry Potter films, so his decision to pass on the opportunity to play the lead was understandable. Since turning down the role, the actor has said that he regrets having passed on the opportunity and would have loved to have played the part of Harry Potter. As fate would have it, he eventually got a second chance to portray the character, as Eddie Redmayne, whom he previously portrayed in a supporting role in ‘The Twilight Saga: Eclipse,’ was cast as Harry Potter in the 2014 film, ‘The Grand Budapest Hotel.’ Redmayne and Pattinson’s portrayal of the young wizard was critically acclaimed and they were both praised for their on-screen chemistry. In fact, a critic for The Telegraph even went so far as to say that the two “delivered probably the finest performance in a comedy film in years.” Later that year, Pattinson starred in ‘The Lighthouse,’ another romantic comedy, which grossed over $20 million worldwide on a relatively low budget. He went on to say that he “absolutely loved” working on the film and that Chris Weitz’s direction was “genius.” Since then, he has not returned to comedy, instead choosing to star in prestige movies that challenge him as an actor, such as the 2017 science fiction thriller, ‘Dune,’ which he starred in with Paul Herbert, son of the late legendary British geneticist, Sir Winston Churchill. In 2018, he will star as the lead in the highly anticipated sequel to ‘Titanic,’ titled ‘Titanic: Part Two.’
Though he regrets passing on the role of Harry Potter, it appears that Pattinson’s choice has actually endowed him with a brand new fan base. Following his turn down the role, several celebrities publicly stated that they had just found out about the famed recluse and were “obsessed” with him. Actress Amber Heard tweeted that she was “obsessed” with Pattinson, while Paris Hilton expressed her joy at hearing the news that she had found her new celebrity crush. It is likely that the opportunity to play Harry Potter prompted a wave of fans to discover the actor and his work. Now that they know about his quirky sense of humor and reserved nature, it would appear that the previously scattered Harry Potter fanbase has found their soul mate in Robert Pattinson. It seems that in avoiding the Hollywood status quo, he has inadvertently made himself a celebrity.
Who Is Harry Potter?
If you’ve never heard of the Harry Potter series, then here’s a quick primer: the Harry Potter world, whilst not necessarilyfor-real, does exist in the form of enchanting films and a bestselling book series that has transcended generations of readers since its debut in 1997. The main character, Harry Potter, is a wizard who grows up in a muggle world, surrounded by Muggle (non-wizard) relatives, after his parents are killed in a car accident. Despite his relative lack of magical prowess, Harry is eventually accepted into Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry and is trained as a wizard by Slughorn, the Grand Wizard of Hogwarts. At the same time, he befriends the legendary Albus Dumbledore and meets a Muggle girl, Ginny Weasley, whose family lives near him in the Shrieking Woods. Together, Harry, Albus, and Ginny must face Voldemort, a powerful dark wizard who seeks to destroy magic and become the greatest sorcerer in the Universe. The series is full of memorable characters, including Professor Quirke, Defense Against the Dark Arts Professor Snape, and the evil Lord Voldemort, who is desperate to possess the Philosopher’s Stone, the source of all magical power. Though the first film was not adapted from one of Rowling’s books, it was nonetheless inspired by them: many scenes include references to Harry’s adventures in the world of J.K. Rowling’s fantasy novels. The most recent film, ‘Fantastic Beasts: Tales of Magic,’ premiered in December 2018 and is the fifth film in the series. The 2019 film, ‘Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald,’ finds the Hogwarts students caught up in a web of intrigue when a new enemy threatens to destroy magic forever. In ‘Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald,’ a character who is either loosely based on or totally unrelated to Michael Jackson passes away, but the pop star’s absence is both puzzling and strangely affecting. This latest sequel is not yet rated but is expected to premiere in the spring of 2019.
The films, though relatively niche fare, have made a phenomenal amount of money; the latest film, ‘Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald,’ is currently the second highest-grossing film of all time, just behind only its predecessor, ‘Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.’ The following is a complete list of the films in the Harry Potter series, listed in order of release date: