J.K. Rowling, the creator of Harry Potter, declined to let Robin Williams audition for a children’s film about a plucky orphan who stumbles upon a world of magic and fantasy – it’s as if she never saw Aladdin.
According to the director, Chris Columbus, who directed the first two Harry Potter films, the late great Williams was desperate to join the cast of Harry Potter when he learned that his long-time collaborator was in charge of starting the film series. Rowling demanded, however, that the cast be “100% British” in order to maintain the “authenticity” of the silly fantasy films about flying brooms and magic Hitler. Williams, a fan of the book series, was vying for the parts of Rubeus Hagrid and Remus Lupin but was denied an audition based on Rowling’s “No Americans Allowed” policy that somehow did not extend to the first film’s director.
To be honest, Rowling’s absurd rule appears to be a convenient cover for the real reason she didn’t want Williams involved: the Columbus-directed Mrs. Doubtfire undoubtedly offended her TERF tastes.
“I would have liked to play a couple of parts, but there was a ban on American actors,” Williams told The New York Post in 2001. He joked that the then-unfinished franchise could ultimately take Harry Potter and his friends across the pond, adding, “Maybe one day.” Assume (Harry) attends Yale and becomes president.”
J.K. Rowling & Robin Williams
Rowling’s first choice for the character of Hagrid was the recently deceased Robbie Coltrane, whose performance as the kindly Hogwarts groundskeeper was irreplaceable. On the other hand, Columbus said of Williams’ other option, the werewolf Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher Lupin, “Robin would have been brilliant.” It would have been a different interpretation,” he said, adding that the final cast member, David Thewlis, was no slouch – he wasn’t Robin Williams. “I thought David Thewlis was great, but Robin would have been fantastic,” Columbus said.
Columbus remembered a discussion with Williams during which the comedy legend attempted to persuade him to appear in a Harry Potter film, lamenting, “It was complicated for me to say ‘It’s all British.'” I’m powerless to help.'” If only a spell could have persuaded Rowling to let Williams work his wizardry on her film series – Auditionus Americanus or something equally stupid.