He might have been one of the most famous stars in Hollywood, but it has been revealed that Robin Williams was turned down for a key role in the Harry Potter movies because he wasn’t British.
In a new interview with the Huffington Post, casting director Janet Hirshenson said that Williams was keen to play the role of Hagrid in 2001’s Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. The actor, who died in 2014, approached director Chris Columbus about it, having previously worked with Columbus on such hit movies as Mrs Doubtfire and Bicentennial Man.
“Robin had called [Columbus] because he really wanted to be in the movie,” she said. “But it was a British-only edict, and once he said no to Robin, he wasn’t going to say yes to anybody else, that’s for sure.”
Williams himself spoke about being turned down for the movie in 2001. “There were a couple of parts I would have wanted to play, but there was a ban on [using] American actors,” he told the New York Post, via the Guardian.
The role of Hagrid ultimately went to Scottish actor Robbie Coltrane, who played the part in all eight films in the blockbuster series.