With the publication of “Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore,” another project extending the Wizarding World has been added to a list that began with “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” in 2001 and continues to this day. Potterheads were treated to a reunion special on HBO Max called “Harry Potter 20th Anniversary: Return to Hogwarts” to commemorate the franchise’s legacy. According to Variety, the Wizarding World is still running strong, though Warner Bros. is unsure whether the “Fantastic Beasts” franchise will continue beyond this third episode.
In any case, with all eight “Harry Potter” films and the first two “Fantastic Beasts” films available on HBO Max, fans can keep rewatching their favorite series and characters that have become household names throughout the world. Many of the performers who played young witches and wizards at Hogwarts grew up on the set, including Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, Tom Felton, Bonnie Wright, Matthew Lewis, and others. As several of them remarked during the “Return to Hogwarts” special, the roles they were cast in at such an early age undoubtedly affected the direction of their life.
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Although performers like Watson have stated how difficult it was to get their parts (via Interview Magazine), the odds were substantially increased because of a casting condition established by J.K. Rowling, director Chris Columbus, and casting director Janet Hershenson. What we know thus far is as follows.
In the Harry Potter films, there was a British casting rule.
In a 2016 interview with HuffPost, Janet Hirshenson, casting director for “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone,” alluded to the film series’ well-known British-only casting criteria. Chris Columbus revealed in a 2021 interview with Total Film that they had to turn down incredible talents like the late Robin Williams, who was keen to portray Remus Lupin.
In the same year, the director told Insider that he and J.K. Rowling agreed right away that they wanted the cast to be “100% British,” and that they stuck to that agreement with the exception of a couple of nonspeaking roles given to Verne Troyer, who played the goblin Griphook, and Columbus’ daughter, Eleanor, who played Susan Bones. Even if it would have been intriguing to have an American actor play a character in the series with an accent, most “Harry Potter” fans would probably say they wouldn’t alter anything about the cast that brought the classic book series to life.