The actor even called director Christopher Columbus who he worked with on 'Mrs. Doubtfire' to see if he could get the part.
Scottish actor Robbie Coltrane played The Keeper of the Keys and everyone's favorite Care of Magical Creatures teacher: Rubeus Hagrid in the Harry Potter films and did an amazing job. But it's hard to not feel bad knowing that the late beloved comedian Robin Williams actually wanted to play the part. We have no doubt that he would have played the lovable half-giant perfectly. The late actor was a huge fan of the series and wanted to be a part of the movies. But the actor was denied the role because it would break the franchise's rule against casting American actors.
Robin Williams really wanted to play Hagrid in the Harry Potter films but was turned down because he wasn't British pic.twitter.com/hAhbqxRaQQ— Film Facts 🎬 (@Factsonfilm) December 8, 2020
The Aladdin actor, who died in August 2014, briefly mentioned the Harry Potter casting rule in a 2001 interview. "There were a couple of parts I would have wanted to play, but there was a ban on American actors," Williams told New York Post as per The Guardian. He hoped to be part of the sequels. "Maybe one day," he shrugged at the time. "Say if [Harry] goes to Yale and becomes president." Turns out the actor even spoke to director Christopher Columbus to see if he could play Hagrid. The two had previously worked together in the 1993 comedy-drama Mrs. Doubtfire. Casting director Janet Hirshenson spoke about the British actors rule in a 2016 interview with HuffPost. “Robin [Williams] had called [Chris Columbus] because he really wanted to be in the movie, 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,” said the casting director. “It couldn’t be.”
What's heartbreaking is to know is that Robin Williams got rejected not just once but twice from the Harry Potter franchise because of the rule. Columbus directed both the first and second Harry Potter films, while Alfonso Cuarón stepped in for the third. Williams even requested to play Remus Lupin who appears in the third book and in the third film. The role eventually went to David Thewlis. Columbus revealed that Robin Williams expressed interest in playing Lupin in an interview with Total Film, as per GamesRadar. "I had a conversation with Robin Williams, who wanted to play Lupin," Columbus explained. "It was very difficult for me to say ‘It’s all British. There’s nothing I can do.’"
Robin Williams Lost Out on Harry Potter Lupin Role Because He Wasn't British, Reveals Director https://t.co/COgR2A754e— People (@people) October 14, 2021
Columbus told Insider last year that the Jumanji actor would have been brilliant. It would have been a different interpretation — I thought David Thewlis was great — but Robin would have been brilliant," Columbus said. He added, "Jo Rowling and myself said to each other when we first met, 'Look, we want this cast to be 100 percent British.' And by the way, I stuck to that." While both actors did justice to their respective roles, it's hard to imagine what fans missed out on without having Robin Williams as part of the magical franchise!