Robin Williams Was Turned Down From Playing Hagrid In Harry Potter Due To J.K. Rowling Rule

The late Robin Williams was once up for the role of Hagrid in Harry Potter, however, J.K. Rowling put a stop to this due to her strict rule. 
Credit: Alamy & Warner Bros. Pictures

The late Robin Williams was once up for the role of Hagrid in Harry Potter, however, J.K. Rowling put a stop to this due to her strict rule. 

Williams, who died in 2014 aged 63, was one of Hollywood’s biggest actors, having starred in a number of classic films, including Mrs. Doubtfire, Flubber and Disney’s Aladdin.

Yet this didn’t stop the household name from pursuing roles in other huge movies, as the Good Will Hunting star is believed to have had his eye on playing Rubeus Hagrid – the beloved Keeper of Keys and Grounds of Hogwarts.

Apparently, Williams was so keen on the part that he even contacted Chris Columbus – who directed the first two films in the franchise – in the hopes of being considered.

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As we all know, the Night at the Museum actor didn’t end up snatching the role – and this is because the author of ‘Harry Potter’, J.K. Rowling, had enforced some rules when it came to the casting of the movies.

Harry Potter’s casting director, Janet Hirshenson, told the Huffington Post how it all went down.

She told the publication: “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.”

Instead, the role was given to Scottish actor Robbie Coltrane, who sadly passed away in 2022 aged 72.

Coltrane would go on to receive worldwide recognition for the part.

Hagrid in Harry Potter.
Robin Williams reportedly wanted to play the part of Hagrid in Harry Potter. Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures

Despite being rejected for the role of Hagrid, Williams would go on to pursue another huge role in the Harry Potter movies.

He was also keen to play the role of Remus Lupin – who first appears in the third film of the franchise, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.

Once again, Columbus was forced to turn Williams down – which is something he has said he found ‘difficult’.

The director told Total Film: “I had a conversation with Robin Williams, who wanted to play Lupin. It was very difficult for me to say ‘It’s all British. There’s nothing I can do.'”

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While he went on to note that Williams would have been ‘brilliant’ in the role, he shared praise for David Thewlis – who went on to play the part.

“Robin would have been brilliant. It would have been a different interpretation – I thought David Thewlis was great – but Robin would have been brilliant,” Columbus told Insider.

Throughout the whole franchise, Verne Troyer was the only American cast. He portrayed – but didn’t voice – Griphook in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.

Warwick Davis, who voiced the character, would replace Troyer as Griphook in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2.

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Written by Aimee Walker

Aimee is a senior content editor at IGV who specialises in finding the best original stories, trending topics and entertainment news. She graduated from Birmingham City University with a degree in Media and Communications.