Harry Potter Moment of the Week: The Perfect (and Not-So-Perfect) Actors in the Films

Harry Potter Moment of the Week is a Thursday feature created by Leah of Uncorked Thoughts and hosted by Mimz of Lunar Rainbows which offers a weekly Harry Potter-related prompt. This week’s prompt is:

Which cast member do you think was a perfect fit for their character?

I might as well say it now: this will be a very vain post! But I love discussing Harry Potter more than almost anything so if you disagree with me I would love to hear why in the comments!

no muggles

I was honestly disappointed with much of the casting for the Harry Potter films.

  • Bellatrix Lestrange and Sirius Black are my two favorite characters from the series, and I felt they were both far classier in the books than they were portrayed in the films. I’m very curious about what the directors and casting directors thought about the Black family altogether, because it seemed to me like a penchant for letting anger go unchecked was what they observed in the characters and encouraged in the actors playing Blacks more than anything. Personally — besides in the case of Sirius’ slight psychosis in Prisoner of Azkaban — I always felt like cunning was their most unifying trait as a family, and I would have preferred actors who more naturally exude it.
  • Radcliffe, Grint, and Watson portrayed the Trio well, but I didn’t feel like they were perfect fits and could have been played by other actors.
  • Richard Harris was a very magical Dumbledore, and I do get the warm-and-fuzzies when I watch his portrayal, but he wasn’t as lively as the Dumbledore of the books; Michael Gambon, on the other hand, was very lively but also very angry. The argument could be made that it is mentioned several times in the books that Dumbledore rose to anger, such as when the dementors encroached on the Quidditch match during which Harry fell from his broom in Prisoner of Azkaban, but he seemed very at ease at other times in which Gambon’s Dumbledore may have exploded, such as when Fudge and Lucius Malfoy escort him and Hagrid from the grounds in Chamber of Secrets.

You can’t have it all! And each actor brought something unique to their enactment of the characters they assumed, which I respect. On the other hand, I think several actors were excellent fits for their characters:

  • Julie Walters was hilarious and wonderfully entertaining as the lovable Molly Weasley. She had a perfect, slightly frantic vibe and was over-indulgent of Harry in a way that had “mom” written all over it. ♥
  • It is impossible for me to separate the bearing, voice, and attitude of Alan Rickman’s Snape and the Snape of the books in my imagination — in my mind, he is Snape! (May he rest in peace.)
  • The same goes for Sean Biggerstaff as Oliver Wood. I hear his wonderful Scottish accent in my mind when I read Wood’s lines, and I giggle when I hear Wood tell McGonagall, “You can’t cancel Quidditch” in the film (Chamber of Secrets) because I can hear the stubbornness of the character who, in the books, repeated Quidditch strategies like mantras until his teammates could no longer stand it.
  • And speaking of McGonagall, thank goodness we had the inimitable Maggie Smith to grace our screens with her pointed hat stylishly askew — well, except in Deathly Hallows, when her hair was all unkempt, but who really would be on fleek while attempting to prevent imminent genocide?

But let’s not overlook twins James and Oliver Phelps as Fred and George Weasley. They did a phenomenal job playing the twins who seem to be able to read each other’s minds and finish one another’s sentences at all times — a skill my step-mother told me she shares with her twin sister, with whom she feels so “in tune” that sometimes they don’t even need to speak when they’re together, because they are so acutely aware of what the other is thinking and feeling.

Based on interviews I’ve seen with the Phelps twins, it seems these two are troublemakers in life, too. For instance, in an interview in 2010 at GamesCom in Germany, the interviewer misidentified them but they played along, reminiscent of how the Fred and George would tease their mother in the same way, and then asked, “Are you two twins in real life?” (yes, I cringed, too), to which Oliver responded, “No, it’s quite a weird story: we met at the audition process, didn’t we?” In another interview, they were asked if it’s difficult to play 18-year-olds at age 23; Oliver answered, “Not really, when you’re as immature as we are!” In yet another interview, James mentioned a chicken pox scar he has on the left side of his nose and how he tricked one of his castmembers into believing it was where he was shot by a farmer for trespassing as a child. The Phelps twins are natural pranksters.

fred & george - up to no good

The Weasley twins bring a Shakespearean level of comic relief to the books, and though the Phelps don’t have much screen-time in the films, they went above and beyond the call of duty in bringing the cheerful, mischievous spirit of the Weasley twins to the films, bringing laughter in even the darkest times.

george winking at harry-ginny

fred and george trolling madeye

The movies wouldn’t have been complete without the Phelps! I can’t imagine anyone else playing the Weasley twins.

fred and george dancing practice

What do you think? Who are your favorite casting choices in the Harry Potter films? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

The Sunday Post | Issue 4

The Sunday Post is a weekly feature hosted by Kimberly of Caffeinated Book Reviewer. It’s an opportunity to share news, recap the week, showcase books and things we have received, talk about what’s coming up next week, and anything else you’d like! In addition, I feature what I’m reading, playing, watching, and/or listening to, showcase new additions to my TBR shelf, and discuss any other general geekery that I want to share.

News

For the past several months I have been taking a long, unscheduled break from — well, everything! As I explain here, my infant son Oliver took over all my time, to the point that I wasn’t even reading (cue gasps of shock and horror from anyone who has ever met me). To be quite honest, I still have not figured out any semblance of routine beyond deciding to let his needs guide what I get up to at any given moment, and the only time I have for things like writing and blogging is that strange, liminal hour between the time he falls asleep and the time when my eyelids will no longer stay open. I’m playing it by ear and that’s perfectly alright with me!Read More »