There are some interesting moments in history where you look back at what could’ve been. Especially in film, we always explore the different castings that almost happened before someone else took on the role. Marvel fans could hardly see anyone else take over the mantle of Iron Man after Robert Downey Jr.‘s performance, but there was a time where Tom Cruise was considered. Harry Potter is no different, such as how Alan Rickman made the role of Severus Snape as iconic as it is today. Yet, it looks like one American icon tried to find his way into the franchise, but was prevented due to a simple casting rule by the production.
In an interview with Total Film, director Chris Columbus discussed his work on the iconic franchise, as Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone turns 20. In it, he discussed a rather curious discussion he had with famous comedian Robin Williams. It seems that he was adamant about playing Remus Lupin, who would have a considerable role as of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. The role famously went to David Thewlis, as the production had a simple rule. This franchise is set in Great Britain and to remain authentic, they had the rule that these films did not include any Americans.
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.Christopher Columbus
It’s not uncommon for projects to set rules on how they approach their casting. As fun as it would’ve been to have Williams in the role, Thewlis made it his own throughout his run in the original eight-film franchise. Still, if we go by an if scenario, the role would’ve fit him quite well. The character is shown to have a comedic side but takes a dark turn later down the line. Robin Willimas proved his range with films such as One Hour Photo, Good Will Hunting, and many more.
Source: Total Film