Director Chris Columbus Thinks Robin Williams Would Have Been “Brilliant” as Remus Lupin

The director of the first two Harry Potter films, Chris Columbus, recently shared some thoughts with Insider about the direction Remus Lupin’s character could have gone if a different actor had been cast.

Janet Hirshenson, who was the casting director for Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, helped establish the rule that all actors for the film had to be British. Columbus, who is an American, supported this decision and stuck with it. This rule didn’t stop American actors from expressing their interest in roles throughout the film series, however.


Chris Columbus is directing Daniel Radcliffe Rupert Grint in the wizards chess scene in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone.

Chris Columbus directing Daniel Radcliffe and Rupert Grint in “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone”


In 2016, Hirshenson told HuffPost that the late Robin Williams (Mrs. Doubtfire, Jumanji) called Columbus about playing Rubeus Hagrid. That role went to Robbie Coltrane, and it’s truly hard to picture anyone else playing the friendly half-giant.

Williams was persistent given the “British only” rule and continued to express his interests to the director. Columbus revealed last month to Total Film that Williams was interested in playing not only Hagrid but also Remus Lupin.

Robin would have been brilliant. It would have been a different interpretation — I thought David Thewlis was great — but Robin would have been brilliant.

Williams himself also spoke out about missing out on some of these iconic Harry Potter roles in an interview with the New York Post. Williams joked about the potential for the Harry Potter films if they ever made their way to America.

Maybe one day. Say if [Harry] goes to Yale and becomes president.

Williams attended the premiere of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone when it debuted in New York and did get to see the final film be released before his passing.

It’s crazy to think about what could have been when we’ve grown so accustomed to the actors who were cast in the Harry Potter films. What are your thoughts on if Robin Williams had played a part in the films?


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Brittany Bennett

A proud Hufflepuff and nerd beyond measure, Harry Potter has always been the series I call home.