Hagrid, the half-giant and all around friendly Hogwarts groundskeeper, is an irreplaceable personality in the Harry Potter series. For as long as fans could remember, Hagrid was always there for the Harry (Daniel Radcliffe), Ron (Rupert Grint) and Hermione (Emma Watson) when they needed help or if they just wanted to hang out.
Thanks to actor Robbie Coltrane, Hagrid made his mark on the childhoods of countless Harry Potter fans. But if things behind the scenes were slightly different, Robin Williams could have taken the place of Coltrane as the gentle half-giant.
Robin Williams And Hogwarts
In a recent interview with The Hufftington Post, series casting agent Janet Hirshenson revealed that the star of movies like Hook (1991), Good Morning, Vietnam (1987) and Good Will Hunting (1997) lobbied for the role of Hagrid after he read the books.
There was just one thing that prevented Williams from scoring the role of Hagrid: he was an American, not British.
The Harry Potter movies are known for having an all-British cast, and this mandate was so important that the production turned down talented actors who were not of British origin.
The Harry Potter books are all set in British locations and are populated by predominantly British characters, and author J.K. Rowling was dead-set on making sure that her vision of a magical Britain would stay as British as possible. That, and Robbie Coltrane was J.K. Rowling's first choice for the role of Hagrid from the get-go.
Despite the rejection, Williams still held on to the hope that the Harry Potter movies would find a way to introduce an American character at some point.
The expanding Harry Potter story eventually found its way to lands across the Atlantic, as seen in the recent prequel movie Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them (2016) which is now set in America during the 1920's. Sadly, Williams never lived to see this day since he committed suicide in August of 2014.
[Source: The Independent]
What Could Have Been
Hagrid wasn't the only high-profile role Williams failed to get.
According to Williams, he was rejected for the roles of the Joker in both Batman (1989) and The Dark Knight (2008), and the Riddler (Jim Carrey) in Batman Forever (1995). Williams really wanted to be in a Batman movie, so he called director Christopher Nolan and offered his services to play a major character "or some weird little man in the background in Arkham Asylum" during the production of The Dark Knight Rises (2012).
Williams' other missed opportunities included: Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson) from The Shining (1984), Charlie Chaplin (Robert Downey Jr.) from the biopic Chaplin (1992) and Willy Wonka (Johnny Depp) from Charlie And The Chocolate Factory (2005).
[Source: International Business Times]
Ups And Downs
Williams had a streak of blockbuster hits and critically acclaimed roles from the '80s to the '90s, but his career mellowed during the 2000's. Compared to his previous hits, Williams' works in the 2000's weren't as well received as he may have hoped for.
His last movies included a voice acting credit in the comedy Absolutely Anything, the drama Boulevard, and the third and final Night At The Museum entry, Night At The Museum: Secret Of The Tomb. These movies were released some time after his passing.
All we can do now is imagine how different certain movies would have been if they cast Robin Williams, but the movies that defined the iconic comedian still remain. Through his hilarious stand-up acts and memorable movies like The Fisher King (1991), Aladdin (1992) and many more, we could laugh with his jokes and remember him in better days - the way he may have preferred it.