'Harry Potter': Ralph Fiennes Almost Turned Down Playing Voldemort

Harry Potter has been in the news a lot today due to some risqué comments made by J.K. Rowling about Dumbledore, but there are some more wholesome stories floating around about the franchise, too. Ralph Fiennes, the actor best known to Potterheads for playing Lord Voldemort, recently revealed that he originally turned down the part of the iconic villain. According to Digital Spy, the actor appeared on The Jonathan Ross Show this week and shared that his sister had to convince him to take the part.

"The truth is I was actually ignorant about the films and the books," Fiennes explained. "I was approached by the production. Mike Newell was directing the film that they wanted me to be in… the first time Voldemort was going to appear physically.”

This, of course, was Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, the fourth film in the series.

"Out of ignorance I just sort of thought, this isn’t for me… Quite stupidly I resisted, I was hesitant. I think the clincher was that my sister Martha – who has three children who were then probably about 12, 10 and 8 – she said, 'What do you mean? You’ve got to do it!' So then I rewound my thinking."

We're certainly glad he did! Fiennes went on to appear in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Parts 1 & 2, and did not disappoint as the terrifying villain.

While it’s been a while since the actor has portrayed Voldemort, he does have plenty more projects in the works for fans to get excited about. In 2020, he’s going to reprise his role as M in Cary Joji Fukunaga’s Bond 25. He’ll also be appearing in the upcoming Kingsman spin-off film, Kingsman: The Great Game, alongside Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Gemma Arterton, and Matthew Goode. He’s also reteaming up with fellow Harry Potter alum, Emma Thompson, for The Voyage of Doctor Dolittle, which is set to star Robert Downey Jr., Rami Malek, Tom Holland, and many more. Currently, you can catch Fiennes voicing Alfred Pennyworth in The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part.

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While it is unlikely we'll be seeing Fiennes again in the Wizarding World, the franchise has continued on with the Fantastic Beasts films. In fact, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald was just released on DVD and blu-ray on March 12th.

All eight Harry Potter films are available for home viewing, but not currently streaming anywhere for free in the United States.