Harry Potter Director Confirms Robin Williams Was Turned Down for Key Role

The Harry Potter series of films are touchstones of the blockbuster landscape, as they helped introduce a generation of fans to its spellbinding story. Part of what helped the films become beloved was their ensemble cast, which included a mix of unknown actors and household names. According to a new interview with one of the franchise's directors, a very specific notable name — Robin Williams — actually wanted to play a role in the franchise. As Chris Columbus recently revealed to TotalFilm, Williams was interested in portraying the role of Remus Lupin, and although the two of them had worked together on Mrs. Doubtfire, it didn't come to pass for a very specific reason.

"That was the goal. No American actors in this film," Columbus explained, before adding, "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.'"

Ultimately, the role of Lupin went to David Thewlis, and he garnered a number of fans along the way. Still, given Williams' star power and unique ability to perform, it's probably easy for some to imagine what he would have brought to the role.

The success of Harry Potter ultimately led to seven sequels, two prequels (so for), a playan upcoming major video game, and countless items of merchandise. Earlier this year, WarnerMedia Kids & Family announced that it would be celebrating the 20th anniversary of Sorcerer's Stone with two unscripted specials — a quiz series and a retrospective surrounding the film.

"To celebrate the dedicated fans old and new who have passionately kept the Wizarding World magic alive in so many forms for decades, these exciting specials will celebrate their Harry Potter fandom in a must-see multiplatform TV event," said Tom Ascheim, President, Warner Bros. Global Kids, Young Adults and Classics in a press release. "All Potter fans can gear up for this ultimate one-of-a-kind celebration by embracing their inner Hermione Granger and studying their Wizarding World knowledge. For fans who have always wanted to discover what it might be like to take the O.W.L. exams, this is as close as they are going to get!"

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Robin Ashbrook and Yasmin Shackleton of theoldschool will produce the four Wizarding World one-hour quiz competition shows. Casey Patterson of Casey Patterson Entertainment (A West Wing Special to Benefit When We All Vote and VAX Live: The Concert to Reunite the World) will executive produce the anniversary retrospective special.

What do you think of Columbus' comments? Would you have wanted to see Robin Williams play Remus Lupin in the films? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!