Hollywood is full of stories of roles that got away, instances where an actor opted not to take a part or simply didn't get a part that ended up being memorable roles for someone else. Succession star Brian Cox is one such actor. In the Scottish actor's new memoir Putting the Rabbit in the Hat, Cox reveals several famous franchises missed out on being a part of, including the role of Robert Baratheon in Game of Thrones and the Governor in Pirates of the Caribbean. But he also missed out on being in Harry Potter, specifically the role of Mad-Eye Moody that was portrayed by Brendan Gleeson.
In his memoir (via Screen Rant), Cox noted that someone "had a burning cross held up" for him to not being the franchise, but also noted that Gleeson was much better in the role than he would have been.
"Harry Potter. That's another one they ask me about. Harry f-cking Potter," Cox wrote. "I think someone had a burning cross held up for me not to be in Harry Potter, because all my palls were in it. I think the part I might have played was the one that Brendan Gleeson got, Mad-Eye Moody, but Brendan was more in fashion than I was at that point, and that's very much the way of the world in my business, so he got it. Also, he's much better than I would have been."
Mad-Eye Moody is an important character in the Harry Potter series, both in terms of the books and the films. The character is among the sort of surrogate father figures for Harry and is also a skillful battler against the Dark Arts and a key figure in the war with Voldemort.
While it wouldn't be difficult to imagine Cox portraying Mad-Eye Moody, Gleeson's performance is one of the most-loved of the Harry Potter franchise and it sounds like there are no hard feelings from Cox. Also, Box isn't the only major actor who missed out on an opportunity to be part of Harry Potter. Several major names, including Tilda Swinton and Kate Winslet, were considered for the franchise at some point but ultimately were not cast.