The Harry Potter movies are slowly but surely depleting a vital resource from the film industry: venerable British actors and actresses. Look at the number of renowed actors from the UK portraying characters in the series: Maggie Smith, Alan Rickman, Kenneth Branagh, Emma Thompson, Miranda Richardson, John Hurt, John Cleese, Julie Walters, Michael Gambon, Ralph Fiennes, Gary Oldman, Dawn French, Julie Christie … the list is impressive and seemingly unending. Imelda Staunton has just been cast as Dolores Umbridge in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. Stephen Fry hasn’t appeared in the movies yet, but he’s been voicing the narrator in the video games.
I am worried that before the series is finished, the Harry Potter casting directors will have to recruit amateurs or, perish the thought, Americans. Can you imagine Renee Zellweger or Uma Thurman trying to mimic a British accent? Perish the thought.
After the jump, I’ve listed the top seven remaining well-known British charactor actors that I suspect may be sucked into future Harry Potter films, along with the possible roles they might play.
- Judi Dench—She’s been pressed into service with the Bond franchise but there’s certainly room for her at Hogwarts. Perhaps she could pop in briefly as Neville’s grandmother.
- Hugh Grant—I realize his face may be too instantly recognizeable. However, that’s what the makeup department is for. Can’t you see him in The Half-Blood Prince as one of the nasty Gaunts, or is he simply too charming?
- Helena Bonham-Carter—She was such a believable oppressed-looking housewife in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory that it is easy to see her as Merope Gaunt, cringing in a corner of the kitchen, in The Half-Blood Prince. Yes, she’s a bit old for the part, but I think it could work anyway.
- Colin Firth—I have no idea what he’d play in the Harry Potter series. But, you know, everything is better with Colin Firth in it. I don’t want the makeup men messing with his good looks, either, if you understand me.
- Simon Callow—He’s been in so many movies, but I always remember him as the Reverend Mr. Beebe in A Room with a View. I think he would be ideal as Professor Slughorn in The Half-Blood Prince, reaching for his box of crystallized pineapple.
- Joanna Lumley—The AbFab actress has been loaning her talents to several family films lately, including The Corpse Bride and Ella Enchanted. She would certainly liven up the Harry Potter films even in a minor role.
- Christopher Lee — The man has been in damn near every major movie franchise in the past 50 years, from Hammer’s Frankenstein films to the second Star Wars trilogy. It would be just plain wrong to exclude him from this one. Rumors were flying that he had been considered as the Dumbledore replacement when Richard Harris died, but I think he would have been a bit creepy. (But I thought that about Michael Gambon too.) Twenty years ago, he could have played the leader of the werewolves, but that’s too active for him now. He would, however, make a fine Rufus Scrimgeour, the Ministry for Magic in The Half-Blood Prince.