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The Harry Potter films were stuffed with some of our favorite vintage actors, such as Alan Rickman, Maggie Smith and Michael Gambon. There was, however, one well-matured, eccentric star, who seemed like perfect fit, but was turned down for a big role.

In an interview with the Huffington Post, casting director Janet Hirshenson revealed that the late, great Robin Williams was eager to play gamekeeper Hagrid, but was rejected by producers on account of his nationality.

Director Chris Columbus, who oversaw the first two Harry Potter films, took the “Brits only” rule imposed by producers very seriously. “Robin had called because he really wanted to be in the movie,” explained Hirshenson, “but it was a British-only edict, and once [Chris] said no to Robin, he wasn’t going to say yes to anybody else, that’s for sure. It couldn’t be.”

It’s not uncommon for directors who adapt books for the silver screen to play fast and loose with characters’ nationalities — or set the story in a whole other country. Just look at how Girl on the Train was transplanted from the U.K. to the U.S., and in Doctor Strange, Tilda Swinton played a character described as a “male Tibetan monk” in the original comics (which caused a much larger controversy over diversity). But in the case of the Potter films, we agree that British is best.

Of course, the part of Hagrid eventually went to Robbie Coltrane, the Scottish actor who was reportedly J.K. Rowling‘s first choice for the half-giant, and frankly we can’t imagine anyone else in the role.

Can you see Robin fitting in at Hogwarts?

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By Kat Sommers
Kat is a freelance writer for Anglophenia.