Chris Columbus has revealed his daughter - who starred in the first movie - wasn’t allowed to speak in the film due to J.K. Rowling’s strict rule.
The Harry Potter flicks form part of one of the most successful film franchises ever, which all started with 2001’s Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone and ran for eight movies in total finishing up with Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 a decade later.
The movies made stars of its young cast, as well attracting some top acting talent such as Robbie Coltrane, Alan Rickman, Ralph Fiennes, Richard Harris, Michael Gambon, and Helena Bonham Carter.
Now, after reading through that list you may have noticed that all the actors mentioned are British and Irish - and this isn’t a coincidence.
Columbus, who directed the first two Harry Potter movies, revealed: “Jo Rowling and myself said to each other when we first met, ‘Look, we want this cast to be 100 percent British.’ And by the way, I stuck to that.”
However, the rule was bent to allow Columbus’ own daughter Eleanor to appear in Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, albeit with a caveat that she didn’t speak so that she wouldn’t reveal her American accent.
Movie-buffs may be interested to know that young Eleanor made a brief appearance as Susan Bones, a girl who is sorted into Hufflepuff by the Sorting Hat.
Columbus said: “She worked about 80 days. But she never spoke because you know the rule was if you’re not British, you can’t speak.”
The rule was so strict that it meant that the casting team had to turn a very big star who was keen on appearing in the movie.
It’s been revealed that Mrs. Doubtfire star Robin Williams had wanted to play the role of Hagrid, so he reached out to Columbus directly but was turned down.
Explaining why Columbus had to say no to Williams, Janet Hirshenson, the casting director for the Harry Potter films, told the Huffington Post back in 2016: "Robin had called [Chris Columbus] because he really wanted to be in the movie, but it was a British-only edict, and once he said no to Robin, he wasn’t going to say yes to anybody else, that’s for sure."
After being told he couldn't play Hagrid, Williams expressed interest in the role of Remus Lupin who made his first appearance in the third film of the franchise, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.
But again, Columbus had to say no - something he admitted was 'difficult'.
In 2021, he told Total Film: "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.'"Featured Image Credit: Mike Marsland/WireImage/Getty