The Golden Age of Hollywood

The Great Recasting Blogathon 2012: HARRY POTTER (2001-2011 series)

on July 25, 2012

This blogathon hosted by Rianna at Frankly, My Dear and Natalie at In the Mood requires participants to select a post-1965 movie and completely recast it with pre-1965 actors. I got really excited and immediately chose HARRY POTTER, because there is a such a great variety of character, you know?

I walked straight into a nightmare. What on earth was I thinking?! There are several reasons recasting Harry Potter with classic Hollywood actors is problematic:
1.) HARRY POTTER, and everyone in it, is terribly, terribly British.
2.) There are a bunch of child characters.
3.) There are a lot of freaks. Like a midget charm professor. And twin teen-age red-heads. And Ogres and giants (and half-giants) and freaky evil snake-men without noses.
4.) There aren’t that many really glamorous characters. Hollywood was basically run off of star power, but HARRY POTTER isn’t exactly an MGM rom-com musical, now is it?

However, I have managed against all the odd to compile a list of recastings. Some of these I’m quite proud of – picking goody-goody Freddie Bartholomew as Malfoy was genius. Others…? Well, let’s just say I’m not too attached to the idea of Mickey and Judy as Ronny Howard’s side-kick pals. So please, feel free to criticize and rearrange to your heart’s content. I welcome your input!


I wanted to pick an actor for Harry that had more of the character traits, rather than the exact looks. I thought little Ronnie Howard would work because he’s got that very healthy honesty, a strong work ethic, courage, and humility to be “The Boy Who Lived.” We also got to see him grow up on screen, so we can sort of imagine what he would be like as Harry ages from a little 11-year-old Muggle to a full-grown wizard.


Rooney would be a great side-kick for Harry because he’s got Ron’s goofiness and, I won’t say stupidity… but he’s not exactly as quick as the other two, is he? And it would be pretty easy to picture him as a red-head.


Judy and Mickey just belong together. I think with a little stretch of the imagination, you can cast Judy as a sort of awkward brainy nerdy type. Who can sing…? Why not? She’s definitely a bit of a goody-goody and I can totally see her sucking up to McGonagall and trying to type a double course load.

Well, her name is already Ginny, and I think this precocious child star from THE WOMEN (1939) and THE PHILADELPHIA STORY (1940) would do well as the youngest Weasley and leader of Dumbledore’s army.


Although Freddie usually plays little goody-goodies (LITTLE LORD FAUNTLEROY), let’s be honest – he’s a little snot (CAPTAINS COURAGEOUS).


Owen has the right mix of humor and wisdom to fit into this role. And he’s British, so it works.


This is one bit of casting I’m proud of. Hepburn would be AMAZING as the kick-butt head of Gryffindor, who also used to play Quiddich and leads Hogwarts into battle. And they both had red hair.


Another perfect casting, if I do say so myself! Lee (i.e. Dracula) totally works for the creepy potions master. Snape is described in the books as a having a large hooked nose and long greasy hair, kind of like, I don’t know, Sauroman from LORD OF THE RINGS?


Since they cast the reigning mega-Shakespearean posh Englishman for the HP movies, I only thought it fitting to cast the previous holder of that title, Sir Larry.


Can you think of anyone better to play the lean, mean Death Eater-hunting machine? I think not! Let’s face it, Madeye is basically the cowboy hero of the Harry Potter series.


I picked Cooper as Harry’s werewolf/professor mentor because he plays humble professor in BALL OF FIRE and he’s also a pretty cool dude. He also plays an honest dude and Lupin is really helpful and cautious.


He’s the bad guy with a heart – someone that it takes a while for you to trust, but then he turns out to be the most awesome godfather ever.


As Ma Kettle, Main had plenty of children under her feet, and she was great at keeping them all in line with her sharp tongue and common sense. But she also had a big heart and was hospitable and friendly.


Poor Margaret Hamilton was never able to distance herself from her role as the Wicked Witch of the West, but she would be perfect as Harry’s horsey Aunt Petunia – skinny with big teeth. Very mean.


W.C. Fields is the best of the rotund bumbling idiots, but he’s not exactly mean. Of course, he’s not nice either.


Christopher Plummer said working with Julie Andrews was like being hit over the head with a Valentine’s Day card. Who better to play Harry’s devoted mother who sacrificed herself to save her son?


It’s not hard to imagine Grant as one of the mischievous creators of the Marauder’s Map who as always getting up Snape’s overlarge nose when they were students, or as Harry Potter’s dad who gave up his life to protect his son.


She’s the only child actor I could think of who was sexy/cute enough to make Harry go ga-ga. And she is English… but not Scottish. Or Asian…


You might remember this character actress from a couple Errol Flynn movies – ROBIN HOOD and DON JUAN. She’s usually the nurse or lady in waiting for the lead female character, so I thought she would work well as the fussy nurse in the Hogwarts infirmary.

Hildy Johnson, HIS GIRL FRIDAY. ‘Nuff said.

He’s the only person I could think of who is cruel and evil enough to play the Dark Lord.

There are obviously a whole lot of people I’ve left out, so I’ll need some help completing this list. Please comment below on any changes/additions you’d like to make, and I’ll amend my list. I beg all Potter fans forgiveness for the sloppiness of this recasting. I did try my best. Please don’t eat me!


26 responses to “The Great Recasting Blogathon 2012: HARRY POTTER (2001-2011 series)

  1. mkmcginnis says:

    What a fun idea! I love your choices– especially for Ginny, Madeye ;), and Mrs. Weasley. I was almost thinking Margaret O'Brien as Hermione. She's got spunk and smarts. Also, maybe Anne Rutherford as Cho Chang. With the right hair and makeup (and in black and white) she might pass as Asian… at least to pre-1965 audiences.

  2. Oh my God, this is perfect! I like especially Voldemort, Lilly+James, Minerva and ESPECIALLY RITA SKEETER! This would be genius if it were true!

  3. Emma says:

    I love your choices for the recasting blogathon!!! All the best actresses and actors of the classic era are involved. Especially love the inclusion of John Wayne, Gary Cooper, Cary Grant, Katherine Hepburn and it would have been great if a young Liz Taylor was Harry's love interest.

  4. I did think of Margaret O'Brien for Hermione but I thought she might be a little too cutsie. Anne Rutherford as Cho would be amazing though! Good choice. Thanks for commenting!

  5. I know, right? Well, we can dream! I'm glad you like my picks. Thanks for reading!

  6. Thank you – so glad you like my choices! Thanks for commenting.

  7. Sofia says:

    Margaret, I am speechless at how nearly all those actors fit so perfectly. I say "nearly" because I don't know some of the child actors. But Hepburn, Lee, Olivier, Cooper, Wayne, Russell, Hamilton, Fields and Main… they even look like their characters, it's amazing! And Karloff would make an epic Voldemort.I can totally see the sweet Julie Andrews as Lily, and Cary Grant as the irreverent but loving James Potter… I could watch an entire movie about their generation, with Sirius and Lupin… dreamy. haha just imagining Hermione break into a song in the middle of potions class… Priceless.

  8. Laura says:

    Oh my word Christopher Lee as Snape. Christopher Lee as Snape. Inspired. Perfectly inspired.So is the rest of this cast! Bravo!

  9. I know, right?! Even I thought that one was pretty clever. Glad you liked my picks!

  10. I know – wouldn't a Harry Potter/Bugsby Berkely musical be AMAZING! Thanks for all the positive feedback!

  11. says:

    I'm from the generation who grew up with Harry Potter, but I preferred to watch classic films instead of the recent movie series. With your recasting, Harry Potter would easily become a must-see for me! Great choices! I'm in the blogathon with The English Patient recast.Kisses!

  12. Wow, what a cast! You're right,it really must have been a challenge to reimagine Harry Potter for the classic era, but you did a terrific job!

  13. I'd pay to see this movie. In fact, I'd pay to see it just because it has Cary Grant and Julie Andrews in it, both in their primes. Great casting.

  14. Yeah, I think a lot of current movies would actually be improved by recasting them with classic actors. Can't wait to check out your English Patient!

  15. Thanks – glad you liked it!

  16. I know – wouldn't they be gorgeous! Thanks for commenting!

  17. That's quite a great cast! Lots of standouts. but Gary Cooper will steal the show especially when he turns into a warewolf!!

  18. That would be fun to see! Thanks for reading and commenting!

  19. Ann says:

    GREAT recast, Margie. I think I would like to see River Phoenix as Harry Potter. However, I wouldn't turn away from the box office with Ron Howard!BTW – Lily Potter and Sirius Black were inspired choices!

  20. Kristen says:

    The three child actors are good for me only because I can't recall any other child actors other than them. I think you excelled the most in the adult characters! I'd definitely go see this movie!

  21. Nick says:

    This is such a great list. I'd pay to see Christopher Lee as Snape. That would be awesome. Over on my blog I recasted The Princess Bride then and now.

  22. That's the same problem I had. The grown-ups were the fun ones – which is actually kind of the same way I feel about the movies themselves now.

  23. I loved your recasting of The Princess Bride! Ingenious!

  24. Rianna says:

    When you signed up for Harry Potter, I was definitely wondering how you were going to do it because of all the child actors. But I can definitely see a lot of this working! I love the casting of Ron and Judy… could see that happening easily, even if a time warp would be needed ;). (I'm imagining them in the classic Gryffindor robes and nodding). Of course, I'm not a fan at all of Mickey-the-troll-Rooney, but the rest of your cast was pretty fantastic I thought! (Going through a huge Julie Andrews phase right now so I really approve of her as Mrs. Potter. Perfect for the sweetheart role, though, of course there is a more adult side to Julie for sure but we all remember her for her sugary side.) Thanks for joining us!

  25. MovieNut14 says:

    I approve of Christopher Lee as Snape.

  26. Thank you – I'm so glad you approve of MOST of my choices! Julie Andrews is an angel, although she can certainly turn the air blue when she wants to. Have you seen any episodes from The Julie Andrews Hour? My favorite is this one with Harry Belafonte:

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