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Harry Potter Vs The Lord of the Rings: this actor hesitated between the two sagas


Scanning the immense career of the late Richard Harris, the documentary “The Ghost of Richard Harris”, unfortunately still without a distributor in our country, returns among other things to the hesitations of the actor to play Dumbledore for the benefit of Gandalf.

Interpreter of the director of Hogwarts Albus Dumbledore in Harry Potter at the Sorcerer’s School and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, the great actor Richard Harris unfortunately could not participate in the third part of the saga of the sorcerer’s apprentice of Hogwarts .

The Irish actor succumbed in October 2002 to Hodgkin’s disease (cancer of the lymph nodes), a few days before the world premiere of the second part. He was replaced by his compatriot Michael Gambon.

“A lot of people have asked me how it feels to succeed Richard Harris,” explained the latter. “I responded with a comparison to King Lear. Hundreds of actors have played Lear regardless of the approach of their predecessors. An actor takes a part and makes it his own, period. (…) I am of Irish origin, and I spontaneously gave this accent to the character. Alfonso liked that, and so I persevered in this way. It is my nod to Richard”.

Dumbledore rather than Gandalf

The subject of a documentary presented at the last Venice Film Festival, The Ghost of Richard Harris, which sweeps away his immense career, he evokes among other things the fact that the actor had refused the role of Gandalf in The Lord of the Rings, in favor of that of Dumbledore.

At the premiere of Harry Potter at the Sorcerer’s Stone, Richard Harris had said that his granddaughter Ella had threatened him not to speak to her again if he refused the role of Dumbledore in the Harry Potter saga, which she adored. He will repeat the same thing in a period featurette.

In the documentary, it’s not quite the same version. Ella explains that she never told her grandfather that. Very attached to his granddaughter, he told her that the other option he had was to go to New Zealand for three years to shoot The Lord of the Rings. She answered him: “It looks terrible, don’t do that!”. Harris took his advice.

To see the documentary, you will unfortunately have to be patient. It currently has no distributor in France.



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