Skip To Content

    24 British Actors I'm Stunned Didn't Make The Cut For The "Harry Potter" Movies

    No room for Tilda? Okayyyy.

    The Harry Potter films are well known for their use of British and Irish actors only, which, IMO, made them as indelible as they are.

    Warner Bros. Pictures / Via

    Every film is chockablock with some of our finest acting talent – from Julie Walters to Alan Rickman, and Ralph Fiennes to Dame Maggie Smith.

    Even though the OG cast was amazing, I'm wondering why these 25 British greats were overlooked when it came to casting the movies...

    1. Tilda Swinton

    Antony Jones / Via Getty Images

    Not only does she have strong witch energy IRL, Tilda served us all a White Witch to remember in The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, and it was a mf cultural reset! So WHY was she left out when it came to casting the Harry Potter movies?

    Where you know her from: Michael Clayton, Orlando, We Need to Talk About Kevin.

    Possible role(s): Merope Gaunt, Voldemort's morally dubious mother.

    2. Judi Dench

    Anthony Harvey / Via Getty Images

    Jude is an icon of British acting with seven Academy Award nominations under her belt, and one win for Shakespeare in Love. And she was only in that for 0.6 seconds cumulatively! Imagine if she'd had the chance to bring that raw power to the HP franchise...

    Where you know her from: A Room with a View, GoldenEye, Philomena.

    Possible role(s): Augusta Longbottom, Neville's grandmother, who's as formidable a witch as she is snappy a dresser.

    3. Colin Firth

    Tim P. Whitby / Via Getty Images

    Who doesn't love Colin? He's just made to be loved! I see him as a benign yet powerful figure working in the ministry. Or, a powerful leader who seems benign but is actually ruthless and cruel. Idk, but it would have been amazing to see him in the movies for sure.

    Where you know him from: Bridget Jones's Diary, The King's Speech, A Single Man.

    Possible role(s): James Potter... that would be siiiiick. Orrrr the muggle Prime Minister.

    4. Idris Elba

    Stefanie Loos/AFP / Via Getty Images

    Idris is a stone cold hottie and awesome actor who had been doing great work in The Wire since 2002 when the films were being released. He's surely an obvious choice for the Harry Potter films. Can you imagine Idris attaching his star power to the franchise? It'd be even more unstoppable then it already is!

    Where you know him from: The Wire, Luther, the Thor movies.

    Possible role(s): Ludo Bagman, a former professional Quidditch player and head of the Department of Magical Games and Sports. He's athletic and likeable!

    5. Jennifer Saunders

    John Phillips / Via Getty Images

    If Jen can single-handedly elevate Shrek 2 into the icon of cinema that it is, imagine the magic could've added to these movies! Plus, her comedy partner and BFF Dawn French made an appearance as The Fat Lady, so it makes perfect sense to cast Jen too. Plus plus, Dawn and Jen are famous for their Harry Potter parodies!

    Where you know her from: Absolutely Fabulous, Friends, French and Saunders.

    Possible role(s): Andromeda Tonks, Bellatrix and Narcissa's sister who's disowned by her family for marrying a muggle-born dude. She offers Harry refuge after he's moved from Privet Drive.

    6. Richard E. Grant

    Gareth Cattermole / Via Getty Images

    If Richard isn't on your radar then what are you even doing with your life? He's a tremendous actor who can do straight-up drama just as well as he can do uproarious comedy. And he's custom-built for the Harry Potter franchise! He's insanely British, just the right amount of creepy, and he kind of looks like a magician...

    Where you know him from: Withnail and I, Gosford Park, Can You Ever Forgive Me?.

    Possible role(s): Bob Odgen, the head of the Magical Law Enforcement Squad who has Voldemort's uncle and grandfather thrown in Azkaban.

    7. Joanna Lumley

    Danny E. Martindale / Via Getty Images

    If you saw Joanna's turn as Aunt Spiker in James and the Giant Peach (in which she stars opposite Professor Sprout actor, Miriam Margolyes) you'll know she's an incredible character actor. Plus, like Richard, she's super British and she's tight with Jennifer Saunders and Dawn French! AND LOOK AT HER WERK THAT WITCHES HAT.

    Where you know her from: Absolutely Fabulous, The Wolf of Wall Street, Ella Enchanted.

    Possible role(s): Hepzibah Smith, a wealthy cougar who loves to flirt with young men almost as much as she loves collecting jewellery. Her prized possessions are stolen by Voldemort and turned into horcruxes.

    8. Dev Patel

    Francois Nel / Via Getty Images

    Dev began acting in British teen drama Skins back in 2007, and then skyrocketed to fame in 2008 as the lead in Slumdog Millionaire. Basically, he was around, and he definitely could've played a student at Hogwarts – dare I say it, maybe even Ron? Similar energy, right?

    Where you know him from: The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, Lion, The Personal History of David Copperfield.

    Possible role(s): Ron Weasley orrrr a more impactful Oliver Wood.

    9. Meera Syal

    John Phillips / Via Getty Images

    And if Dev was to play Ron, obviously his mother Molly would have to be played by comedy KWEEN, Meera! Just sayin', it would have been amazing to have a British-Indian family playing The Weasleys.

    Where you know her from: Goodness Gracious Me, The Kumars at No. 42, Anita and Me.

    Possible role(s): Molly Weasley orrrr the voice of Hokey, a house elf who is framed for the death of Hepzibah Smith.

    10. James McAvoy

    Matt Winkelmeyer / Via Getty Images

    James has come a long way since Shameless, in fact he's pretty much Hollywood royalty by now! Can't you see him as some dashing heroic figure in the Harry Potter films? The makers of His Dark Materials certainly could, they straight snapped him up to play Lord Asriel!

    Where you know him from: The Last King of Scotland, Atonement, the X-Men films.

    Possible role(s): Charlie Weasley, the second eldest son of Arthur and Molly and a dragon expert living in Romania orrrr James Potter.

    11. Kathy Burke

    Ian Gavan / Via Getty Images

    Kathy is a seriously underrated actor who has mostly worked in British films and television, but that makes her kind of perfect for these movies! She's good friends with Sirius Black actor Gary Oldman, as well as Jennifer Saunders and Joanna Lumley. I would've loved to see Kathy's brilliant sense of humour in Harry Potter.

    Where you know her from: Kevin & Perry Go Large, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, Absolutely Fabulous.

    Possible role(s): Bathilda Bagshot, the celebrated magical historian and great-aunt to Gellert Grindelwald.

    12. Daniel Kaluuya

    Tim P. Whitby / Via Getty Images

    Another Skins alum, Daniel played the part of Posh Kenneth in the Channel 4 series and certainly made an impression! He's been in a ton of movies since, and I have to say, I think Warner Bros. seriously missed out on not adding the Harry Potter movies to Daniel's filmography!

    Where you know him from: Get Out, Queen & Slim, Black Panther.

    Possible role(s): An upgraded Viktor Krum – sorry.

    13. Stephen Fry

    Jack Taylor / Via Getty Images

    To say Stephen is a British national treasure is an understatement. He's also a fabulous comedian, talented actor, and a gay icon. A lot of fans shipped Stephen as Hagrid, down to his height and loveable demeanour. Perhaps they had a point?

    Where you know him from: A Bit of Fry & Laurie, Gosford Park, V for Vendetta.

    Possible role(s): Rubeus Hagrid.

    14. Kate Winslet

    John Phillips / Via Getty Images

    We all know who Kate is, but somehow she missed the boat (get it?) on starring in the Harry Potter movies. Both a fabulous actor and a stunning beauty, I feel like she could've really filled a hole in this franchise!

    Where you know her from: Titanic, The Reader, the Divergent film series.

    Possible role(s): I want to say Lily Potter... can you imagine?!

    15. Tim Curry

    Kevin Winter / Via Getty Images

    Tim is legend of screen known for his iconic English voice and captivating comedic presence. If he were somehow in these movies, I'm sure it would improve them tenfold. I have just the role for him...

    Where you know him from: The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Annie, It.

    Possible role(s): Peeves, a poltergeist who loves to prank the inhabitants of Hogwarts.

    16. Richard Ayoade

    Jonathan Leibson / Via Getty Images

    If you're not a Brit, you may not instantly recognise Richard, but he's a super talented actor, and the architect of such brilliant indie films as Submarine and The Double. Not only is he super funny, he's also smart and pretty easy on the eyes too! Is there room for Richard in the Harry Potter movies? It has to be a resounding YES!

    Where you know him from: The Mighty Boosh, The IT Crowd, The Watch.

    Possible role(s): The muggle Prime Minister orrrr the voice of the sphinx that Harry encounters in the maze during the final trial of the Triwizard Tournament.

    17. Anthony Hopkins

    Rich Polk / Via Getty Images

    Distinguished Welsh actor Anthony Hopkins is one of those people who can play anyone, but he really comes alive when he takes on those creepy English roles. Can you imagine him in the Harry Potter films as an evil villain, or perhaps just a tortured and misunderstood wrongdoer? He'd be a standout, for sure!

    Where you know him from: The Silence of the Lambs, Hitchcock, The Two Popes.

    Possible role(s): Marvolo Gaunt, Voldemort's pure-blood obsessed grandfather who scorns his daughter's infatuation with a muggle.

    18. Rupert Everett

    Tobias Schwarz / Via Getty Images

    Rupert has racked up many roles as the "handsome Englishman", but in reality he's that and wayyy more (two words –Camilla Fritton). He could play any number of people from the book series, and I'm confident he'd do it with aplomb!

    Where you know him from: Shrek 2, The Importance of Being Earnest, Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children.

    Possible role(s): Rodolphus Lestrange, Bellatrix's husband and another fanatical supporter of you-know-who.

    19. Celia Imrie

    Anthony Harvey / Via Getty Images

    Not only does Celia have the poshest voice you've ever heard, she's also an outstanding comedy actor. That she didn't make it into these films as even a cameo is a crime on par with "Luneville" not happening. Plus, Celia worked with Julie Walters for years – their natural chemistry would've really sparkled in any scenes they shared!

    Where you know her from: Calendar Girls, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, Nanny McPhee.

    Possible role(s): Hokey orrrr Alice Longbottom, Neville's mother, an auror, and a member of the Order of the Phoenix who is tortured so badly she's permanently moved to St Mungo's Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries.

    20. Naomie Harris

    Carmen Mandato / Via Getty Images

    Naomie steals every scene she's in, and I can't believe no one thought to call her people for these movies! She's a terrific actor who can inhabit a character like no other. I can just imagine her adding a little flavour to The Ministry scenes!

    Where you know her from: 28 Days Later, Moonlight, the Pirates of the Caribbean films.

    Possible role(s): The voice of Winky, a loveable house elf who serves the Crouch family, orrrr a better Rosmerta, the landlady of the Three Broomsticks Inn – she's supposed to be drop dead gorgeous after all!

    21. Ben Kingsley

    Sean Gallup / Via Getty Images

    Ben Kinglsey is an internationally renowned actor and I think his gravitas would definitely elevate the Harry Potter movies no end! I would've loved to have seen Ben be a part of this franchise, maybe as a Hogwarts professor?

    Where you know him from: Gandhi, Shutter Island, Schindler's List.

    Possible role(s): Phineas Nigellus Black, a curmudgeonly Hogwarts former headmaster and grandfather to Sirius.

    22. Michael Sheen

    Michael Buckner / Via Getty Images

    Not to reduce Michael's enormous acting talent to just one role, but have you seen him in the Twilight saga? His very underrated performance as Aro, the leader of the Volturi, makes me think he would nail a similar role in Harry Potter. Or any role for that matter!

    Where you know him from: Underworld film series, The Queen, Masters of Sex.

    Possible role(s): Regulus Black, Sirius's brother and a former Death Eater, who turns on Voldemort after he endangers his house-elf, Kreacher.

    23. Alan Cumming

    John Lamparski / Via Getty Images

    Legendary pansexual icon and Scottish–American actor, Alan, belongs in this franchise! I could see him in a Filch-like role, or even as a wise retired professor Harry goes to advice for, or maybe even an auror! I want some Alan Cumming energy in the Harry Potter films and I won't apologise for it.

    Where you know him from: Spice World, The Good Wife, the Spy Kids trilogy.

    Possible role(s): Frank Longbottom – Alice's huband, Neville's dad, and a fellow auror who also lives permanently in St Mungo's. Orrrr Morfin Gaunt, Voldemort's wicked uncle who is also a parseltongue.

    24. Christopher Lee

    Patrick Riviere / Via Getty Images

    It's a crying shame that legendary English actor Christopher never made it into the Harry Potter films. His voice alone would've been enough! Let's face it, we know he can play a wizard. Imagine how great it would've been if he'd popped up in this franchise too.

    Where you know him from: The Man with the Golden Gun, The Wicker Man, the Lord of the Rings film trilogy.

    Possible role(s): Professor Cuthbert Binns, a ghost professor at Hogwarts who reveals legend of the chamber of secrets in the books.

    What are your thoughts? Are there any British actors I missed out? Should I leave well enough alone? Comment below!


    Saoirse Ronan was previously included in this list but has been removed due to the fact that she is Irish-American, and not British.