21 wild facts about the first Harry Potter movie we bet you didn't know
11 November 2021, 15:48
Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone almost had a completely different lead actor.
Listen to this article
Potterheads assemble. It's time to find out if you know Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone as well as you think you do.
It's hard to believe it but the movie adaptation of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone came out exactly 20 years ago. In 2001, the whole world was introduced to Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson and the rest of the iconic cast, as they brought Harry, Ron, Hermione and all of the first book's beloved characters to life. The film was an instant success.
How well do you actually know the first Harry Potter movie though? Here are 20 wild facts about it that we bet you didn't know.
1) The movies were almost animated instead of live-action.
At first, Warner Brothers were keen to adapt Harry Potter into a series of animated films. They even considered combining multiple books into one movie. Their reasoning was allegedly to do with concerns that the child actors would age quicker than their characters. However, the studio decided against the idea and we got eight live-action movies instead.
2) Daniel Radcliffe was supposed to wear green contacts in the film.
In original scenes for the film, Daniel wore green contacts to match Harry's description in the novel. However, his eyes reacted so badly to them that they decided to film the movie without them.
3) Emma Watson was supposed to wear fake buck teeth in the film.
Similar to Daniel, Emma was given fake buck teeth to match Hermione's description in the novel. However, she struggled to talk with them and the idea was scrapped.
4) The scene at Platform 9 3/4 wasn't actually filmed in between Platforms 9 and 10.
They did film the Platform 9 3/4 scene at King's Cross. However, the scene was filmed in between platforms 4 and 5 due to the setting being more cinematic. The exterior shot they used for King's Cross Station is also actually St. Pancras Station.
5) Rosie O'Donnell and Robin Williams asked for a role in the movie without pay.
Rosie O'Donnell wanted to play Molly Weasley and Robin Williams wanted to play Hagrid. However, they were both declined from starring in the movie because the producers reportedly requested that the film should star a British and Irish only cast.
6) Tim Roth was originally cast as Snape.
Tim Roth, who is best known for his performances in films like Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction and Rob Roy, was originally cast as Severus Snape but he decided to turn it down and the role ended up going to Alan Rickman.
When asked about it in a Reddit AMA in 2017, Tim said: "Alan took it and ran with it and that was that. It was very different from what I was planning to do with the character, and that's OK. Do I regret it? I don't know if I ever think about things that way. If I had done it, everything would have changed. That's the nature of the randomness of life. It would have been nice to have a 7 year gig, that's a nice and comforting space to be in. But no, I think the better man for the job did the job."
7) Richard Harris didn't want to play Dumbledore at first.
Before he died, Richard Harris revealed that he only took on the role because his 11-year-old granddaughter threatened never to speak to him again if he didn't.
8) Tom Felton didn't read any of the books before auditioning.
At the audition, director Chris Columbus asked auditionees what their favourite part of the book was and Tom just copied the boy who was asked before him.
9) Liam Aiken was originally given the role of Harry.
Liam Aiken, who later went on to play Klaus in Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events, was cast as Harry at first. However, when Warner Bros. Pictures found out that he wasn't British, they revoked their offer to give him the role.
10) Emma Watson had her first crush on Tom Felton.
Speaking to Seventeen Magazine in 2011, Emma said: "For the first two movies, I had a huge crush on Tom Felton. He was my first crush. He totally knows. We talked about it – we still laugh about it. We are really good friends now, and that's cool."
11) Tom Felton originally auditioned for Harry and Ron.
It was only after failing to make it as both Harry and Ron that Tom went up for the part of Draco and got it.
12) Over 5,000 boys auditioned in person for the role of Harry.
Chris Columbus was so impressed by Daniel Radcliffe in David Copperfield (1999) that he asked the casting director if they could cast him. This idea was shut down because Daniel's parents wanted him to focus on school instead of acting. However, after seeing over 5,000 boys who weren't right for the role, Warner Bros. asked Daniel's parents if they could cast him and they eventually came to an agreement.
13) Three owls play Hedwig.
Three owls called Gizmo, Ook, and Sprout appear as Hedwig in the movie. Gizmo is the owl we see most often.
14) Bonnie Wright was never meant to say the words "good luck" to Harry at Kings Cross.
Bonnie improvised Ginny's line and Chris Columbus chose to keep it in.
15) Bruce Springsteen recorded an original song for the movie that was cut.
Bruce Springsteen wrote and recorded an original song titled 'I'll Stand By You' to accompany the movie. However, it was ultimately decided that it didn't match the mood of the film. Bruce officially released the song in 2019 as part of the soundtrack of the film Blinded By the Light.
16) David Thewlis auditioned for the role of Professor Quirrell.
David Thewlis is best known for playing Professor Lupin in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban but he was actually one of the final actors in the running to play Professor Quirrell in the first film.
17) The child actors did their actual homework during class scenes.
To make the classroom scenes more believable, the child actors brought their real-life school homework to set to do while being filmed.
18) Drew Barrymore almost had a cameo.
Drew was such a self-proclaimed Harry Potter fan that she had a cameo in the original draft of the film. However, it was later cut.
19) Several Dancing with the Stars pros have cameos in the film.
Mark Ballas, Derek Hough and Julianne Hough all make uncredited cameos as Hogwarts students in the movie.
20) Steven Spielberg almost directed the movie.
Steven Spielberg was originally signed on to direct. However, he wanted the movie to be animated with Haley Joel Osment voicing the role of Harry and producers wouldn't agree to it.
21) Harry doesn't intentionally cast a single spell in the movie.
Even though Hermione calls Harry a "great wizard" in the film, he never actually casts a spell in it on purpose. For example, when he makes the glass at the zoo disappear, it's an accident. It's only in the following films, when Harry has been educated as a wizard at Hogwarts, that he gains true control of his powers and casts spells intentionally.
This week on the ‘Coming Out Chats’ podcast, Drag Race legends Peppermint and Jackie Cox talk about coming out in the age of AOL messenger, identifying as gender-expansive, finding your tribe and giving yourself permission to be who you really are. Listen on the player below.