Harry Potter fans are pushing for what they believe is poetic justice: Having the son of the actor who portrayed Albus Dumbledore in the wizarding films from J.K. Rowling play the younger version of the master sorcerer in the planned sequels to Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.
Before you start scratching your head, wondering if Antiques Roadshow expert Fergus Gambon can actually act, we should tell you that fans aren’t talking about Michael Gambon’s Dumbledore of later films. Instead, they’re looking at the original actor, Richard Harris.
Harris, who died in 2002 after filming Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, left behind a celebrated (and Emmy-nominated) son: Jared Harris. And it’s that son of the Hogwarts headmaster fans want to play the younger Dumbledore.
And Harris has a secret: He’d like to play the wizard too. But if fans get too loud about it, he told the Evening Standard, Warner Bros. might go with someone else.
“They are obviously thinking about it. I haven’t heard anything, and I don’t expect to. It’s not up to me.”
And despite what fans might think about campaigns to get what they want for movies and television series, Harris says more often or not they backfire.
“Having seen (fan campaigns) before, I find that (film bosses) don’t like to have their hands forced. These campaigns almost always go in a different direction.”
One thing that might hurt Harris’ chances is that Harry Potter series director David Yates is attached to the Fantastic Beasts franchise. Yet, by the time Yates joined the series for Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix in 2007, the older Harris already has passed away, and Gambon was cast in the role.
Then again, even Yates understands the impact of not just the older Harris to film, but also the younger actor, who boasts an extensive resume including Mad Men (which earned him an Emmy nomination), Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows in 2011, and more recently as King George VI in the Netflix series The Crown.
Harris plays a small role in the new Robert Zemeckis film Allied, which opened with $13 million this past weekend. He’s also set to start filming The Terror for AMC from novelist Dan Simmons.
Harris still has some time to make his case to Yates. The only major confirmed cast for Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them 2 are Eddie Redmayne as Newt Scamander, Ezra Miller as Credence Barebone, Zoe Kravitz as Leta Lestrange, and Johnny Depp as Gellert Grindelwald.
Warner Bros. expects to have the latest Fantastic Beasts in theaters in 2018.
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