Tom Felton was almost cast as Harry Potter.
The 34-year-old actor is best known for playing Draco Malfoy in the wizarding saga but director Chris Columbus – who helmed the first two movies – revealed Warner Bros. bosses were keen to cast him in the lead role but he “knew” the young actor would be better as the villainous schoolboy.
Chris said: “Tom was a great actor as well, so we thought, let’s just dye Tom’s hair, give him a scar, give him the glasses and let’s see.
“He did a great Harry Potter reading. The problem is you can really kind of tell when an 11- or 12-year-old kid’s hair is dyed.
“He was so good at Malfoy. I just couldn’t pass that up. I knew Tom had to play Malfoy.”
Chris had been keen to cast Daniel Radcliffe as Harry from the moment he saw the then-11-year-old actor’s “complex and interesting” onscreen presence on TV.
He recalled to The Hollywood Reporter: “I was up late one night in London watching BBC, and there was a miniseries of David Copperfield. There was a young Dan Radcliffe in it, for about two or three scenes. But I thought, ‘That’s Harry Potter.’ ”
But after requesting a meeting, casting directors warned him to “forget about” Daniel.
They told Chris: “‘You’re never going to get him. His parents are in the industry. They have no desire for him to do this. Just forget about him.’”
But producer David Heyman travelled to meet Daniel’s family and spoke with them in the interval at the theatre.
Chris said: “In David’s usual charming way, he was able to convince them to come in for a meeting. That was sort of the end of it.”
And the deal was sealed when ‘Harry Potter’ author J.K. Rowling saw Daniel and hailed him as the “perfect” choice.
The director recalled: “Having a collaborator who supported my vision gave me a lot of confidence and was able to help me limit my anxiety and tension about making this film.
“So, when the studio heard that she loved him, and I loved him and David loved him, they said yes. Two days later, we made the announcement in London. The rest is history.”