See how the Harry Potter movies would look with the cast they were MEANT to have: Hugh Grant, Kate Winslet and more

There are lots of reasons actors turn down roles: not enough money, stupid script, no personalised M&Ms in the Winnebago. Sometimes it’s the right thing to do, and sometimes it means passing up one of the most successful movie franchises in the history of movies, of franchises and, indeed, of success itself.

Still, we’re sure these stars – all of whom were offered roles in the Harry Potter series – never had any regrets about saying no…

1. Hugh Grant – Gilderoy Lockhart

Kenneth Branagh owned the role of the five-time winner of Witch Weekly‘s Most Charming Smile Award. But just imagine what Hugh Grant would have done with the role, if scheduling conflicts hadn’t forced him to turn it down after initially accepting it? It’s practically written for him.

2. Kate Winslet – Helena Ravenclaw

It’s not the biggest of roles (which is probably why Kate’s agent turned it down without checking with her). The ghostly Helena essentially has only a couple of scenes, where she reveals to Harry the location of her mother’s diadem, which is one of the last Horcruxes. But still: Winslet! “Draw me like one of your French ghosts, Harry…”

3. Ray Winstone – Mad-Eye Moody

Who’s the daddy, you slaaaag? Personally, we think they got the right Mad-Eye in Brendan Gleeson, but you can’t deny Ray Winstone would have brought a hint of barely-contained violence to the role. “They earn fortunes from those films,” Winstone later said, “but for the time that is involved in making one, they don’t want to pay you. I’m sorry, but I make movies to get a living.”

4. Tim Roth – Severus Snape

“I wasn’t ready to be on a lunchbox,” says Tim Roth now of the role that would almost certainly have defined the latter half of his career, had he accepted it when it was offered. “But the right guy [i.e., the late Alan Rickman] got the role.”

Did they make Snape lunchboxes? Anyone know where we can get one?

5. Robin Williams – Hagrid

The producers wanted the not-noticeably-giant Robin, and he lobbied hard for it – but JK Rowling insisted that only British actors play the Hogwarts staff. No disrespect to Robin Williams at all, but she made the right call there, with Robbie Coltrane ultimately cast in the role.

6. Naomi Watts – Narcissa Malfoy

As with Kate Winslet, Naomi’s agent rejected the role of Draco Malfoy’s mean witch of a mother on her client’s behalf. Ironically Helen McCrory, who ended up playing her, had originally been due to play Narcissa’s sister Bellatrix (eventually played by Helena Bonham Carter) in Order of the Phoenix until pregnancy caused her to pull out.

7. Rosamund Pike – Rita Skeeter

Rosamund reportedly signed on for Goblet Of Fire, but backed out when she realised she’d have to return for Order of the Phoenix with much less screen time. Her loss was Miranda Richardson’s gain.

8. Tilda Swinton – Sybill Trelawney

Early reports indicated that Tilda was approached for the role, but scheduling conflicts got in the way. But even if they hadn’t, it’s unlikely she would have accepted the role: “I’m not a believer in Harry Potter,” she said later, “because I believe it fetishizes boarding school for children.” That right there is the most Tilda Swinton reason we’ve ever heard for turning a gig down.

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