To say the Harry Potter series was successful would be an understatement. There have been over 500 million book copies sold throughout the world. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, the final installment, sold 8.3 million copies within 24 hours after release.
So, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the Harry Potter movies were one of the most sought-after acting gigs in the world. Creating the cast was tricky. Producers needed to pick actors that could match the beloved book characters. The franchise needed actors for a 10-year commitment!
So how did Daniel Radcliffe become The Boy Who Lived? Let’s explore what made him the perfect choice for Harry Potter and how the cast came together.
Who Was Auditioning for Harry Potter?
Over 300 kids auditioned for the role of Harry Potter, including some well-known names. The preliminary auditions spanned over seven months. Production knew the role of Harry Potter had to be given to the perfect candidate, so they were taking it seriously.
The role was very specific in its requirements, such as the actor being 13 and British. Some actors were ruled out based on physical features, like eye color.
After his performance as ‘Billy Elliot,’ Jamie Bell was considered. But the actor was ultimately declined since he was 14, not 13.
American actor Liam Aiken looked the part of Harry Potter and had even worked with director Christopher Columbus before. But he wasn’t British, so he was dismissed.
Why Was Daniel Radcliff the Chosen One?
It was never Daniel Radcliff’s idea to become Harry Potter. He was not even part of the original auditions. After weeks of trying to secure the most suitable lead for the franchise, producer Dan Heyman took a night off and went to see a show.
Sitting inside the theater behind Dan was a young Daniel Radcliffe. The boy had a small frame, shaggy brown hair, and beautiful blue eyes. As it often happens in life without us knowing, the stars have decided our fate in advance!
Radcliffe had acted in a few shows, including ‘David Copperfield.’ But Radcliffe was trying to quit acting. He had told his family he wasn’t interested in it anymore and wanted to pursue something new.
Dan Heyman reached out to Radcliffe’s father and persuaded him to take his son to one last audition. There were a few top choices for Harry Potter. Producers would gather their top five Potters and have them read lines with actors auditioning for Hermoine and Ron.
Christopher Columbus liked Radcliffe right away. After days of deliberation, producers agreed Radcliffe could portray both Harry’s vulnerable and courageous sides. Casting director Janet Hirshenson claims that during the cast’s first official table read, J.K. Rowling had a huge smile on her face, showing she was in full support of the appointed cast.
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Harry Potter and the magical world it created wouldn’t be the same without Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, and Rupert Grint. The group created the world’s most iconic friendship as they waved their wands on our screens for 10 years.
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