Harry Potter has been one of the most successful novel/film franchises in history and it single handedly turned its author J.K. Rowling into a billionaire. After 7 successful novels and 8 films of similar success, Harry Potter has left a huge mark in the media world, creating one of the largest fandoms to ever walk the earth. Here are 10 untold facts about Harry Potter.
1. Tom Felton didn’t read any of the Harry Potter books before auditioning for his role.
At the end of his audition for the role of Malfoy, Tom Felton was asked what his favorite part of the book was. He responded by saying his favorite part was the part at Gringrotts, which is what the previous actor just said. The director picked up on it and thought it was very funny.(source)
2. Michael Jackson wanted to do a Harry Potter musical but J.K. Rowling declined the offer.
In an interview with Oprah Winfrey, J.K. Rowling revealed that Michael Jackson desired to make a Harry Potter musical. She went on to say that she said ‘no to a lot of things’ and she never went on with the project because she was unsure how good it would be in the end.(source)
3. Steven Spielberg had the opportunity to direct the Harry Potter movies and declined the offer due to the lack of challenge.
At first Steven Spielberg negotiated to direct Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone making it an animated film with Haley Joel Osment to play the voice of Harry Potter. He later declined the offer contending that filming would be like, “shooting ducks in a barrel. It’s just a slam dunk. It’s just like withdrawing a billion dollars and putting it into your personal bank accounts. There’s no challenge.”
After Spielberg’s departure talks began with other directors such as: Chris Columbus, Terry Gilliam, Jonathan Demme, Mike Newell, Alan Parker, Wolfgang Petersen, Rob Reiner, Tim Robbins, Brad Silberling, and Peter Weir. On March 28th 2000 Chris Columbus was appointed as the director of the film.(source)
4. The Actor who played Crabbe in Harry Potter was imprisoned for 2 years due to his involvement in the England Riots in 2011.
James Waylett was arrested on October 14th 2011 for his alleged involvement in the 2011 England riots. He was charged with “violent disorder” with “intent to destroy or damage property, and receiving stolen goods”. He was accused of possessing a Molotov cocktail while looting a chemist in Chalk Farm, London. He was also charged with growing cannabis after police searched his home. On March 20th 2012 he was sentenced to two years in prison for his part in the riots.(source)
5. Harry Potter is the most banned book of the 21st century so far.
According to the American Library Association, Harry Potter is currently the most banned book of our time. The books have been the subject of countless legal proceedings from American Christian groups that claim the magic in the books promote Wicca and witchcraft among adolescents.
Protestants, Catholics, and Orthodox Christians along with Shia and Sunni Muslims have claimed that the books contain occult or Satanic subtexts. This has resulted in calls for the booked to be banned in schools on the grounds that witchcraft is a government-recognized religion and that violates the separation of church and state.(1,2,3)