Michael Gambon, who inherited the role of Hogwarts headmaster Albus Dumbledore from the late Richard Harris with the third Harry Potter film, has never read any of the J.K Rowling novels. “You’d get upset about all the scenes it’s missing from the book, wouldn’t you?” he tells the Los Angeles Times’ Hero Complex blog, noting that Alan Rickman (Snape) and Ralph Fiennes (Voldemort) have also chosen to rely on their scripts. “No point in reading the books because you’re playing with [screenwriter] Steve Kloves’ words.”
I can understand as actors them wanting to leave themselves a bit of wiggle room when the films are already so faithful to the books. And I have no complaints about their performances (yes, Gambon is a little…gruff compared to Harris, but his Dumbledore has been facing even darker days). Yet, a piece of me would like to know that they — and really, I just mean Gambon, who’s embodying the most beloved role after Harry — have turned every page and cried when I cried.
How do you feel about this? Does an actor have to have read the books for you to believe that his role means as much to him as it does to you? Or does the fact that he’s actually spent more hours walking in the characters’ shoes than it took for you to read all seven novels mean that he wins?
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Poll: Will you reread ‘Half-Blood Prince’ before seeing the film?