Who will replace Richard Harris as Dumbledore?
How does a movie franchise replace an actor its producer calls ”irreplaceable?” That was the word ”Harry Potter” producer David Heyman used to describe Richard Harris in an interview with Britain’s ITV News on Saturday, a day after Harris’ death at 72 from complications of Hodgkin’s disease. Harris had played Hogwarts headmaster Albus Dumbledore in last year’s ”Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” and the upcoming ”Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets,” due in theaters Nov. 15. He had hoped to play the 2,000-year-old wizard again in the third movie, ”Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban,” shooting early next year, as well as the four sequels beyond that. Now, producers have to think about another actor to wear Dumbledore’s whiskers.
Just hours before Harris’ death, at a London press conference for ”Chamber of Secrets,” Chris Columbus, who directed the first two Potter pictures and will produce the third, said, ”It’s impossible to even think about [any other actor in the role]. For me, there is only one Dumbledore.” Alfonso Cuaron (”A Little Princess,” ”Y Tu Mama Tambien”), who will direct ”Azkaban,” has so far declined to comment on possible recasting choices for the role.
One possibility, according to England’s Sunday Mirror, is Harris’s body double for the role, Harry Robinson. He is the same age as Harris (72) and can mimic Harris’s voice as well, the Mirror reports. ”Producers have told Harry there’s a very strong chance of him getting the part,” a source on the set tells the paper. ”It would be my tribute to someone I was very fond of,” Robinson tells the Mirror.
No one in the ”Potter” camp has commented on the Mirror’s report. But one thing is certain, as Heyman told ITV on Saturday. ”We will find a new Dumbledore, but there will only be one Richard Harris.”