‘Tell Them to F*ck Right Off’: Alan Cumming Explains Why He Walked Away From ‘Harry Potter’

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Photo credit: Getty Images
Photo credit: Getty Images

If you're a Harry Potter fan and you happen to fall down a certain Google rabbit hole, you'll find an entire branch of literature dedicated to the actors who almost took up roles in the now-iconic film franchise. (Based on an equally well-known series of novels, of course.) Over the years, it's been reported that the series nearly also starred Kate Winslet, Ian McKellen, and even Robin Williams (as Hagrid, which would've been a trip.)

Another what if? Legendary British actor Alan Cumming, of recent The Good Wife fame, nearly played the Hogwarts professor Gilderoy Lockhart in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. Warner Bros. auditioned multiple actors for the role, including Rupert Everett and Kenneth Branagh (who eventually took the part), but until now, we didn't really know the full story of why Cumming didn't put on his fancy wizard robes. In a new interview with The Telegraph, the actor was, well, pretty damn candid about his side of the story.

"They wanted me and Rupert Everett to do a screen test, and they said they couldn't pay me more than a certain sum, they just didn't have any more money in the budget," Cumming said. "And I had the same agent as Rupert, who of course, they were going to pay more. Blatantly lying, stupidly lying, as well. Like, if you're going to lie, be clever about it."

Aside from the implication that we can rightfully assume that the Spy Kids franchise (which Cumming had a memorable villain role in) treated Cumming better than Harry Potter, it's a bummer that the actor never graced the wizarding world with his particular brand of hilarity, chaos, and charm. Plus, we can safely rule out Cumming appearing in any Harry Potter IP down the road. Just look at what he told the producers.

"I said, tell them to f*ck right off," he added. "And thought, well Rupert's going to get the part. They made him screen test, and I remember he brought his own wig. And then they f*cking gave it to Kenneth Branagh, came out of the shadows."

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