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Dream Casting The Harry Potter Reboot On Max - Looper Staff Picks

The powers that be have spoken: We're getting a "Harry Potter" reboot whether we like it or not.

In April, it was announced that the "Harry Potter" books will be turned into a decades-long series on the service that shall henceforth be known as Max. As soon as the news broke, "Potter" fans had a lot of questions, but one looms large: Who could possibly take over the roles made iconic in the film franchise?

First things first: The actors portraying the young students at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, who enroll when they're just 11 years old, will very likely be newcomers to the industry just like Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, and Emma Watson were in the movies. Additionally, those casting choices are basically impossible to predict without any sort of definitive timeline on when casting or filming will begin.

For that reason, the Looper staff is focusing on recasting the adult roles in "Harry Potter," which, in the movie series, included a murderers' row of incredible British legends. Can anyone possibly take over for the late Alan Rickman? Which late-night host should portray Peter Pettigrew? The Looper staff is here to answer all these questions and more.

Nick Staniforth - Jude Law is the obvious choice to play Dumbledore

When it comes to casting Albus Dumbledore, it's a no-brainer. Is it an easy choice? Certainly. Is it the right one? Probably not. But if Warner Bros. is going to milk the Galleons out of this Floo powder-powered cash cow, the studio might as well call in a favor and have Jude Law reprise his role as the greatest (and best-dressed) wizard who ever lived.

Cast your minds back, dear Muggle readers. Remember Twitter trying to break down how much Dumbledore had been beaten with Father Time's wand to go from a super suave headmaster whom all the students crushed on to a man whose beard is probably more cobweb than facial hair? This is how we get our answer. And since the show is aiming to span 10 whole years, we might see it happen in front of our very eyes.

Also, if we're lucky, such a route might be replicated elsewhere over at Disney. Ewan McGregor could be called back to play Obi-Wan Kenobi when "Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope" inevitably gets made, Twitter gets burned to the ground, and originality as we know it ceases to be and is instead a word condemned by our A.I. overlords.

Mike Bedard - Only Nick Frost could carry on Hagrid's legacy

Robbie Coltrane pretty much played a pitch-perfect Hagrid in all eight "Harry Potter" movies. Following his death in 2022, anyone taking on the role has some mighty big shoes to fill (no pun intended). But while Coltrane embodied the type of father figure Harry likely would've always wanted, perhaps the TV series should take the character in a slightly more comedic direction.

Nick Frost is mostly known for Edgar Wright collaborations such as "Shaun of the Dead," "Hot Fuzz," and "The World's End," but he has a deep bench of roles that'd make him perfect for Hagrid. With some prosthetics and good, old-fashioned camera trickery, he could easily come across as the gentle half-giant. He also has expert comedic timing, and Hagrid definitely has some amusing moments, like when he constantly tells Harry and his friends secrets about Hogwarts that he shouldn't be telling them, resulting in the straightforward "shouldn't have said that."

Casting Nick Frost would also add another layer of comfort for viewers. After all, Hagrid is the one who personally delivers the Hogwarts acceptance letter to Harry since his relatives keep throwing them away. If you're about to go on a magical journey, wouldn't you want Nick Frost's warm smile there to guide you along the way?

Melissa Lemieux - Tom Sturridge would make a fine Snape

A dozen actors danced through my head when I initially thought of who should take on the dour, tortured angst of Severus Snape for the "Harry Potter" reboot series. Adam Driver? Maybe a dark horse, like Michael Keaton.

And then it hit me. Although Tom Sturridge is perhaps a little too old for the role of Severus Snape, the Potions Master at Hogwarts who makes Harry Potter's life difficult for a very pointed, very important reason (after all, Snape is half a dozen years younger than Sturridge during the events of the first book), the actor has the talent and the gloomy gravitas to play an immortal being whose agelessness is a big part of why "The Sandman" is so successful; six years is no big deal when you've been an Endless.

Sturridge would also know how to ground his performance in realistic emotions, which any good Snape will definitely need to do. Snape's heartbreak is what drives his cruelty, and brooding heartbreak is definitely something Sturridge can reproduce in spades.

Finding someone who'll be able to stand tall in Alan Rickman's shoes is another problem. Not many actors would be able to endure such a high amount of pressure, but Sturridge's performance on "The Sandman" proves that he has the gothic gravitas that would turn him into one fine Snape. Sturridge has just the right spark to bring Snape to life, and Warner Bros. could do worse than making him a part of its new Wizarding World project.

Kieran Fisher - Bill Skarsgard is terrifying enough to play Voldemort

Anyone who's seen "It" and "Hemlock Grove" will confirm that Bill Skarsgård is a naughty boy. He's mastered the art of playing villains and creeps, and there aren't many actors out there who are better at making viewers feel uncomfortable. The sinister Swede even exudes menace in projects in which he plays a decent guy, as evidenced by his performance in "Barbarian." So really, there's no better performer than Skarsgård to inherit the role of Voldemort in the upcoming series.

Voldemort is the embodiment of pure evil. He's a soulless vessel with serpent-like features and a propensity for chaos. Cover Skarsgård in white makeup and dress him up in black robes and he'll radiate Voldemort energy for days. Furthermore, Voldemort occasionally laughs when he torments people, similar to Pennywise in the "It" movies. Skarsgård plays that pesky child-murdering clown with glee and aplomb, so why not cast him as another villain with a reputation for picking on kids?

Some "Harry Potter" aficionados have even already imagined Skarsgård as the late 20th-century wizarding antagonist. A quick Google search reveals that he's been dream cast as Tom Riddle on various forums and fansites, so there's clearly an appetite for Skarsgård to join this franchise as the Big Bad. Granted, the actor is a grown adult these days, so he might not get to play Voldemort during his Hogwarts years, but then again, Skarsgård still looks young enough to pass as a teenager, so why not? Plus, this show will undoubtedly have a mega budget that will cover the costs of some sophisticated digital de-aging technology.

Otherwise, just recast Ralph Fiennes as Voldemort, assuming that he'd be up for reprising the role that turned him into the face of many people's nightmares all those years ago.

Russell Murray - Richard Armitage would bring gravitas to Sirius Black

The favorite character of many longtime "Harry Potter" fans, Sirius Black, originally played by Gary Oldman, will be very difficult to cast. Sirius is an old friend of Harry's father who is falsely accused of being a murderer and servant of Lord Voldemort and is most likely best remembered for being able to transform into a dog. He escapes imprisonment in the third entry, "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban," and becomes a surrogate father figure to the Boy Who Lived until his tragic exit in "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix."

While Oldman nailed the character and left a lasting impact on audiences, a new actor could provide a more comprehensive dramatic portrait. Richard Armitage, known for playing Thorin Oakenshield in the "Hobbit" trilogy, would be able to bring his usual gravitas to the role, as well as the fatherly kindness Oldman delivered in spades. However, he would also be able to play into Sirius' dangerous side more effectively since the actor carries a darker presence and boasts a deeper voice than Oldman.

The most crucial aspect of embodying Sirius is arguably the constant burying of his quiet, reserved sadness. Sirius has lived a relentlessly unfair life yet still manages to persevere. This is a quality I saw in Armitage's turn as Astrov in a production of "Uncle Vanya" back in 2020. His take on the brooding, hopeless doctor never felt lost in the overwhelming misery of the text. If Armitage can find the light in Chekhov, he can surely do so in "Harry Potter."

Cameron Roy Hall - Andrew Garfield would wreak havoc on our emotions as Remus Lupin

Picking a good Remus Lupin is super easy because anyone who's ever done time in the "Harry Potter" fandom knows how desperately the community wants a prequel series about the Marauders. In fact, the demand for a series about James, Sirius, Remus, and Peter committing magical misdemeanors is so powerful that the fan base cast the entire thing years ago.

And credit where credit is due, they picked a perfect Lupin. The only trouble is that he's way too old to portray a teenage werewolf now ... but he isn't too old to portray an adult Lupin. If Warner Bros. wants to earn some social currency with its admittedly understandably polarized audience, the studio has to cast Andrew Garfield as Professor R.J. Lupin in the remake.

Lupin is a kind man and an attentive teacher. He's not explicitly charming per se, but he's definitely disarming in a gentle, awkward, inoffensive sort of way. He's also a grade A bedraggled sad boy, meaning that whoever plays him needs to balance his heart with his guilt, all while being the most huggable person in the room. If you don't think that describes everything Garfield has ever done, you're lying to yourself.

Garfield would wreak havoc on our emotions while sifting through Lupin's demented origin story, and we would thank him for it. And the smile he would make to show Lupin fondly remembering James and Lily and his happiest years at school? The TikTok thirst edits practically film themselves, people.

Nina Starner - Domhnall Gleeson and Rachel McAdams should reunite as Arthur and Molly Weasley

I know I'm breaking a cardinal rule of the film franchise here, which is that all the actors had to be British. I'm largely sticking to it, to be fair. But also, J.K. Rowling isn't here to tell me what to do right now, which is why I want Canadian actor Rachel McAdams to join the Wizarding World franchise to play Molly Weasley alongside Domhnall Gleeson as her husband, Arthur.

This is also tricky because Gleeson appeared in the "Harry Potter" movies, albeit briefly, as Bill Weasley, Arthur and Molly's oldest son. But we're doing this again already, so it doesn't seem like there are any rules at play here. Plus, if we're including a non-Brit in this equation, we might as well bring Gleeson and McAdams back together.

For the uninitiated, McAdams and Gleeson paired up in 2013's "About Time," and their chemistry as central couple Tim and Mary is nothing short of perfect. McAdams has a totally nurturing side to her, and Gleeson is endearing as hell — they'd be incredible as Molly and Arthur.

Nina Starner - Rachel Weisz should play McGonagall

Look, Dame Maggie Smith as Minerva McGonagall, Hogwarts' intimidating Transfiguration professor and head of Gryffindor House, is nothing short of iconic. Smith just gets it, and it's really hard to imagine anyone else taking over this role — but a new series is coming, so someone will. Smith isn't exactly the picture of youth these days, so I think we can probably let her occasionally do a "Downton Abbey" and leave her alone instead of signing her up for a decade-long project.

So we're looking for someone stern, intelligent, and a little scary. I'd like to humbly submit Rachel Weisz for consideration. I mean, have you seen "The Favourite?" She's got huge McGonagall energy in that movie if we're being honest. Weisz is terrifying in a totally fascinating way, and I'd love to watch her repeatedly offer cough drops to the person who eventually plays Umbridge, reprimand Harry and Ron for slacking off in class, or cast a spell to make the stone knights of Hogwarts fight Voldemort's forces. Weisz is a highly sought-after actor with accolades for days, but if Warner Bros. could get her to sign on to this project, she'd be pretty perfect.

Also, for some reason, it just feels right that, as McGonagall, Weisz would occasionally transform into a judgmental tabby cat.

Nick Staniforth - Olivia Colman would be the best choice for Dolores Umbridge

We must not tell lies: The thought of anyone even trying to match Imelda Staunton's pink-tinted tyrant from "Order of the Phoenix" seems impossible. Of course, the same could be argued for all the O.G. "Harry Potter" roles we're dream casting (hey, it's not like we want them replaced).

That being said, a name springs to mind that could capture the painfully cruel Dolores Umbridge when the time comes ... that of an Oscar-winning star who has shared a character with Staunton in recent years. Come on now, children. You don't need to have passed your O.W.L.s to know that Olivia Colman would be the best choice to take Umbridge from Staunton when the time is right.

With Colman having played Queen Elizabeth before Staunton took over the role on Netflix's "The Crown," it would almost be an ironic and ideal fit for her to step in to play the brief-standing headmistress of Hogwarts in place of Dumbledore. Just imagine Colman in a cotton candy-colored getup throwing a pristine smile to whichever lucky youngster gets to play Harry Potter. Mix that with the enraged elements she displayed in "The Favourite," and Colman could be the Umbridge we never knew we wanted or hated.

Cameron Roy Hall - Hugh Laurie's ability to depict physical pain makes him an ideal pick for Mad-Eye Moody

Among wizard cops, Alastor Moody is something of a legend. In his heyday, he single-handedly imprisoned a ridiculous number of wizard Nazis. But a legend isn't built without trauma ... and Moody's trauma extends well beyond his many physical wounds. The guy suffers from a streak of paranoia that runs so deep that he acquired a bespoke, all-seeing glass eye to replace his missing one, an act that earned him the wildly condescending nickname Mad-Eye.

The retired Auror should be portrayed in the reboot by someone who can nail his obsessive mania, curmudgeonly demeanor, and unwavering moral compass. If it so pleases the court, we recommend Hugh Laurie. While he isn't as socially prevalent as he once was, the British actor spent the better part of the 2000s pretending to be America's douchiest doctor, Gregory House.

Laurie's ability to depict physical pain alone makes him an ideal pick for Mad-Eye, but it's his unparalleled talent for seamlessly transitioning between dry wit and bombastic aggression that makes him the only pick. If you're not convinced yet, imagine House bellowing "CONSTANT VIGILANCE" every few minutes. You'll board the Laurie train pretty fast after that.

It's also worth mentioning that Laurie would make Moody's awkward and often demented attempts at empathy shine. The idea is so genuinely delightful that it's almost enough to make the reboot worth it.

Kieran Fisher - James Corden's annoying qualities are perfect for Peter Pettigrew

Peter Pettigrew is the slimiest character in the entire "Harry Potter" saga. An actual rodent who lacks any redeemable qualities. The Dark Lord's nastiest servant. With that in mind, he should be played by an actor who makes viewers want to hurl their televisions out of windows because they feel possessed by a demonic rage that knows no bounds. Enter James Corden, the one actor who seems to have angered everyone on both sides of the Atlantic.

Corden's reputation has been dragged through the mud in recent years, and he's to blame for that. He stole jokes from Ricky Gervais. He has been banned from more than one restaurant for being a nincompoop. He has a reputation for being rude and generally insists upon himself. Naysayers believe that his rise to fame has made him forget about things like common decency — just like Pettigrew when he sold out his friends to Voldemort and got them killed. Of course, it's unfair to compare Corden's rudeness to a shape-shifting wizard being in cahoots with the Dark Lord, but he's still believably villainous. That's why he's the best choice to play Pettigrew.

Obnoxious elements aside, though, Corden is actually a decent actor who's produced some solid work in the past. "Gavin & Stacey" and "The History Boys" are wonderful, and "Peter Rabbit" is good fun. He's more than capable of delivering a serviceable performance, whether people want to admit it or not. His insufferable qualities will just make Pettigrew loathsome, and that's a good thing for a "Harry Potter" TV series that will crave emotional responses from viewers.

Plus, let's face it: Warner Bros. execs clearly love Corden — if they didn't, he wouldn't have hosted "Friends: The Reunion" given he had zero involvement with the '90s sitcom. So don't be surprised if the corporate bigwigs want him to join the Wizarding World as well.

Russell Murray - Matt Berry would make Lockhart's deception all the more unsettling

Kenneth Branagh's performance in "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets" is one of the series' most memorable and enduringly enjoyable. A narcissistic, charismatic wizard with a secretly nasty history of fraudulent adventures and a nigh-sociopathic penchant for erasing memories, Gilderoy Lockhart is the second Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher Harry and his friends study under during their time at Hogwarts.

The dual challenge Max faces here is finding an actor who can portray someone so obviously horrible in a charming way while standing apart from Branagh's definitive turn. In my eyes, the man for the job is unequivocally Matt Berry, whose résumé is filled to the brim with self-important egotists who delude themselves (and occasionally others) into thinking they're more special than they actually are.

Though his performances on "The IT Crowd" and "Toast of London" are spectacular showcases of his Lockhartian mannerisms, Berry came to my mind for his role on "Garth Marenghi's Darkplace," a short-lived parody of a medical horror drama that features commentary from the "original cast." Berry essentially played two characters: the suave Dr. Lucien Sanchez and the actor who portrayed him, Todd Rivers.

As Berry bounces between accomplished surgeon and tired actor, he paints a surprising picture of what his Lockhart could be. In one moment, he's capable of monologuing about supernatural nonsense in the most confusing yet convincing way possible, and in the next, he's grounded in a startling sort of serious naturalism that makes the heightened facade feel all the more inhuman. Taken out of the context of the show-within-the-show, such a dichotomy would make Lockhart's deception all the more unsettling.

Mike Bedard - Tilda Swinton could play a spacey Trelawney

In "Prisoner of Azkaban," Harry and his friends begin taking Divination, taught by the not-quite-all-there Professor Trelawney, who actually knows a bit more about the future than most would believe. There's always something a bit off about her, and she can be quite funny in her fanaticism when predicting the future. On the other hand, the character is also associated with tragedy, being infamously fired from her position in "Order of the Phoenix."

Enter Tilda Swinton, who has made a career of playing oddball characters and has ample experience with both comedic and dramatic roles. This is an actor who could move between both variations of the character well. Although Swinton fundamentally disagrees with the idea of boarding schools, the wheelbarrow full of money Max will inevitably offer to seasoned actors to take on the adult "Harry Potter" roles may change her tune. Plus, playing Trelawney wouldn't take up too much of Swinton's time, leaving her schedule open for the litany of movie roles she inevitably has in the pipeline.

Nina Starner - Tom Hardy and Rosamund Pike should be Lucius and Narcissa Malfoy

Narcissa and Lucius Malfoy might seem like minor characters, but that's partly because the late Helen McCrory and Jason Isaacs, who played them in the movies, didn't get a whole lot to do. The wealthy pure-blood couple shows up significantly more in the books; Narcissa even gets a fantastic spotlight with her sister Bellatrix that sets up some huge plot points in the sixth installment, "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince." That's why I want Tom Hardy and Rosamund Pike to take on Lucius and Narcissa.

Pike rules. I won't accept any arguments against her. She's particularly good at playing icy types like Amy Dunne in "Gone Girl" or that lady who keeps committing elder abuse and fraud in "I Care a Lot," and it's impossible to look away from her when she's on-screen. Hardy also rules. He can be darkly funny and intimidating all at once, and he'd probably chew the entire series' scenery as Lucius, a vain, rich, and powerful man who likes to whack people with a silver snake-handled cane. Get Hardy and Pike into some Targaryen-style wigs and get them on board, please — they'd be perfect as Draco's parents.

Kieran Fisher - Let Thandiwe Newton cut loose as Bellatrix Lestrange

The "Harry Potter" franchise is quintessentially British at heart, so it'd be a crime for the upcoming show not to offer a prominent role to one of the nation's greatest exports: Thandiwe Newton, one of the best actors to ever come out of the United Kingdom.

Not only that, but Newton is a household name who excels in villainous roles. Whether she's playing an evil Host on "Westworld" or a corrupt detective on "Line of Duty," she's shown that she can steal the show as a baddie whenever the opportunity presents itself. That said, most of her villainous characters thus far have had sympathetic qualities, so it'd be nice to see her cut loose in a more gleefully unhinged role.

Bellatrix Lestrange is the most delightfully evil of all the Death Eaters in the "Harry Potter" saga, and Helena Bonham Carter's performance in the movies is hard to beat. However, Newton has the charisma, screen presence, and talent to bring Lestrange back to the screen in a manner that's just as compelling as Bonham Carter's iteration of the character.

Furthermore, Newton already has a relationship with Warner Bros. Television thanks to her time on HBO's "Westworld," where she showed that she's more than capable of delivering top-notch work in some of the entertainment conglomerate's most divisive series. The "Harry Potter" reboot is already rubbing some fans the wrong way, so casting a reliable hand like Newton to play a standout character is a good way to calm some of those nerves.