A decade after the Harry Potter series ended, discussions about it are still going strong. One of the most popular topics of heated debate is the question of which actors in the entire Harry Potter movie franchise gave the worst interpretation of the character from the books in the movies.
Many fans will argue that each actor had a different argument for “worst performance,” and while we partially agree, we still tried to compile the most fair and just list of the worst acting performances with a summary of both pros and cons.
Michael Gambon as Albus Dumbledore
Dumbledore was originally played by Richard Harris in the earliest two Harry Potter films until his death in 2002. From then on, Gambon took over for the following six. The biggest gripe against Gambon is how his character strayed away from the source material canon. In the books, Dumbledore was always calm and collected, never losing his composure. Gambon’s portrayal came off as too “angry” for some fans. One example is the scene in “Order of the Phoenix” in which he shouts, “Don’t you all have studying to do?” Maybe this was more on the screenplay than the acting, but still, it could have been played more calmly; Gambon could have simply raised a brow and said the line quietly, more like a parent than a scolding headmaster.
But some fans still adore “Grumbledore” – the angrier version of Dumbledore we saw in the movies. They appreciate that the cinematic version was more transparent about his feelings, a foreshadowing of the dark days ahead. An argument against that point is how important that lack of transparency was in the books. Harry and Dumbledore begin to have trust issues because Dumbledore has that “poker face,” something Harry resents in the later installments.
One thing that most fans agree on is that Gambon had a perfect look for the character, even if the characterization was off.
Emma Watson as Hermione Granger
One of the most beloved actor-character combinations of the 20th century, Watson’s career took off because of her important role in the Harry Potter franchise. However, some fans feel her interpretation was “wooden and awkward.” But when her poor acting started?
Some fans think she began slowly, but as her acting skills grew, her wooden interpretation fell by the wayside. For others, Watson’s fame took away from the character in the later movies. She stopped playing Hermione Granger and began playing Emma Watson, who had quickly become a massive teenage star. In any case, we have to admit that her “stage persona” in the latest movies has strayed too far from the scene on the train in the first film and a performance that was “100% Hermione.”
Alan Rickman as Severus Snape
The late Alan Rickman’s performance was beloved by many, and some consider him their favorite actor in the franchise. Yet, we have to admit some of his faults.
Of course, we don’t blame Rickman’s acting, we blame the script and direction. His character in the books was crueler and therefore more interesting. The way he bullied students was taken as comedy in the films, whereas that was not the intention in the books. Also, for some fans, Rickman’s performance is underwhelming simply because he is not how they imagined Snape from the books, who was written as a man in his 30s.
Each of the characters took a slightly different spin from J.K. Rowling’s original books. Some of these changes are more acceptable to fans than others, and most of the “poor acting” by the cast is blamed more on the producers. This argument shows once again that passionate fans of source material novels do not like when their favorite characters are changed in film.