Posted on Monday, November 21st, 2016 by Ethan Anderton
Even before Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them hit theaters this weekend, we knew that the future of what is now a five-film franchise would have a focus on the villainous plans of Gellert Grindelwald, played by Johnny Depp. This includes his conflict with Albus Dumbledore, who we know eventually stops him in 1945 thanks to the Harry Potter books.
As such, casting is underway to find an actor other than Michael Gambon to play Albus Dumbledore since the character is roughly 60 years younger in the Fantastic Beasts timeline than he is in the Harry Potter franchise. There haven’t been any names mentioned as being in talks for the role yet, so now that audiences are flocking to see Fantastic Beasts this weekend, we thought we’d propose some potential names for who should play young Albus Dumbledore in the future sequels. Find out who made our list after the jump.
Before we get to the list, it should be explained that our train of thought for finding the perfect candidate skewed towards European actors, despite the fact that Johnny Depp has been brought in to play Gellert Grindelwald, breaking the usually strict casting rules of bringing in British, Irish, Scottish and other European stars into the Harry Potter franchise. But we did include one American actor.
One cue we took from the cast of Johnny Depp is the fact that he’s a 53-year-old actor, which means anyone playing Dumbledore should be around the same age. After all, Dumbledore and Grindelwald were friends at the same young age, so they should be pretty close to each other in years. However, we also weren’t super strict with that rule, opting for one outlier who is way outside of the prospective age range because he felt perfect for the role. We do have make-up at our disposal after all.
So without further ado, here are our candidates for who should play young Albus Dumbledore.
This is perhaps one of the more obvious choices because Jared Harris is the son of Richard Harris, the actor who played Albus Dumbledore in the first two Harry Potter movies before his death in 2002. Jared Harris is quite the accomplished actor in his own right, having starred in films such as Sherlock Holmes: A Book of Shadows and Lincoln, not to mention a key role in a few seasons of Mad Men. Harris would be able to channel his father’s performance easily. Even though that might not be desired by Harry Potter fans who seem to have preferred Michael Gambon’s more lively portrayal of the Hogwarts headmaster, Harris would be a valuable asset as Albus Dumbledore.
Best known for his portrayal as the sarcastic and bitter doctor in the Fox series House M.D., Hugh Laurie is a native of the United Kingdom. And at the age of 57, he’s right around the perfect age to play a younger Dumbledore. Thanks to his work as House, he’s also familiar with playing a sometimes misunderstood genius who makes difficult decisions that sometimes aren’t seen as the wisest choices by those around him. Laurie can be charming while also being standoffish and intimidating, a perfect quality for Albus Dumbledore.
Best known for his role as Davos Seaworth on Game of Thrones, Liam Cunningham has the pensive presence that could make for great performance as Albus Dumbledore. Cunningham hasn’t really had any major roles like this before now, and he’s nowhere near being a household name, but his work in HBO’s fantasy series made me think that he could give some real weight to Albus Dumbledore, even if he’s not as big of a screen presence as Johnny Depp.
Though Paul Bettany may already have a key franchise role as Vision in the Marvel cinematic universe, there’s a chance he could be able to fit the Fantastic Beasts franchise into his schedule. Bettany has the perfect dry delivery that makes some of Albus Dumbledore’s lines unintentionally funny, which is part of the reason why Michael Gambon’s performance as the Hogwarts headmaster was so endearing and beloved. Plus, we know he has great range from his roles in movies like A Knight’s Tale and A Beautiful Mind.
Hey, it’s a long shot, but why not shoot for one of the greatest actors the craft has ever seen? Daniel Day-Lewis is notoriously picky about his roles, and I can’t imagine any amount of money could convince him to take on a franchise such as this. But I could easily see Day-Lewis disappearing into the role of Albus Dumbledore. Plus, there’s something to be said about a method actor like Day-Lewis going head-to-head with Johnny Depp, another actor who has been known to employ similar tactics in his performances. There is a 99.99% likelihood that this won’t happen, but we can dream.