Movies - TV
Robbie Coltrane Was Always the Big Beating Heart of the Harry Potter Franchise
By SANDY SCHAEFER
“Harry Potter” fans will always remember the actor Robbie Coltrane, who sadly passed away at the age of 72, as Rubeus Hagrid, the amiable half-giant gamekeeper of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry and ardent defender of fantastical creatures big and small. It was Hagrid, after all, who rescued poor Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) from his abusive upbringing.
As inherently lovable as the Hagrid character is, it was Coltrane who infused him with the air of a gruff yet caring uncle. Coltrane distinguished himself in all eight of the “Harry Potter” films, deftly handling serious moments like telling Harry the truth about his parents’ death and light-hearted scenes such as flirting with Madame Maxime in "Goblet of Fire."
As Radcliffe and the other young actors grew up and came into their own, Coltrane saw his screen time dwindle. At the same time, Coltrane evolved and deepened his performance in the later movies, mirroring the way Hagrid would interact with the ever-maturing Harry. (Radcliffe, in particular, would get better and better at playing off of Coltrane as he grew up.)
Coltrane never took his involvement with "Harry Potter" lightly, telling The Guardian, "Kids come up to you and they go: 'Would you like to sign my ['Harry Potter'] book?' with those big doe-eyes. And it's a serious responsibility." He also defended J.K. Rowling against the press coverage that emphasized her wealth over the role she played in encouraging people to read more.