Casting Call: ‘Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince’

When J.K. Rowling went on Britain’s Jonathan Ross show and said she would like to see veteran actor Bob Hoskins cast in at least one of the Harry Potter movies, all we could think was, well, no duh. “I’d love to play a wizard,” he said. And we’d love it too, since we think he’d fit into the world perfectly.

Could director David Yates think so as well? Approached by MTV News at the L.A. premiere of “Order of the Phoenix,” Yates said he was wrapping up a deal for an actor to play Potions master Horace Slughorn. We couldn’t let the fact that he didn’t reveal who it actually was slow us down, so we looked at the major roles up for grabs in “Half-Blood Prince” and offer up our best suggestions. Agree or disagree, let us know your own thoughts in our comments below.


Book Says: Minister of Magic. “[He] looked rather like an old lion. There were streaks of grey in his mane of tawny hair and his bushy eyebrows; he had keen yellowish eyes behind a pair of wire-rimmed spectacles and a certain rangy, loping grace even though he walked with a slight limp.”

We Say: Internet speculation seems to have focused on Liam Neeson, who would be a fine choice if he could channel some of that Ra’s al Ghul magic. But he’s a little too demur for our tastes. Scrimgeour has spent a lifetime fighting dark wizards, is arrogant and somewhat bitter. He’s forceful and strong. Maybe it’s as simple as the fact that he’s described as having a “loping grace even though he walked with a slight limp,” but, combine everything, and we can’t think of anyone who’d be a better fit than HUGH LAURIE.

Alternates: We’d love to find a place for Bill Nighy in the series, and this is probably as close to a perfect match as there is left.


Book Says: Voldemort’s grandfather, heir to Salazar Slytherin. Short and with odd proportions. “Bright brown eyes, short scrubby hair, and wrinkled face.” Looks to Harry like an old, but powerful, monkey.

We Say: For some reason fans are clamoring here for Jeremy Irons, who’s far too regal and intimidating to play Marvolo, a decrepit, hateful wizard who’s more of a bully than a real threat. We need someone compact, someone scary in small spaces, someone who looks, not like the true heir to Slytherin, but like the last, sad vestige of a once proud family. We need BOB HOSKINS.

Alternates: Alfred Molina. John Rhys-Davis.


Book Says: Voldemort’s mother. 18-years-old with a “plain, pale, rather heavy face.” Defeated and beaten down. Cross-eyed.

We Say: There’s no delicate way to say this without coming off as crass…so I won’t. I’ll just say that EILEEN WALSH would be a perfect fit.

Alternates: Amy Winehouse.


Book Says: Voldemort’s uncle. “Several of his teeth were missing. His eyes were small and dark and stared in opposite directions.” Harry can’t tell what color his hair is because it’s so matted down with dirt. Sociopath, only speaks in parseltongue.

We Say: Not exactly a role actors will be beating down the doors at Warner Brothers to play, considering he only speaks in hisses. We don’t know if there’s a more pivotal character narratively, however, since it’s his curse on Tom Riddle which ultimately allows Merope to woo the dandy Muggle. Insane and dark? We’d love to see RHYS IFANS give it a whack.

Alternates: What about Cillian Murphy? We’d peg him to play the young Voldemort if he wasn’t too old, but playing the uncle of He-Who-Should-Not-Be-Named would actually be a pretty striking physical match. And anyone who saw his take on the Scarecrow knows he can do demented. Nick Frost would be a different approach, but one we could potentially get behind as well.


Book Says: Werewolf. Described as a “big, rangy man with matted gray hair and whiskers [and]…long yellowish nails.” Has pointed fangs even while human. Lupin calls him, “perhaps, the most savage werewolf alive today. He regards it as his mission in life to bite and to contaminate as many people as possible; he wants to create enough werewolves to overcome the wizards.”

We Say: A terrifying beast who preys on children. Savage. Uncompromising. DANIEL DAY LEWIS. And if you don’t immediately agree with us, just look at this picture and despair.

Alternates: None. Daniel Day Lewis. Seriously, get him. (But if we must, this is actually the role Jeremy Irons was made for here, not Marvolo.)


Book Says: Short and “enormously fat” with a walrus like mustache and pale, gooseberry eyes. Bald. Has a taste for luxury, often wearing lavish, old fashioned clothes or velvet smoking jackets. After first meeting him, Harry imagines Slughorn as a giant spider, collecting his prize pupils like flies. Head of Slytherin.

We Say: He’s large and affable, and something of a caricature, but at no point is he comical. Slughorn is as close an intellectual match to Dumbledore as anyone we meet in the series. He’s prideful, resourceful, and commands instant respect. His ultimate breakdown is one of the emotional highpoints of “Half Blood Prince,” so any potential actor would need to be able to play both sides, the gregariousness along with the scared retreat. We like ANTHONY HOPKINS.

Alternates: Should Bob Hoskins be passed over for Marvolo (or just want a bigger role), we think he’d be a good match for Slughorn as well.


Book Says: Mother of Draco, wife to Lucius. An Aryan dream: blond with blue eyes. Harry says she has “a look that suggested there was a nasty smell under her nose.”

We Say: Too bad Nicole Kidman is Australian, cause she’d be a perfect fit. With her out of the running, however, we like “Nip/Tuck’s” Joely Richardson for the role, who seems to combine the ideal combination of good looks and haughty disdain.

Alternates: If you can’t get Kidman, why not go for her best friend? Naomi Watts would be an interesting choice, especially considering Narcissa’s one big scene in “Half Blood Prince,” is sure to be when she makes an Unbreakable Vow with Snape, pleading for him to help her son. We can see Watts do desperate.

Do you agree with our choices? Have different ideas? ACCIO COMMENTS!

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