MyLeaky Login

Join the largest Harry Potter Social Network on the Web! | FAQ

In the News

LA Times: Michael Gambon "Sees No Point in Reading" Harry Potter Books by JK Rowling

Posted by: sue
July 13, 2009, 08:18 PM

Over the years, one topic of debate hotly discussed in our fandom has been actor Michael Gambon and his portrayal of Professor Albus Dumbledore in the Harry Potter film series. Adding fuel to the fire has been his previous comments over the years regarding his deliberate choice to not read the source material found in the works of author J.K. Rowling. Michael Gambon repeats those same sentiments tonight in a candid interview with the LA Times Hero Complex blog, and also claims that apparently Ralph Fiennes (Lord Voldemort) and Alan Rickman (Severus Snape) have not read the books as well. There are many quotes of interest (SPOILER CAUTION) from the article as follows:

The choice not to read Rowling’s book series, he explains, is deliberate and he points out that costars Ralph Fiennes and Alan Rickman haven’t taken up the books either.

“You’d get upset about all the scenes it's missing from the book, wouldn‘t you?” Gambon said via phone from New York, where he was promoting the opening this Wednesday of the sixth "Potter" film. “No point in reading the books because you’re playing with [screenwriter] Steve Kloves' words.”

And Kloves, along with director David Yates, have demanded an intense Dumbledore, who in the fourth film physically shook Harry when the boy wizard's name wound up in the Goblet of Fire. It’s a characterization that isn’t as pronounced in the book -- Dumbledore doesn’t yank and jostle his star student, for starters -- and it upset many "Potter" fans.


“He’s got to be a bit scary," Gambon said of his Dumbledore. "All headmasters should be a bit scary, shouldn’t they? A top wizard like him would be intimidating. And ultimately, he’s protecting Harry. Essentially, I play myself. A little Irish, a little scary. That’s what I’m like in real life.”

The actor says the enormity of the "Potter" phenomenon hit him again recently at the London premiere of “Half-Blood Prince,” where more than 4,000 kids turned up to get a glimpse of the magical cast. Gambon called it both heartwarming and bittersweet.

“I was really moved by the number of children there. It was raining and everyone was drenched, some of them had been there for hours. You feel responsible for them in a way. All their books and pieces of paper for autographs were all wet, the pens wouldn’t work. It was so sad. It makes you realize how big this thing is.”

The filming of the final Harry Potter movies, “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows,” is underway but Gamon's contributions aren't schedule until February. He says that makes it feel as if the end is still far away for him, but he has already begun to reflect on the experience.

“It’s been," he said, "a real privilege.

Previous Article | Next Article Browse all Recent Gambon News


799 Points

First of all, Ralph Fiennes has very specifically said that he’s read the books that he is in – meaning the 4th through the 7th books – but that he skated through most of each of the books and focused on the Voldemort portions. Completely understandable, really. I have no idea if Alan Rickman reads them or not but we do know that he has gone to lengths to understand Snape. Jo even said that Alan was the only actor she spoke to with regard to what would happen because he needed to know in order to understand. The thing is that Gambon doesn’t want to understand his character. He even said it outright: he’s just playing himself. I’m sorry but Gambon is no Albus Dumbledore. And Dumbledore is not just some headmaster anymore than Harry is just a student to him. That’s why Gambon does such a crap job. He has no comprehension of who Dumbledore is and refuses to find out. This article has done nothing to make me feel better about his decisions. In fact, he’s ticked me off even more.

Posted by DeliaDee on July 14, 2009, 02:40 PM report to moderator
2482 Points

His view of Dumbledore is completely different from how Dumbledore IS in the books. Dumbledore is not scary, he’s a sad, wise, full of regrets man, who always fought for the greater good, and died for that. So, NO, I don’t like how Gambon does Dumbledore.

Posted by ele0206 -ROAR- on July 14, 2009, 02:58 PM report to moderator
63 Points

Richard Harris was still the best Dumbledore overall in my opinion. I mean I understand where he’s coming from, but in the “fan” opinion (by and large) Maggie and Snape are mostly written right. The various complaints about Dumbledore becoming to much of a hard nosed headmaster and not enough of the whimsical man we came to love in the books would maybe say ‘let me sit down and see if these fans have a point’. I don’t care who reads or doesn’t read the source material as long as they are getting the character right. But obviously both Gambon and the screenwriter think they can do a better job with Dumbledore than the woman who made us love him in the first place.

Posted by RhondaWeasley on July 14, 2009, 03:27 PM report to moderator
1921 Points

Oh, he just makes me so mad!!! I suppose he doesn’t really care about reading the books because for him it’s just another acting job, whereas for us the films are precious (not as precious as the books of course). I assume he was told about Snape and the plan before filming HBP, otherwise how could he get the right emotion at the end?

Posted by izziewitch on July 14, 2009, 03:28 PM report to moderator
63 Points

edit I meant Mcgonagall and Snape (not maggie and snape)

Posted by RhondaWeasley on July 14, 2009, 03:29 PM report to moderator
594 Points

Last night when I was finishing HBP and crying my eyes out, I did wonder, amidst all the tears and going through several tissues, what that pleading tone in Dumbledore’s voice meant when he was saying “Severus…” up at the top of the Astronomy Tower… The pleading tone that was more frightening to Harry than anything they had experienced that night.

I mean, I was wondering whether Dumbledore was pleading for Snape to save his life, as I think was his plan when he and Harry set off from Hogsmeade, or whether he already knew he was beyond saving and was pleading for Snape to end his life. And after reading this interview, even though I still have the whole of DH to read and I don’t want to know anything more about it, I’m feeling a teeny weeny bit less devastated over the loss of Dumbledore.

Posted by MischiefManaged on July 14, 2009, 04:36 PM report to moderator
3271 Points

I’m quite surprised that they haven’t at least skimmed over the books. I do understand Gambon’s point on how if he had read all the books, his performance might not have been as convincing since in the end, Dumbledore’s death wasn’t murder but rather a plan. I do think that even after they stop filming all the movies, they should read them just to see what is else if missing from the films… since the books are always better. :)

Posted by Half-Blood Princess66[ROAR!] on July 14, 2009, 05:22 PM report to moderator
120 Points

holy crap. why is micheal gambon like that? actors should always read how their characters are like in the books , and not just rely on the screenwriters words and director’s guidance. he should contribute more to the character.

Posted by iLoveNeville on July 14, 2009, 06:58 PM report to moderator
63 Points

Gambon, as speaking from an actor’s point of view, does make an interesting point about not reading the books. However, the books are great for promoting literacy, so while Gambon does not wish to read them, it doesn’t mean that the general population shouldn’t read them.

Posted by cauldronjane on July 15, 2009, 11:43 PM report to moderator
62 Points

“Essentially, I play myself. A little Irish, a little scary. That’s what I’m like in real life.”

I’m glad Gambon finally admitted what I’ve been saying all along: he isn’t playing the character of Dumbledore, he is simply playing himself as a wizard. What a pathetic actor.

Posted by Healey on July 16, 2009, 01:14 AM report to moderator
35 Points

Not sure how I feel about this, but Gambon did seem more “Dumbledore-like” in HBP.

Posted by lunariffic on July 17, 2009, 08:35 PM report to moderator
2661 Points

It’s sad that he won’t read anything the books; the books would help him so much with portraying Dumbledore. I really don’t like how he does Dumbledore, especially in GoF, but he seemed better in HBP. He’s still not the quirky Dumbledore I love, though.

Posted by Wingardium Leviosa ❄WBM❄ on July 18, 2009, 10:12 AM report to moderator
24135 Points

i thought that alan did read the books, but maybe i got that confused with what jkr told him about snape early on in the series.

Posted by hermyone*ROAR* on July 25, 2009, 09:02 PM report to moderator
24135 Points

i thought that alan did read the books, but maybe i got that confused with what jkr told him about snape early on in the series.

Posted by hermyone*ROAR* on July 25, 2009, 09:32 PM report to moderator
16832 Points

alan rickman hasn’t read them?
but he does snape exactly like in the books!

Posted by gingersnape on August 02, 2009, 03:56 PM report to moderator
You must be logged in to MyLeaky to comment. Please click here to log in.

Finding Hogwarts
PotterCast Interviews Jo Rowling! Click here to Listen! The Books Everything...Half-Blood Prince...and the rest of the HP Films Leaky Apps

Scribbulus Essay Project

Issue 28 - Aug. 2014

Scribbulus is THE place for Leaky Cauldron readers to submit their essays and opinion pieces!
See more over at Scribbulus!

Guess That Book

"[Harry's] not a child!" said Sirius impatiently.[br]"He's not an adult either!" said Mrs. Weasley, the color rising in her cheeks. "He's not [i]James,[/i] Sirius!"[br]"I'm perfectly clear who he is, thanks, Molly," said Sirius coldly.

Learn to knit your own 'Weasley Sweater'. Learn to brew your own 'Butterbeer'. Find out how at Leaky Crafts!