LA Times: Michael Gambon "Sees No Point in Reading" Harry Potter Books by JK Rowling
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.
I respect Gambon’s performance of Dumbledore if that is how he is written in the screenplay, and I also respect his choice not to read the book. However, I think it is wrong to play Dumbledore scary because “all headmasters should be a bit scary”. The point is that Dumbledore was different than other headmasters. He is the one man that Harry looked to and revered throughout his whole school career. And even though we found out that Dumbledore was not always the whimsical, grampa type in the last book… we didn’t find much of that out until the last book. Save the scary performance for the last film and give us a twist on the character we, like Harry, thought we knew.
honestly Gambon only really got it wrong with GoF. Other than that, POA and Ootp he was dumbledore for me.
Remember JKR woul;d have told him alllll about Dumbledore jsut like she did for Alan Rickman an Snape. (she sat him down after he got the part and obviously shared with him the Prince’s tale.)
Other than that i don’t think he’s done such a horrible job that everyone goes on and on about. HBP seems to be very dumbledore like, so i think h’s doing it well. I think he had the wrong idea about how DD is supposed to be tired and weary and he took it as anxious etc
true it would be disappointing to see certain scenes missing, but isn’t that more of a personal disappointment? if you’re committed to the job, then you do what’s best for the job, not for how it would affect you personally (especially on such a superficial level, it’s not like it would affect his physical or emotional health).
knowing more about the essence of dumbledore would have probably given him deeper insight into how he is in the films. even if he was always going to be different in the films, at least he would understand how he is different, and maybe also be able to think more about why he would be different.
POSTERS STOP BEING LAZY!
PLEASE STOP BLAMING GAMBON FOR DOING WHAT NEWELL WANTED!
I am a great admirer of Sir Michael Gambon, he is one of the UK greatest living actors. He is also very eccentric and mischievous as I am sure Dan can testify. An actor must do what the script and the director demand – that is what they are paid to do. Mike Newell directed GoF and decided that it would be a ‘hero in peril’ movie and the hero does not know it. Newell said he wanted it to be like Hitchcock’s North by Northwest. Newell needed Dumbledore to be desperately worried about Harry in order for the audience to also be worried, otherwise Harry’s name being in the cup seemed like no big deal (unless you had read the books).
Oh come on, Gambon, just about everyone else in the cast has read the books and they all do their jobs just fine. And I understand how ‘no point in reading the books’ makes sense in context, but, I mean, it’s not just that the books would give him great back-story, it’s also just that they’re amazing! I don’t understand how he doesn’t see what he’s missing.