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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.

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846 Points

Ugh, I’ve always hated this Dumbledore portrayal. Now the actor annoys me too.

Posted by Olivia [Phoenix] WBM! on July 14, 2009, 09:42 AM report to moderator
28416 Points

Well I think that makes quite a lot of sense, not wanting to be disappointed at things being missed out, and let’s face it actors really can’t always have read the source material for every role they play. I don’t think he sounds as if he is denigrating the books, he has just made a decision which feels right to him.
Now I had not been sure about MGs Dumbledore, but I thought that in HBP he was just right, he really seemed like Dumbledore from the book, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Posted by moglet [ITC!] on July 14, 2009, 09:54 AM report to moderator
57 Points

Every now and then book-Dumbledore sneaks back into movie-Dumbledore. The directors have their reasons for changing him. I sure miss his colorful robes, though :(

Posted by JRae on July 14, 2009, 09:54 AM report to moderator
2525 Points

you would think the books would help them get more into there chacters. well at least hes honest.

Posted by The Nerd on July 14, 2009, 09:54 AM report to moderator
434 Points

Poor Gambon never has had a clue. Just don’t mess it up!!

Posted by potterversefan on July 14, 2009, 09:54 AM report to moderator
4630 Points

I would think after knowing how amazing the movies are, the actors themselves would take up the books. How is it possible to resist?

Posted by Live Laugh Love Potter ♥ROAR♥ on July 14, 2009, 09:57 AM report to moderator
1812 Points

hmmm that makes sense of why he is such a bad Dumbledore, Dumbledore is my favourite character and i loved richard harris whereas i’m not so keen on michael gambon… do you reckon it’s true alan and ralph hav’t read the books??

Posted by Freya-Storm on July 14, 2009, 09:58 AM report to moderator

to all the people complaining, Gambon didn’t just walk in and say “this is how i wanna do it!!” he was GIVEN a character. i would much rather see the in-your-face Gambon than the terribly frail Harris Dumbledore….after i saw the first 2 movies, i was very concerned with how Harris would ever swim against strong currents into the locket cave in HBP when he looks like he’s a step away from needing to use a walker!

Posted by Tamazapam44 on July 14, 2009, 09:59 AM report to moderator
1749 Points

I hope he read them when the filming is completed!


Posted by Rin68nyr on July 14, 2009, 10:12 AM report to moderator
8876 Points

So possibly I’m wrong but, I was kind of certain Alan Rickman had read the books because there were interviews and articles and stuff with Alan way back either before the PoA or GoF movie release .. I cant remember which, it was a long time ago but, I know there was a huge discussion about what Alan had said, because he had read the book.
And, I would disagree with the person saying Richard Harris looks like he’s a step away from needing his walker. imo that’s incredibly disrespectful to such a huge star. Harris was made up to look older. Sure, he was one of the older actors but, I strongly disagree that he couldnt do powerful, to me he comes across as very powerful in HP and also in non-HP movies where he has powerful roles.
And since when does a person need to hit a kid to be intimidating … the comment in that interview is erm, disturbing? I always felt that DDs ability to intimidate was in his calmness. Like when he takes on Tom Riddle, he doesnt pick him up and shake him. He brings him down with a few softly spoken words.

Posted by Moose_Starr on July 14, 2009, 10:36 AM report to moderator
15441 Points

I love Alan Rickman! :)

Posted by siriuslyamanda on July 14, 2009, 11:11 AM report to moderator
2333 Points

he really should read the books though…i mean come on!!!!

Posted by theREALGinnyWeasley on July 14, 2009, 12:14 PM report to moderator

“He’s got to be a bit scary," Gambon said of his Dumbledore. “All headmasters should be a bit scary, shouldn’t they?”

Totally disagree. One of the signature characteristics of Dumbledore is the fact that he is SO understated in spite of being a powerful wizard. He’s only overtly intimidating when he is directly confronting Voldemort or the Deatheaters. If Gambon had read the books, he wouldn’t make such ignorant comments. But his choice to be ignorant was deliberate.

Posted by Mimblewimble13 on July 14, 2009, 12:24 PM report to moderator
4452 Points

i didnt knw that alan rickman hadnt read them…. it doesnt show…. :) . but gambon should hav read them because dumbledore is such a big character!

4452 Points

whoa!! nine psges of comments!!

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