Watch Emma Watson, Daniel Radcliffe, and Rupert Grint audition for roles on Harry Potter.
Before Harry Potter series was turned into a billion dollar franchise, movie producers were searching across the world for the kid actors to play Harry Potter, Hermione, and Ron Weasley.
J.K. Rowling personally insisted that the cast be kept British. Susie Figgis was hired as casting director, working with Columbus and Rowling in auditioning the lead roles of Harry, Ron and Hermione.
Open casting calls were held for the main three roles, with only British children being considered. The principal auditions took place in three parts, with those auditioning having to read a page from Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone,
then if called back, they had to improvise a scene of the students' arrival at Hogwarts, they were then given several pages from the script to read in front of Columbus. After several auditions, the casting director quit complaining that Columbus did not consider any of the thousands of children they had auditioned "worthy". A few months later, Daniel Radcliffe and Emma Watson and Rupert Grint were selected to play Harry Potter, Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley, respectively.
Emma Watson's Oxford theatre teacher passed her name on to the casting agents and she had to do over five interviews before she got the part. Watson took her audition seriously, but "never really thought [she> had any chance of getting the role." The producers were impressed by Watson's self-confidence and she outperformed the thousands of other girls who had applied.
Rupert Grint decided he would be perfect for the part "because [he has got] ginger hair," and was a fan of the series. Having seen a news
report about the open casting he sent in a video of himself rapping about how he wished to receive the part. His attempt was successful as the casting team asked for a meeting with him.
Producers had wanted Radcliffe for the role since he saw him in the BBC's production of David Copperfield
, before the open casting sessions had taken place, but had been told by Figgis that Radcliffe's protective parents would not allow their son to take the part.
Columbus explained that his persistence in giving Radcliffe the role was responsible for Figgis' resignation. Radcliffe was asked to audition in 2000, when Heyman and Kloves met him and his parents at a production of Stones in His Pockets
Heyman and Columbus successfully managed to convince Radcliffe's parents that their son would be protected from media intrusion, and they agreed to let him play Harry.
Rowling approved of Radcliffe's casting, stating that "having seen [his] screen test I don't think Chris Columbus could have found a better Harry."
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