To the surprise of no one, the screenplay to the official eighth story in the Harry Potter franchise went on to become one of the best-selling and most talked about books of 2016. While the format of Harry Potter and The Cursed Child's book release wasn't everyone's cup of tea -- it was essentially just a reprint of the play's script -- the story itself continues to dazzle Harry Potter fans everywhere with its unique look at what happens to our favorite characters following the events of Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows. Naturally, then, everyone has started to wonder if and when Cursed Child will be adapted into a film.
While recent events cast some doubt on both the existence and format of this adaptation, we’d still safely bet that somewhere along the way, a studio is going to find a way to turned Cursed Child into a blockbuster. Of course, even if the film rights to the eighth story are secured, casting a potential Cursed Child movie is bound to be a tall task. Do you bring back the original actors? Do you go with unknowns? How do you get around the story’s complicated time travel plot? Rather than wait for someone else to answer these questions, we thought we’d take a stab at the incredibly difficult job of casting The Cursed Child.
This is our look at Harry Potter: What If The Cursed Child Was Cast Today?
Polly Chapman is one of the most interesting characters introduced in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. It’s a bit of a stretch to call her a major player in the universe, but she certainly manages to make the most of her few appearances. The best way to describe her is an elaborate version of Hermione’s character in the first part of Sorcerer’s Stone. She’s a bit of a brutally honest know-it-all whose charms are hidden behind a lack of certain social graces.
As difficult as it is to cast child actors from the pool of known names available – there’s a reason the original Harry Potter movies went with unknowns – Ruby Barnhill seems to be the obvious pick here. She captured the attention of many film fans in The BFG by displaying a level of charisma that we typically don’t associate with such young actresses. Granted, you could argue that she could tackle a bigger role in this movie, but she could easily steal the show via this memorable character.
Oh boy, where to begin on this one? While it’s impossible to talk about these casting choices without diving into some story spoilers, we’re going to refrain from completely lifting the lid on the nature of this particular character. Instead, let’s just say that there are few characters in Cursed Child that can boast the same great arc that Delphi Diggory enjoys. She plays a vital role in the overall structure of the story and ends up being the one character that most Harry Potter fans can’t stop talking about.
It’s a role that Mackenzie Foy is perfect for. We’ve seen the young Foy tackle some pretty mature roles in the past in movies like The Conjuring and Interstellar, so there’s little doubt that she would be able to bring out the darker elements of Delphi’s character while also conveying the character’s natural charm. Plus, her looks and age are actually not that far off from Delphi as she is described in Cursed Child.
Cedric Diggory serves as the champion of every Harry Potter fan that got sorted into Hufflepuff after taking the online Pottermore test. He’s the handsome, charming, highly-skilled young wizard who got sorted into Hufflepuff despite the fact that the house is usually associated with the remnants of every Hogwarts class. Diggory’s final moments in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire served as a reminder of why he was named a Hufflepuff. The selfless nature of his final actions ensured that he became the martyr/poster child for those who opposed Voldemort.
Cursed Child adds a new layer to Diggory’s character that some fans have a hard time coming to terms with. Without diving into the details, the Diggory of Cursed Child is much more than a pretty boy hero. As such, we need an actor like Atticus Mitchell who can naturally lend the character a bit more of an edge. Mitchell has shown an ability to play a more despicable character in shows like Fargo, which could come in handy here.
Those who are only familiar with the film versions of the Harry Potter stories will likely struggle to remember who, exactly, Amos Diggory is. The father of Cedric Diggory didn’t exactly get a lot of time to shine in the adaptations of Harry Potter, but fans of the books will be the first to tell you that Diggory was more than just a grieving father. His intense pride in his son’s accomplishments occasionally caused Amos to act in a manner that doesn’t really mesh with the value of Hufflepuff house. He harbors a slight resentment towards Harry and those who survived what Cedric did not.
While Amos’ role in Cursed Child doesn’t necessarily call for a major name, it’s honestly the best excuse yet to get Tim Roth into the Harry Potter film universe. As anyone who has seen Roth’s work in films like The Hateful Eight will tell you, he’s able to perfectly portray a likable English gentleman who is capable of turning hostile on a dime.
Ah, Draco Malfoy. It’s quaint to think back on the days when this guy was the biggest jerk in the world of Harry Potter. While Malfoy certainly retained many of his most unlikable qualities throughout the story, he was surpassed in the field of pure evilness by characters such as Voldemort, Bellatrix Lestrange, and Dolores Umbridge. Even though Malfoy proved to be the Joffrey to those characters’ Ramsay Bolton, he’s still one of the most fascinating characters in the entire franchise. That’s particularly true of his role in Cursed Child, which allows us to see how Malfoy’s last-minute influx of humility has helped him grow.
So far as dream casting goes, Tom Hiddleston has to be in the lead for the film version of Cursed Child’s Draco Malfoy. He’s got the sickly-slick look needed to pull off the perfect Malfoy sneer, and he’s able to easily make you hate him and love him with the same measured reading of a line.
It’s safe to say that many Harry Potter fans grew up dreading what the spawn of Draco Malfoy would turn out like. Given that Draco was a second-generation embodiment of evil, few people doubted that Draco’s eventual child would be the worst Malfoy of them all. That’s not exactly how young Scorpius Malfoy turned out. There’s no denying that he's his father’s son – even though doubt of that fact plays a role in Cursed Child’s story – but Scorpius is very much his own young man. His worst qualities come not from his hatred of others, but from a mistrust of his own abilities. He’s arguably the deepest character introduced in Cursed Child.
The burden of perfectly playing such a memorable character is considerable, but it’s one that Jacob Tremblay should be able to bare. While still very young, Tremblay’s work in films like Room proves that he has acting skills that go well beyond his years.
Looking back, it’s kind of funny to see how Ron Weasley evolved as a character. While he grew over the years and certainly matured as a wizard and human being, he never ceased to be that same slightly unconfident young man seeking glory through honor that he was at the start. The Ron of Cursed Child feels like a natural extension of that character. Middle-age Ron is a lot like that adult most of us knew growing up who seemed to be doing pretty well for himself despite the fact that he sometimes acts like a little kid.
From a purely physical perspective, Damian Lewis enters the Cursed Child casting conversation on the basis of his red hair alone. While the Damian Lewis we saw dutifully lead men into war in Band of Brothers is not exactly indicative of Ron Weasley, Lewis has shown that he’s able to be a jovial man who possesses a slight hint of mischief.
Hermione Granger has always served as something of a deus ex machina in the Harry Potter universe. Whenever the gang needed a way out of a tricky situation, it was usually Hermione that came up with a solution. Despite her considerable abilities, Hermione’s best quality has always been her seeming desire to break free of her strict personal nature. The Hermione of Cursed Child feels like the person that many fans of the character suspected she would become. Even across multiple timelines, she has achieved great personal success as well as the ability to understand when a wee bit of mischief is in order.
Angel Coulby feels like a perfect fit for Cursed Child’s version of Hermione. While Coulby has been criminally underutilized over the years, her performances on shows such as Merlin prove that she can pull off that tricky mix of “know-it-all” and “loveable” that makes Hermione Granger as beloved as she is. Her ability to get away with a convincing bushy hair look is just the cherry on top.
Given how different Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger are, many fans wondered how their daughter would turn out. Would she be a slightly unconfident youngster with a desire to have fun and worry about work later like her father, or would she be a rigid to a fault bastion of intelligence and hard work like her mother was? The popular theory was that she would end up somewhere in the middle, but Cursed Child showed that young Rose Granger-Weasley turned out to be a little more like her mother than her father. She’s smart, a bit bossy, and just a little uncertain.
Those of you who know Millie Davis from her work in Orphan Black as Gemma Hendrix know why she is such a great fit here. Davis has perfected that “Are you kidding me?” look that only a child who is way too smart for their age can possibly pull off, and she even bears a pretty close resemblance to how Hermione is described in Cursed Child.
To be entirely honest, the role of Lily Luna Potter is a bit tough to cast for the simple reason that we don’t know much about the young character. She doesn’t get too much time to shine in Cursed Child and most notable for her name which – like her siblings – serves as a tribute to some of the most important people in Harry and Ginny’s life. What we do know about Lily is that she possesses an unwavering enthusiasm, deep respect for her family’s accomplishments, and an eagerness to join the school of Hogwarts that is surpassed only by the enthusiasm her father exhibited at her age.
In a way, then, the casting of Maggie Elizabeth Jones is based largely on the fact that the actress looks like she could very well be the actual child of Harry Potter and Ginny Weasley. That’s not to say that she can’t act. In fact, the childish charms she exhibited in movies like We Bought a Zoo are what make her a great fit for the small role.
James Sirius Potter – great name, by the way – is the eldest son of Harry Potter and Ginny Weasley. While he is, in many ways, his father’s son, he tends to exhibit qualities that most fans will associate with the two characters he got his name from. Yes, James Sirius Potter is a bit of a mischief maker. While his father’s nature has, perhaps, led to James not having quite the ego that James and Sirius once possessed, he’s still an incredibly confident young man who seems to take a measure of pleasure from the fact that he is the son of the famous Harry Potter.
Lewis MacDougall’s acting resume may not be very long, but his work in Pan and A Monster Calls proves that he may very well be the rare breed of child actor that goes on to achieve great success as an acting adult. It’s his natural ability that makes MacDougall remind us of James. Acting just seems to come easily to him, in the same way that seemingly everything comes easily to James.
While we can certainly understand why Harry Potter fans would never want to play favorites with any of the child characters, given that many of them probably see that as the equivalent of playing favorites with their own children, from a pure narrative standpoint, Albus Severus Potter is certainly the most important of the Potter children in the Cursed Child story. His adventure and struggles serve as the catalyst for everything that happens in the story. He’s also the source of some of Cursed Child’s greatest controversies, as some fans struggle to believe that the child whose situation parallels Harry Potter’s could experience some of the things that he does throughout the story.
Albus is a more complicated hero than Harry Potter was, which is why the role calls for a more established actor. Like Lewis MacDougall, Milo Parker’s resume may not be long, but Parker’s work in the 2015 film Mr. Holmes is more than enough proof that he’s capable of handling a role that calls for a mature performance. Parker excels at capturing scenes without really stealing them, which would make him a great piece in this story’s ensemble cast.
The fascinating thing about Ginny Weasley as a character is the way that she realistically matured throughout the course of the original Harry Pottter stories. At first, she was just the somewhat pesky youngest member of the Weasley family who had a bit of a star crush on Harry Potter. Over time, however, she eventually gave up on the whole notion of ever marrying Harry Potter and focused on turning herself into a fiercely independent young witch with a sense of humor that would make even Fred and George proud. Naturally, this transition eventually led to her becoming Ginny Potter, as well as the one part of Harry Potter’s life that seems to give him any untainted pleasure.
From her fiery red hair to her equally fiery personality, Isla Fisher feels like the real-world embodiment of the person that Ginny Weasley grows up to be. It’s just as easy to picture Fisher as the girl that makes Harry smile on sight as it is to imagine her as the fiercely independent woman that Ginny grows up to be.
While Harry Potter doesn’t really need much of an introduction, it does feel necessary to briefly explore how Harry Potter is portrayed in Cursed Child. As you might imagine, The Boy Who Lived grows up to marry Ginny Weasley, become an Auror, have several children, and expand upon his already considerable skills as a wizard. However, not all is well in Harry's adult life. Throughout Cursed Child, he finds himself struggling to come to terms with the perils of adulthood. As much as he wants to enjoy a quiet life, his need for adventure and his strained relationship with his son Albus haunt him almost as much as Voldemort once did.
“Haunt” is the word to keep in mind when trying to picture Hugh Dancy as the older version of one of the world’s most beloved heroes. In Hannibal, Dancy expertly played a character whose brilliance was weighed down by the internal and external nightmares that haunted his reality. While everyone looked towards him an almost mythical figure, he alone was aware of just how painfully human he really was. The Cursed Child version of Harry Potter begs for an actor capable of portraying such a character.
Severus Snape is without a doubt the most difficult character to cast for the film adaptation of Cursed Child. While Snape’s role in the story is fairly minor in the grand scheme of things, the problem is that we’ve already seen Alan Rickman play the definitive version of Severus Snape. Now that Rickman has passed away, it feels almost cruel to ask another actor to step into the role. How can anyone possibly win over fans the same way that Rickman did from the moment that he stepped on screen?
Put simply, there is no actor on Earth that is ever going to make people forget Rickman’s portrayal of one of the great literary characters of our time. That said, Cillian Murphy is still one of the most exciting options out there. His lanky look and ability to speak in deadly whispers is good enough to pay homage to Rickman’s take on the character, but he’s talented enough to find something in the role that perhaps even Rickman did not.
Who would you cast in a Cursed Child adaptation? Let us know in the comments.