Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them successfully launched a new series spun off from the lucrative Harry Potter franchise. It offers fans a tale set long before the boy who lived was even a twinkle in his parents' eyes, let alone old enough to enroll at Hogwarts and begin a seven-year journey to fulfill his destiny. But while there's little chance of seeing Harry, Hermione, or Ron in what is a planned five-movie series, that doesn't mean others from J.K. Rowling's deep bench of fictional characters won't be playing a significant part in the story that's about to unfold.
Not long ago, it was revealed that everyone's favorite headmaster would show up in the Fantastic Beasts sequel, as the story shifted to revolve more around the villain Gellert Grindelwald and his connection with Albus Dumbledore. Naturally, such an announcement generated a flood of suggestions as to who would be best suited to take on the role of a younger Dumbledore and represent one of the most recognizable and well-liked characters of the franchise. Since that time, a number of names have emerged – some from the actors themselves, like Legends of Tomorrow's Arthur Darvill – while fans have largely nominated others, like Ben Wishaw and former Mad Men star Jared Harris.
Harris shares a unique connection to the role, as his late father Richard Harris played Dumbledore in the first two Harry Potter films, The Sorcerer's Stone and The Chamber of Secrets, and as such has seen his stock rise amongst those eager to see film roles passed down from father to son. The campaign that arose since the role was first announced has gained considerable traction on the internet, and has even found its way to Harris himself, though the actor remains dubious as to whether or not it will sway the powers that be. In fact, to hear Harris put it, fan campaigns tend to have the opposite effect on the decision makers.
While speaking with The Standard Online, Harris said:
"They’re obviously thinking about it. I haven’t heard anything and I don’t expect to. It’s not up to me. Having seen [fan campaigns] before I find that [film bosses] don’t like to have their hands forced. These campaigns almost always go in a different direction."
While Harris is understandably doubtful that Warner Bros. is considering him for the role, it's interesting to note that he didn't necessarily say he was uninterested in hearing from them. Obviously it's the kind of role that any actor would want a shot at, especially if future sequels plan to put more of an emphasis on Dumbledore than current protagonist Newt Scamander. As Harris notes, Warner is clearly in the process of figuring out who would best don Dumbledore's robes and as attractive a prospect as hiring the son of Richard Harris might be, the studio likely has a great many things to consider in casting what is sure to be a highly scrutinized role.
Still, as far as candidates go, Jared Harris isn't exactly someone to pass over lightly. In addition to his multi-season turn as Lane Pryce on Mad Men, the actor went toe-to-toe with Robert Downey Jr. as Sherlock Holmes' nemesis Moriarty in Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows. He also had memorable turns in Steven Spielberg's Lincoln and this year's high-gloss Netflix series The Crown, where he played King George VI.
While, Harris doesn't expect to hear from Warner Bros. about the role, his resume speaks as loud as his parentage. So perhaps this will be one fan campaign where studio heads won't feel the need to go in a different direction.
Source: The Standard Online