Kenneth Branagh would up playing Gilderoy Lockhart in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, but according to Jason Isaacs, he could have seen things going another way. In fact, Isaacs wanted to portray Lockhart himself, rather than the character he ended up playing, Lucius Malfoy. Needless to say, Isaacs wasn't too happy that the role of Lockhart went to Branagh rather than himself.
Isaacs didn't originally auditioned for the role of Lucius Malfoy. Instead, he auditioned for the role of Lockhart, but came in second to Branagh. Isaacs was especially annoyed when producers and casting directors asked him to read for the role of Lucius Malfoy thereafter. It got to the point that he even told his agent to tell the Harry Potter team "no" if they asked him to take on the role.
According to Digital Spy, Isaacs didn't want to portray two villains in children's films back to back - as at the time, he was already set to play Captain Hook in the 2003 film, Peter Pan. It wasn't until his entire family started pestering him to take on the role of Lucius Malfoy, letting him know how special of an opportunity it was, that he thought it over. While Isaacs ultimately decided to take the role, he was still jealous of Branagh landing the role of Lockhart.
When recalling the time that he almost gave up the role of the lifetime, Isaacs said that he "was mightily pissed off when they asked me would I mind reading for a different part." Just as well, his entire family begged him to take the role, not because they wanted to see him in the film, but because they wanted to have the opportunity to visit the Harry Potter set and see things behind the scenes. Their persuasion led to Isaacs taking on the role. After the fact, Isaacs was happy to have done it, saying: "I took the job and thank god I did!"
The Harry Potter series would have been rather different without Isaacs playing Draco Malfoy's father. He was the head of the Malfoy household and he nailed it when it came to portraying a dark and villainous character. While he probably would have done great as Gildory Lockhart, Branagh was the better pick for the role. While it might not have started out in the best way, it sure ended great and that's all that matters.
With all that being said, it might have been pretty amusing to see Isaacs in the role of Lockhart. He and Branagh aren't that far apart as actors, all things considered.
Source: Digital Spy
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