Peeves the poltergeist was a prominent character in the Harry Potter book series, so why wasn't he in the movies? The mischievous ghost of Hogwarts appeared in all seven novels but he was notably left out of the film franchise. That wasn't always the plan, with actor Rik Mayall filming never-seen scenes as the ghoul for the first Harry Potter movie.
The character of Peeves was a trouble-making presence in the halls of Hogwarts, teasing the students and often targeting Argus Filch. He craved chaos and wasn't opposed to vandalism or throwing tangible objects at the living, although did respect Fred and George Weasley for their similar troublemaking demeanor. During the Battle of Hogwarts, Peeves fought to defend the school by attacking Death Eaters. He even created a victory song to praise Harry and the demise of Lord Voldemort.
The ghost, known for his hijinks and brightly colored Jester clothing, was a fan-favorite among book readers, so it was a surprise to many fans that Peeves was not included in the Harry Potter movie adaptations (although he did make it into the tie-in games). Fitting of the poltergeist, the truth behind that wasn't exactly simple; while English actor Rik Mayall was cast as Peeves for Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, all of his scenes were cut without his knowledge.
Mayall was revered as a British comedy legend before his untimely death in 2014. He's best known for his work in The Young Ones, Blackadder, Bottom, and Drop Dead Fred, among many other projects. The brilliant comedian was often praised for his creative approach to humor, helping jumpstart the alternative comedy movement in the 1980s. Mayall's career continued through the 2000s, which is when he was cast as Peeves for the Harry Potter films.
Mayall later opened up about the experience to InternetGore.com (via YouTube), revealing an honest account of what happened. He ended up playing Peeves despite limited interest in the Harry Potter books (he described the resulting film as "sh*t") and spent three weeks filming on location. It wasn't until much later that he learned all of his scenes had been cut (his children didn't find out until after seeing the movie, in which they'd believed that he played the role of Hagrid) In the interview, he didn't have great feelings about the movie but it seemed like there was no malice behind his words. Instead, he was poking fun at the situation in his typical style of humor.
Although Mayall didn't explain the reasoning behind his cut role, he did mention how his jokes caused distractions on set, with him causing the child actors to break character every time cameras rolled. Given that, it's a shame that the filmmakers cut Mayall's portrayal as Peeves - and have refused to release any of it online - because all the evidence proves that he would have done a fantastic job at playing Harry Potter's master of mischief.