Tom Felton Remembers Late Robbie Coltrane on Birthday: “Without Hagrid, There’s No Hogwarts”
Tom Felton is remembering his late Harry Potter co-star Robbie Coltrane on what would’ve been Coltrane’s 73rd birthday.
In an essay shared with E! News on Thursday, Felton remembered the actor he described as “endlessly playful,” “constantly cheeky” and “always kind.” He noted that while he starred alongside other young actors including Emma Watson (who was 9 when cast) and Daniel Radcliffe (who was 11), the cast also comprised of Maggie Smith and Richard Harris, who were in their sixties and seventies at the time. .
“Do the math: You were either one of the kids, or you were one of the grown-ups. Unless, that is, you were Robbie Coltrane,” Felton writes. “Somehow, Robbie managed to be an adult and a child at the same time, maintaining a foot in both camps.”
Further reflecting on Coltrane, Felton writes that the actor’s knowledge and experience was “valued and respected” by those older in the cast but when it came to the younger stars, Coltrane had a different impact.
“We just wanted to be, well, kids — mischievous, impish and high-spirited. But so did Robbie,” Felton writes. “He had more mischief in him than a common room full of Slytherins. He could fool around with the best of us. He might have had the mind of an adult, but he truly had the heart of a child.”
He added, “Robbie was always looking to lighten the mood and make us laugh.”
Felton cites his earliest memory of Coltrane as during their first table read when Coltrane decided to have some fun and convince Watson that rather than say who they’re playing, they should introduce themselves as playing each other’s characters: “We all giggled into our scripts. as this huge, friendly, charming, smiling man reminded us with that one little joke that we should approach this endeavor with a sense of fun. We were only making a film. We weren’t saving lives.”
Despite having fun, Felton says Coltrane was a professional and the cast “learned our trade from watching him” given he “set a great example” to everyone on how to “nail the basic skills of being on set, but never in a boring or patronizing way.” He also credited Coltrane for creating “an environment that allowed us all to be playful.”
“He never took himself too seriously — and these characteristics lay at the heart of everything, I think, because if Robbie took himself too seriously, if he forgot what it meant to be kind, there would have been no Hagrid,” he writes. “Without Hagrid, there’s no Hogwarts. And nobody could, would or ever will play that gentle giant half as well as my dearly missed friend Robbie Coltrane.”
It was announced last October that Coltrane had died at the age of 72. Prior to his death, Coltrane was among the cast who returned for the HBO Max retrospective special. Harry Potter 20th Anniversary: Return to Hogwartswhere they reflected on filming the franchise to commemorate its 20th anniversary.
While tearfully explaining how the franchise’s conclusion marked “an end of an era,” Coltrane reiterated that the films will continue to live on in generations to come and even though there will be a time when he won’t be around, he assured that “ Hagrid will.”
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