Everyone knows how difficult it was to find the Harry Potter cast. While the adult parts were relatively easy to nail down, there was a nationwide hunt to find the main trio. Of the three main Harry Potter characters, it seems the Boy Who Lived was the most difficult to crack.
Casting director Janet Hirshenson admitted as much to The Huffington Post, explaining Harry’s age and eye colour made it a very difficult role to cast. “I know at one point there was a push for the actor who did Billy Elliot,” Hirshenson said. “He was a really good actor, but he was 14 years old. It’s like, ‘No, he was 14 years old. It just can’t be.'”
“And for Harry, to complicate things, I needed a blue or green-eyed kid because part of Harry is his green eyes or blue-green, but they couldn’t be brown eyes,” she continued. “So that was another elimination thing. We said, ‘Oh, drat! He’s great, but he has brown eyes.'”
Director Chris Columbus, however, had an idea of who he wanted to play Harry in his fantasy movie. He’d seen Daniel Radcliffe in a BBC adaptation of David Copperfield and knew he had the chops to play the boy wizard.
Unfortunately, Radcliffe had decided he didn’t want to act anymore. Eventually, producer David Heyman tracked down Radcliffe’s dad and begged him to convince his son to audition.
Heyman clearly had the gift of the gab because Radcliffe did indeed audition, but he still hadn’t secured the part. Hirshenson said there was one other boy who the other producers liked while Colombus backed Radcliffe.
“When we sat down to look at the tests, there was another guy that we kind of liked, too,” Hirshenson explained. “There were two. Chris right away liked Daniel, but there were a couple of people who went, ‘Hmm. That other kid’s interesting.’ So we thought, ‘Let’s all go to sleep on it. We’ll come back and look at this again.'”
Sure enough, Hirshenson claims they did come back soon after and made a decision. So what did it come down to? Well, apparently, it was because the other kid lacked Radcliffe’s balls.
“We went back and looked at Daniel again. The other kid was terrific and very vulnerable and very Harry-looking, but besides that, Harry was going to become a very powerful kid, too,” Hirshenson said. “And Daniel had both sides. He was very vulnerable, but the other kid – it was like, he [was] not going to have the balls that Daniel has, to put it that way.”
So there we have it if only that kid had been a bit more confident, the history of the Harry Potter movies could have been rewritten.