Back in the early 2000s, Hugh Grant was the king of the rom-com movie, and his commitment to the genre was so strong that he even had to turn down a role in the Harry Potter franchise because of a project he was working on with Sandra Bullock. We could have seen Grant in The Chamber of Secrets, but instead we got Two Weeks Notice, so who’s the real winner here?
Grant was reportedly incredibly close to playing the role of Harry Potter character Professor Gilderoy Lockhart in the second Harry Potter movie. So close in fact, that he had even already dyed his hair blonde for the role, before having to back out of the fantasy movie due to other commitments. Apparently, Grant was tied up with the comedy movie Two Weeks Notice, and couldn’t make both productions work within his schedule.
In the end, the role of Lockhart went to Kenneth Branagh, who did a great job. But, we can’t help wondering what it would have been like to have Hugh Grant in the Wizarding World.
Digging into the archives at The Guardian, it appeared Alan Cumming was originally the frontrunner to replace Grant. But, according to The Telegraph, a pay dispute during the casting process led Cumming to promptly tell the producers of the Harry Potter movie to “fuck off.”
At the time, director Christopher Columbus had denied the rumours that Grant would be fulfilling the role, and had claimed not to have even spoken to the actor.
“Sadly Hugh had to turn down the part because he’s committed to doing a movie with Sandra Bullock next February,” Grant’s agent, Karin Smith confirmed. The movie didn’t even have a title at that point, but would ultimately become Two Weeks Notice.
Thankfully, we got to see Hugh Grant flex his acting chops in a family movie eventually, and his performance as the villain in Paddington 2 is one of the best of his brilliant career.