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Stranger Things star ruined Harry Potter audition with a dirty joke

Jamie Campbell Bower was almost cast as Harry Potter, but the Stranger Things season 4 star went on the wreck his chances with a dirty joke.

Daniel Radcliffe as Harry Potter in Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone

One of the leading stars in Stranger Things season 4, Jamie Campbell Bower, almost took on the role of Harry Potter before torpedoing his own chances with an inappropriate joke. Campbell Bower, who is now best known for his role as the antagonist Vecna in Stranger Things season 4, revealed that his shot at the lead role in the Harry Potter series was wrecked when he spoke on the Happy, Sad, Confused podcast.

He went into detail about how he got into the situation, explaining that he was first spotted by the casting team when they saw him in his school. The issue then came in the next stage, and he said “I went to go meet Chris Columbus in London for the first [Harry] Potter and they asked us to prepare a joke.”

He elaborated further, continuing “I had just heard this joke about the reason the fairy sits on top of the Christmas tree. It’s a really dirty joke because it’s about a Christmas tree being up someone’s bottom. And I told the joke in the audition. There was this air of silence after I said it. I said ‘Well, fucked that up. Time to move on.'”

It’s not too hard to imagine what the Christmas joke itself might have involved, and it’s safe to say that any variation was probably not what the casting team for fantasy movie series were expecting from a group of pre-teens. This is especially the case because the first two movies in the Harry Potter series were really able to capitalise on the youth of the Harry Potter cast, so they were likely looking for a lead actor with a more innocent outlook.

Professor Flitwick leading the Christmas celebrations at Hogwarts in Harry Potter

Campbell Bower still managed to get cast as a Harry Potter character eventually, and he took on the small role of the young Gellert Grindelwald in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part One. He would go on to reprise this role as the Harry Potter villain in the Fantastic Beasts series, before finding his best role to date as Henry Creel / Vecna in Stranger Things season 4.

If you’re now imagining yourself as Harry Potter (and who hasn’t at some point) check out our guide to the Harry Potter movies in order.