Friday, 9 July 2010

Ranking the Potter Adults

I've still got Harry Potter on my mind (I'm in the process of rereading the last book for the umpteenth time). I'm going to miss these films when they're gone, even though they often get me riled up with their faults, but I digress. One of the things I love most about the Harry Potter films is their tendency to have excellent Brit actors popping up to make my day. I love the British, what can I say? Herein lay my favourite adult performances; and by adults I mean anyone who never donned a Hogwarts Students' Robe.
#15: Jason Isaacs as Lucius Malfoy
"Good" looking but still ugly, charming but repulsive and with that horrid hairdo he was good in the role. It's easy to forget him with all the great adults popping in and out, but he deserves some notices.
#14: Timothy Spall as Peter Pettigrew
This probably comes easy to him, but that doesn't make it any less good or enjoyable. His face alone annoys me (that's actually a compliment).
#13:Gary Oldman as Sirius Black
I tend to forget him quite often, which is wrong because he is good as Black. I like him best in the third installment and it is a shame we won't see him again.
#12: Kenneth Branagh as Gilderoy Lockhart
It's weird how you could play the "Six Degrees" game with the actors in this movie, two of Branagh's love interest appear down below - but I digress. He plays with all the comedic glory it deserves and yet doesn't annoy us as much as this egotistical prick should. Good stuff.
#11: Julie Walters as Molly Weasley
Often, unfairly, ignored because she's never front and centre. Oh, but her personability is priceless. She gets the characterisation down pat (everything Rowling intends) and is just too sincere for words. I really hope we get to see her kill Bellatrix (though of my loyalties are divided, this is HBC).
#10: Ralph Fiennes as Lord Voldermort
Well I have a longstanding appreciation for this man's talent, and then he comes along and plays Lord exactly does one resist that? Cold, frightening, charismatic and just downright nasty. I love it.
#9: Emma Thompson as Professor Sybil Trelawney
This was such a weird experience, seeing the always composed Thompson (Branagh's ex) as a bumbling teacher? Who knew she had such excellent comedic timing? There's a moment where she's being thrown out of the castle in the fifth installment that I always remember fondly. 
#8: Alan Rickman as Professor Severus Snape
I hate that he gets typecast but I love when he gets typecast. He just knows to find that sinister root that makes him formidable and yet strangely charismatic. The hair doesn't do much for him, but I suppose he doesn't care.
#7: Miranda Richardson as Rita Skeeter
Oh how I wish she had more to do, every moment she appears on screen I can't look at anyone BUT her. She's just too enthralling for her own good and though we know she's wicked throughout we too are almost charmed into wanting her to intereview us.
#6: Maggie Smith as Professor Minerva McGonagall
She does it in her sleep, but she does it well. This is another performer I hope gets her chance to shine in the final installments, it's another example of casting genius. Shrewd, kind, but with an iron grip on her house.
#5: Richard Harris as Professor Albus Dumbledore I
Despite what it seems he's the perfect representative of Dumbledore as far as the books go. Old and wise with a talent for non sequiters, but with power behind those seemingly benign looks of his.
#4: Helena Bonham Carter as Bellatrix Lestrange
Nepotism? You bet your ass. This is Branagh's second ex on the list (that we know of). Perfection is an ideal but this is just divine. Manic but arresting, disarming (in more ways than one) and with a penchant for fickle childishness that just thrills me. Sometimes I think the Deather Eaters are calling...
#3: Jim Broadbent as Professor Horace Slughorn
You're never prepared for the emotion he brings to the role, thus his final appears always surprises you and then it saddens. He has excellent comedic timing, but it's the emotion that turns him into one of Harry's best teachers.
#2: Imelda Staunton as Dolores Umbridge
...and it only gets better. This could have been one giant cliche (an evil person in pink, wow) but she is so good at showing the layers that she turns into the must offensively evil person on the series, thus far. Her unnverving smile, and that peppy walk. Only goes to show why you shouldn't trust "happy" folks.
#1: Michael Gambon as Professor Albus Dumbledore II
Ironically, I think he's wrong the part. Too harsh when Dumbledore should be less overt, too loud when he should temper, and yet he finds himself in The Half Blood Prince and turns this character into something else - not Rowling's creation, but his own. That image of his pseudo-Moses moves in the caves and the drinking of the potion stay with me. Just excellent.
Great Adults That Could Have Been: Kristin Scott Thomas as Narcissa Malfoy. Imagine that.
Okay, now the fun part, with the exception of Oldman these people all have history:
Richard Harris is deceased so he goes first. Incidentally, he starred in Mack the Knife (1989) with Julie Walters who went on to star in Becoming Jane (2007) with Maggie Smith who had starred in Gosford Park (2001) with Michael Gambon who was in Sleepy Hollow (1999) with Miranda Richardson who was in Enchanted April (1992) with Jim Broadbent who was in Vera Drake (2004) with Imelda Staunton who was in Nanny McPhee (2005) with Emma Thompson who was in Sense & Sensibility (1995) with Alan Rickman who starred in Sweeney Todd (2007) with Timothy Spall who was in Hamlet with (1996) Kenneth Branagh who had starred with HBC in Twelfth Night ( 1995) who had starred with Ralph Fiennes Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were Rabbit (2005) and who was in The End of the Affair with Jason Isaacs (1999)
...and of course the pairings continue like HBC and Emma in Howards End or Emma and Maggie and Ralph in Nanny McPhee & the Big Bang or Maggie and HBC in A Room With A View or HBC and Michael Gambon in The Wings of the Dove or Rickman and Thompson and Imelda Staunton in Sense & Sensibility.
Do you think they'd chat on set? I did this from memory, maybe there is a movie with Oldman and one of them...anyone?
Take your pick. Which adult tops your list?


Jess said...

Great list!! I would have ordered them a bit differently, but I love your commentary. I would have included Mark Williams as Arthur Weasley - these are the only films he has listed in IMDB, but I think he does a perfect job.

anahita said...

god, his is giving me potter cravings (that is such a weird sentence). Great lists, I would have put bonham carter or staunton top maybe...this makes me want to do something harry potter-y!!! x

Anonymous said...

Great idea for a list. Although I definitely would've put Alan Rickman as number 1.

And where's David Thewlis?!

Red said...

HBC would probably top my list. Her childlike enjoyment of the role in the last film was fantastic.

Andrew: Encore Entertainment said...

jess (you like my schizo rantings?) on williams - he's good, but he never leaves a lasting effect on me, like his wife for example.

ana ha. hbc for the win? why not.

emily he didn't annoy me, but there were times when his lupin would annoy me :(

red that childlike enjoyment is a key reason why i like how she makes each of her roles different

Nigel Maruva Chikukwa said...

It's so sad that the franchise is home to all these magnificent actors....then you have Daniel Radcliffe, who keeps exploiting his one-dimensionality long our after another.

As my friend always says "why the hell does he always look like he just walked in on his parents."

Robert said...

Amazing list! I always knew that HP got fabulous actors but seeing the list like this made me realize how truly stellar the adults are. I think Maggie Smith or Imelda would be my number one, but HBC is so close for two and Emma Thompson is just wonderful. That scene in the 5th where Thompson, Smith and Staunton are on screen together was one of the strongest in the series.