The Harry Potter franchise turned its three leads into stars and created iconic roles for a number of other actors. However, it seems that one of the memorable performances almost never happened. Jason Isaacs was cast as Lucius Malfoy in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, but as it turns out, that wasn't the role in the film he wanted. He had actually auditioned for a different part, and after being asked to read for the Malfoy role he was ready to turn it down, because he was already set to play a villain in another film geared towards kids, and didn't want to do another so close to the first. He even gave his agent instructions on what do when the call came in. According to Isaacs...
When they call, tell them no, thank you very much, I am about to go play Captain Hook'. He said, 'Just think about it over the weekend'. I said, 'No, I don't want to think about it -- it's fun and lovely and flattering but I am not playing two children's villains.
Jason Isaacs had originally gone in to read for the part of Gilderoy Lockhart, not Lucius Malfoy, but was asked during the audition if he wouldn't mind reading for the Malfoy role. Isaacs was already set to play Captain Hook in 2003's Peter Pan, and wasn't looking to play the bad guy in yet another children's movie. It makes some sense. The Harry Potter franchise was going to go on for years and combined with the other role, Isaacs was going to be playing the bad guy for a long time to come. Not necessarily the optimum situation for an actor who wants to try new things.
Also, can we enjoy for a moment the confidence that Jason Isaacs apparently had here? He tells Digital Spy that he instructed his agent of what to say "when" they called, not "if." He was apparently supremely confident that since they wanted him to read for Lucius Malfoy, the role was going to be offered to him. To be fair, he wasn't wrong. The call did come, and while Isaacs was ready to reject the part, he received many phone calls from friends and family who wanted to convince him to take it, though Isaac's doesn't believe their motives were entirely pure.
Over the weekend, everybody I knew called me -- nieces, nephews, godchildren and then the parents. They all tried to persuade me to take the job -- not because they cared about me but because they wanted to visit the set! So I took the job and thank god I did!
It was clearly the right move. Nobody really remembers the 2003 Peter Pan movie, but Jason Isaacs will always be remembered as Lucius Malfoy. Although, now I can't help but wonder what Isaacs as Gilderoy Lockhart would have looked like.