Skip to main content

Apparently Daniel Radcliffe Has Maggie Smith To Thank For Landing Harry Potter Role

Minerva McGonagall dueling with Severus Snape after he tried fighting Harry Potter in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Pt. 2

CinemaBlend participates in affiliate programs with various companies. We may earn a commission when you click on or make purchases via links.

Daniel Radcliffe has grown as an actor since his days as Harry Potter. But it seems some acting royalty saw potential in Radcliffe before he made his big-screen debut. Before costarring in the Harry Potter film series, he got the chance to act alongside Dame Maggie Smith in a television miniseries. Unbeknownst to Radcliffe, that moment served as an audition. The Harry Potter alum revealed the two-time Oscar winner played an important role in his casting as the beloved boy wizard.

When the first Harry Potter film premiered, Daniel Radcliffe was an unknown child actor, while Maggie Smith was acting royalty. Of course, Radcliffe’s star rose over time due to the beloved film series, but that wouldn’t have been possible without Smith vouching for him. Radcliffe said the following about Smith’s seal of approval scoring him the life-changing role:

I met Maggie Smith when I was nine for the first time. I did a thing before Potter, called David Copperfield, a BBC adaptation--one people, no two people clapping! Don’t all join in now. But thank you, but Maggie was the person that like recommended me for Potter, so she’s the reason I ended up doing that. I met her when I was nine for the first time. I didn’t know who she was. My parents were like, ‘Oh my god, you’re working with Maggie Smith, that’s huge.’ But I was not like a Prime Of Miss Jean Brodie fan, so I didn’t know who that was!

Given Daniel Radcliffe’s age at nine, he had no true context of Maggie Smith’s legacy as an actress nor should he have been. To him, it was just an acting job with a well-known actress. But luckily, Radcliffe left enough of an impression on Smith for her to recommend him for the iconic role. Imagine if he hadn’t worked with her before Harry Potter. Who would’ve done the role justice? So kudos to Smith for seeing Radcliffe’s star power. As the actor mentioned, Smith’s Hollywood heyday was well before he was born, so he didn’t understand the history attached to her name.

While Daniel Radcliffe didn’t fanboy over Maggie Smith, he did admit on The Late Show that he completely lost it over another Harry Potter alum – Gary Oldman. But at the time of The Sorcerer's Stone, Oldman was huge on both sides of the pond. To hear more about Radcliffe’s time filming the Harry Potter films, check out the interview with Stephen Colbert below:

Daniel Radcliffe’s story proved all you need is one person to see something in you to change your entire life. And who better to do that than an acting legend like Maggie Smith? That puts the relationship between Harry Potter and Minerva McGonagall in a better perspective. If you want to see Radcliffe and Smith act together on film, check out the entire Harry Potter film series on HBO Max, which you can subscribe to with this link.

Adreon Patterson

A boy from Greenwood, South Carolina. CinemaBlend Contributor. An animation enthusiast (anime, US and international films, television). Freelance writer, designer and artist. Lover of music (US and international).