James Bond Reportedly Rejected Dick Van Dyke for Same Reason Robin Williams Couldn’t Get into Harry Potter

James Bond Reportedly Rejected Dick Van Dyke for Same Reason Robin Williams Couldn't Get into Harry Potter
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Dick Van Dyke was once turned down from a famous film series for the same reason that prevented Robin Williams from being part of Harry Potter. Actors are utilized in different ways. The challenge of embodying a character involves understanding the character’s physical and mental composition. One aspect constantly underscored in most film endeavors is the retainment of authenticity. The project’s objectives are tarnished if the audience begins to doubt their ability to suspend disbelief.

Robin Williams and Dick Van Dyke
Robin Williams and Dick Van Dyke

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For this reason, several productions enforce specific stipulations, and everything related to creating a movie or a television show functions within their jurisdiction. Due to this rigid framework, even actors who exhibit boundless skill frequently have their requests to star in specific productions rejected. Robin Williams and Dick Van Dyke were dealt this fate when they expressed interest in or were approached for parts that could’ve nearly changed their lives.


Why Dick Van Dyke Was Rejected From Playing James Bond

Could Dick Van Dyke have made a good James Bond in Sean Connery's absence?
Could Dick Van Dyke have made a good James Bond in Sean Connery’s absence?

Entertainer, comedian, and actor Dick Van Dyke once appeared on Kevin Pollak’s Chat Show to share his insights on different topics. Here, he revealed the one time he was considered for playing 007 in light of actor Sean Connery’s desire to depart from the career-defining role. Unfortunately, there was one obstacle that stopped him from getting the job. It was his English accent. Following was Van Dyke’s statement:

“I was doing Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, and Sean Connery had spoken about leaving the Bond pictures. He had done several at the time. And Cubby Broccoli called me in [to his office] and asked me if I wanted to be Bond.”

Albert R. Broccoli, also known as Cubby Broccoli, produced Chitty Chitty Bang Bang—a musical fantasy film whose premise is loosely based on Ian Fleming’s 1964 children’s novel. The former was a renowned Bond producer whose efforts had kickstarted the film franchise in the first place, and the latter remains iconic for having created the James Bond character. Van Dyke’s participation in the 1968 musical-fantasy endeavor suggested a divine scheme. He could’ve been cast as the next 007, following in the footsteps of Sean Connery‘s legacy.

Dick Van Dyke's potential involvement in James Bond was cut short!
Dick Van Dyke’s potential involvement in James Bond was cut short!

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Alas, fate had other plans. Dick Van Dyke continued his statement, affirming how his British accent led to Albert R. Broccoli revoking the esteemed, life-changing offer:

“I said, ‘Have you heard [my British accent]? And [Broccoli] said, ‘Oh, that’s right! Forget it!'”

Van Dyke’s embodiment of Cockney chimney sweep Bert in Mary Poppins served as a showcase for his British accent. Although the performance received praise, the Cockney accent drew embarrassment and mockery. Even Broccoli seemed ever-ready to retract the offer once he remembered the actor’s infamous English accent.

A comparable situation prevented the late, legendary comedian Robin Williams from securing a part in the acclaimed Harry Potter movie series.


Harry Potter’s “British-Only” Rule Prevented Robin Williams’ Participation

The uber-talented Robin Williams' Harry Potter dreams were shattered...
The uber-talented Robin Williams’ Harry Potter dreams were shattered…

In an interview with Huffington Post, Harry Potter casting director Janet Hirshenson reflected on the production’s British-only rule and how it obstructed even someone as talented as American actor Robin Williams from landing the role of Hagrid. Following was her statement:

“Robin [Williams] had called [director Chris Columbus] because he really wanted to be in the movie, but it was a British-only edict, and once he said no to Robin, he wasn’t going to say yes to anybody else, that’s for sure. It couldn’t be.”

Williams himself shared his thoughts on the matter, telling the New York Post (via The Guardian) about his shattered dreams of starring in Harry Potter:

“There were a couple of parts I would have wanted to play, but there was a ban on [using] American actors.”

Robin Williams
Robin Williams

Read also: Why Robin Williams Couldn’t Be In Star Trek


Williams had expressed interest in roles other than Hagrid. He had also discussed his desire to play Lupin in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban with Chris Columbus, who served as a producer of the third installment. The latter was compelled to turn down the comedian in adherence to the Brit-only rule. Several reports have highlighted J. K. Rowling’s insistence on having a “100% British” cast for the cinematic adaptations. It is believed that this rule was imposed to ensure the authenticity of the narrative and its essence.

Where Dick Van Dyke failed to nail a British accent, Robin Williams was esteemed for his seamless transitions between different accents. It’s a shame that the Harry Potter film series failed to utilize the late comedian’s talent. Sadly, some rules just cannot be broken.

Source: Kevin Pollak’s Chat Show, The Guardian, and Huffington Post


Written by Debdipta Bhattacharya

Articles Published: 659

Debdipta Bhattacharya is a content writer at FandomWire, where she has written more than 500 articles on various topics of interest. She possesses a sincere passion for popular culture, anime, film production, and the evolving world of YouTube and streaming culture which has allowed her to be a devoted and well-informed writer. Debdipta holds a bachelor's degree in Mass Communication. She has honed her skills and expertise in content writing with over two years of experience and strives to learn and grow daily.