‘The Crown’ Star Imelda Staunton Couldn’t Function For Days After 1 Horrible Scene With Daniel Radcliffe: “This is madness and cruelty”

Imelda Staunton was left stunned after filming one cruel 'Harry Potter' scene.

‘The Crown’ Star Imelda Staunton Couldn’t Function For Days After 1 Horrible Scene With Daniel Radcliffe: “This is madness and cruelty”


  • Imelda Staunton played Professor Dolores Umbridge in 'Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix'.
  • The despotic professor puts Hogwarts through hell by abusing her powers.
  • One scene involving Dolores and Harry was so cruel that the actress felt bad for a few days.
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The end of 2023 saw Netflix viewers bid goodbye to Imelda Staunton’s Queen Elizabeth II, as The Crown wrapped up after an incredible six-season run.


Staunton is the third actress to bring the life of Great Britain’s longest-reigning monarch to our screens. The historical drama portrayed Queen Elizabeth as a staunch defender of royal tradition, even if it meant leaving some members of the royal family unhappy at times.

Imelda Staunton as the Queen in Season 5 of The Crown
Imelda Staunton as the Queen in Season 5 of The Crown

Interestingly, this wasn’t Staunton’s first experience playing a character possessing immense authority. She previously ruled Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry as Defence Against the Dark Arts Professor, Dolores Umbridge. However, this stint was characterized by the cruelty of her despotic character.


Read more: “I’m so frustrated with you!”: Harry Potter’s Original Casting Director Quit Over Daniel Radcliffe’s Hiring

How Harry Potter Director Helped Imelda Staunton Play The Horrible Professor Dolores Umbridge

In Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Imelda Staunton‘s Professor Dolores Umbridge clashes with Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe) after refusing to teach defensive spells. As the story progresses, fans are left stunned by the authoritarian and evil side of Dolores.

Imelda Staunton and Daniel Radcliffe
Imelda Staunton and Daniel Radcliffe

The character is considered one of the most despised fictional figures ever because of her brutal methods as well as her prejudiced views toward Muggles.


During an appearance on EW‘s Binge podcast, the Crown star revealed she needed help from director David Yates to convey the true wicked nature of Dolores.

“He made it very clear to me and said, ‘Look, this woman is into ethnic cleansing,’ and that’s quite political,” Staunton recalled. “He said, ‘That’s what this is, the pure-bloods and all that.’ I thought, ‘Christ, of course that’s what it is,’ so it became very serious. That’s when you go, ‘Right, I’m not just a lady in a very nice array of pink outfits. This is madness and cruelty dressed up.'”

The experienced actress did manage to brilliantly embrace her character, which served an important purpose in the story. However, one scene involving the professor and Radcliffe’s character was so intense, it made her feel bad for a few days.

Read more: “It was a very weird film to make”: Harry Potter Star Daniel Radcliffe Had to Constantly Apologize to His Co-Stars for His Most Controversial Movie


Which Harry Potter Scene With Daniel Radcliffe Left Imelda Staunton Shocked?

After Harry disagrees with the Ministry of Magic’s stance, Dolores subjects him to a brutal detention where he is asked to write the phrase “I must not tell lies” repeatedly with a Black Quill.

Imelda Staunton and Daniel Radcliffe in a still from Harry Potter and The Order of The Phoenix
Imelda Staunton and Daniel Radcliffe in a still from Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

The dark object writes with the blood of the person using it instead of requiring ink. Further, it cut the words written with it into the writer’s hand. Staunton recalled the scene:

“… I have to say, the most difficult scene to do, which did leave me feeling pretty bad for a couple days, was actually the scene where I make him do the lines and it happens in his hand.” 

What frightened the 67-year-old even more was her character’s belief that whatever she was doing was good.


Written by Vishal Singh

Articles Published: 514

Vishal Singh is a Content Writer at FandomWire. Having spent more than half a decade in the digital media space, Vishal specializes in crafting engaging entertainment- and sports-focused stories. He graduated from university with an honors degree in English Literature.