Nearly three decades ago, author J.K. Rowling mesmerized readers with the wizarding world of “Harry Potter.” With seven novels, eight original films, three prequel movies, and a Broadway production, the franchise has grown like no other. Even now, as multiple generations continue to debate the merits of Gryffindor and Slytherin, “Harry Potter” keeps expanding. Max (formerly HBO Max) is set to adapt the books into a 10-season series, reviving the beloved characters with a show that promises to stay true to the books.
But do mere Muggles have what it takes to join the ranks of the world’s most wondrous wizards? This guide features everything you need to know about securing your seat in the audition room, including casting tips from the franchise’s most famous veterans.
- What is “Harry Potter” about?
- Who is in the cast of Max’s “Harry Potter”?
- Who is the casting director for “Harry Potter”?
- How does the casting process work for “Harry Potter”?
- When does filming for “Harry Potter” Season 1 start?
- Where can you find “Harry Potter” casting calls and auditions?
- What are the best audition tips for landing a role on “Harry Potter”?
“Harry Potter” begins when the 11-year-old title character, an orphan living with his unkind aunt and uncle, learns he’s a wizard and accepts an invitation to attend the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Harry soon discovers he’s famous throughout the magical community because of his connection to the dark wizard Lord Voldemort. Years earlier, Voldemort had tried to rule the wizarding world, killing anyone who stood in his way, including Harry’s parents. However, when Voldemort attempted to kill one-year-old Harry, his curse rebounded, leaving the young boy with a lightning bolt scar and “He Who Must Not Be Named” gone—or so the wizarding world thought.
Enrolled at Hogwarts, Harry befriends the genial Ron Weasley and the bookish Hermione Granger. The trio become fast friends as they embark on a years-long adventure to vanquish Voldemort and his followers for good. (They even squeeze in a game or two of Quidditch!)
Max’s new “Harry Potter” series will be executive produced by Rowling, Neil Blair (“The Casual Vacancy,” the “Fantastic Beasts” films), and Ruth Kenley-Letts (“The Casual Vacancy,” “C.B. Strike”). David Heyman, who executive produced the “Harry Potter” and “Fantastic Beasts” films, is also expected to join. The decision to have Rowling involved is under scrutiny, due to her ongoing transphobic comments that continue to have a dire impact on the trans community. However, Casey Bloys, chairman and CEO of HBO & Max Content, made this statement about the decision:
“We are in the ‘Harry Potter’ business. The TV show is new and exciting, but we’ve been in the ‘Harry Potter’ business for 20 years; this isn’t a new decision. We’re comfortable being in the ‘Potter’ business. J.K. is a very online conversation…. It’s very nuanced and complicated and not something we’re going to get into. Our priority is what’s onscreen. The ‘Harry Potter’ story is incredibly affirmative and positive about love and acceptance, and that’s our priority, what’s on the screen.”
Although the new series’ cast hasn’t been confirmed, rumors about who will be filling the iconic roles are swirling—just as the Daily Prophet’s Rita Skeeter would like it.
The Scotsman reported the following newcomers and veterans are at the top of the casting list:
- Toby Woolf as Harry Potter
- Bronte Carmichael as Hermione Granger
- Joshua Pickering as Ron Weasley
- Helen Mirren as Minerva McGonagall
- Tom Felton as Lucius Malfoy
- Adam Driver as Severus Snape
- Blair Underwood as Albus Dumbledore
But keep in mind these predictions are speculative. We won’t know the official cast list until it’s been released.
DFree/Fred Duval/Shutterstock/Warner Bros.
At the moment, there are no casting directors attached to Max’s untitled “Harry Potter” series. However, in the past, the film franchise tapped a number of industry veterans for its various installments, including Janet Hirshenson, Jane Jenkins, Susie Figgis, Fiona Weir, and Jina Jay.
We plan to keep you updated when more developments are released.
“Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire” Courtesy Warner Bros. Pictures
Max’s casting process for the “Harry Potter” series remains a mystery; but when it came to casting Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, and Emma Watson as Harry Potter, Ron Weasley, and Hermione Granger in the film franchise, each of the leads had a completely different audition experience.
Director Chris Columbus told Closer Weekly that casting “the boy who lived” was not an easy task. “We had auditioned hundreds of actors for the role of Harry, but with little luck. Then, the first casting director, in a fit of total frustration, threw up her arms and said, ‘I just don’t know what you want!’ Sitting on a shelf in the office was a video copy of [TV mini series] ‘David Copperfield,’ starring Daniel Radcliffe. I picked up the video box, pointed to Dan’s face, and said, ‘This is who I want! This is Harry Potter,’ ” he said.
“We knew from the start that Dan was Harry Potter. He had the magic, the inner depth and darkness that is very rare in an 11-year-old. He also has a sense of wisdom and intelligence that I haven’t seen in many other kids his age,” Columbus added. “We knew we made the right choice after sending [Rowling] a copy of his screen test. Her comment was to the effect, ‘I feel as if I’ve been reunited with my long-lost son.’ ”
As for Harry’s lovable sidekick, Grint said he first auditioned for Ron by sending in a self-tape. “I decided to do my own audition video, pretending to be one of my drama teachers. I dressed up like my teacher, who’s a girl, so it was kind of scary. Then I made up this rap song about how much I wanted to be in the film,” he recalled. “I guess it worked, because I had a bunch of auditions. It was so cool when I was cast. It was the coolest moment in my life. I’d just been doing school plays and stuff. One time, I was a fish in ‘Noah’s Ark,’ and then I was in ‘Harry Potter’—that’s a big step!”
Meanwhile, Watson landed an audition when the casting team visited her school. She told Interview, “There was no open audition—they went all over England to find these characters, and not just drama schools. They came to my school and asked if they could put forward a group of 20 children between the ages of 9 and 12. They took my photograph in the school gym, and then I got a call three weeks later.”
Watson ultimately endured a rather grueling process, auditioning approximately eight times before getting cast. She was convinced she was going to lose the part to someone more experienced. “I won’t say the name, but there was this girl who had already done a film before,” she said. “I can remember just crumbling at the sight of her, thinking, She’s been in a film before, and she knows how to do this. I have no chance.”
Yet somehow, Watson knew she was perfect for the role from the very start. “I loved the books—I was a massive fan. I just felt like that part belonged to me. I know that sounds crazy, but from that first audition, I always knew. At the beginning, they were casting the other characters as well—but I always knew I was going out for Hermione. She came so naturally to me. Maybe so much of myself at the time was similar to her,” she explained. “Of course, all this terrified my parents—there were literally thousands and thousands of girls going out for the audition, and my parents were anxious about what I would do if I didn’t get it.”
“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2” Courtesy Warner Bros. Pictures
With a projected premiere date of 2025 or 2026, the “Harry Potter” series appears to be in the earliest stages of the casting process. Check back here for updates on the show’s reported start date.
“Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone” Courtesy Warner Bros. Pictures
As “Harry Potter” works to cast the main characters, auditions for additional roles haven’t been issued yet. However, you may want to check out these “Harry Potter”–inspired gigs that are currently casting. You can also read up on how to audition for Max or follow our casting notices for up-to-date information on the latest casting calls from the streamer.
“Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban” Courtesy Warner Bros. Pictures
Although Max’s “Harry Potter” series hasn’t revealed its cast, those who originated the iconic characters have plenty of audition advice.
For Grint, the “Harry Potter” set was his first real foray into professional acting. “In terms of training, [I had] nothing….” Grint told us. “But really, when I started ‘Potter,’ being on set and being surrounded by so many amazing actors was an education for all of us, really—just watching how everyone works. And we were so lucky that we had a huge range of different actors and different directors. Through osmosis, when you’re young, you really soak up that stuff. When we finished, it did kind of feel like we were graduating.”
However, to this day, Grint finds self-tapes rather difficult—but he’s found a way to succeed on that front, too. “I struggle with self-tape. I think I’m better in a room with people. Just talking to a screen, especially if you don’t have anyone to do the lines with you, you’re kind of doing a scene with yourself. It’s difficult—I think the more you do, the easier it becomes; you kind of find your groove,” he explained. “If you commit to the character, if you put everything into that and don’t do it half-hearted, it’ll come through. But it’s definitely a challenge, and it’s something I still struggle with, for sure.”
Oscar winner Gary Oldman, who played Sirius Black in the films, has decades of experience in the business, yet when it comes to audition advice, he still remembers one tidbit from his younger days.
“I was very nervous and worried about an audition…. And a young director that I had done a little bit of work with said to me, ‘When you go in to do this audition, you’re probably going to be one of the best actors they’ve seen all week, because you have this thing in your head that you’re less than.’ I still have it,” Oldman told us. “I think it’s the natural thing of the performer, or someone who is creative: egomaniac with low self-esteem. You’ve got to have something that pushes you forward to just get up there in front of people, and yet there’s a vulnerability and insecurity that comes with it.”
He added, “I think that’s what keeps driving you to get better and better and better. But I remember it really helped; it did take the edge off the nerves. And take your time. Breathe and take your time. If they’re horrid to you, then maybe they weren’t worth working for anyway—that’s what matters. That’s why I always think it doesn’t cost very much to be polite and to be nice.”
When the late Alan Rickman, who played Severus Snape, was asked to write a letter of advice to his 16-year-old self for the book “Dear Me,” the acclaimed actor noted that the best idea was not to follow any advice at all. “If, in future years, anyone asks you to give advice to your 16-year-old self…don’t,” he wrote. “Make your own unique messes, and then work your own way out of them.” Considering this new series will likely launch the careers of multiple newcomers, much like the films did for its three leads, Rickman’s “advice” might be the best to remember.