LA Times: Michael Gambon “Sees No Point in Reading” Harry Potter Books by JK Rowling


Jul 13, 2009

Posted by SueTLC

Over the years, one topic of debate hotly discussed in our fandom has been actor Michael Gambon and his portrayal of Professor Albus Dumbledore in the Harry Potter film series. Adding fuel to the fire has been his previous comments over the years regarding his deliberate choice to not read the source material found in the works of author J.K. Rowling. Michael Gambon repeats those same sentiments tonight in a candid interview with the LA Times Hero Complex blog, and also claims that apparently Ralph Fiennes (Lord Voldemort) and Alan Rickman (Severus Snape) have not read the books as well. There are many quotes of interest (SPOILER CAUTION) from the article as follows:

The choice not to read Rowling’s book series, he explains, is deliberate and he points out that costars Ralph Fiennes and Alan Rickman haven’t taken up the books either.

“You’d get upset about all the scenes it’s missing from the book,
wouldn˜t you?” Gambon said via phone from New York, where he was
promoting the opening this Wednesday of the sixth “Potter” film. “No
point in reading the books because you’re playing with [screenwriter] Steve Kloves’ words.”

And Kloves, along with director David Yates, have demanded an intense Dumbledore, who in the fourth film physically shook Harry when the boy wizard’s name wound up in the Goblet of Fire.
It’s a characterization that isn’t as pronounced in the book –
Dumbledore doesn’t yank and jostle his star student, for starters –
and it upset many “Potter” fans.


“He’s got to be a bit scary,” Gambon said of his Dumbledore.
“All headmasters should be a bit scary, shouldn’t they? A top wizard
like him would be intimidating. And ultimately, he’s protecting Harry.
Essentially, I play myself. A little Irish, a little scary. That’s what
I’m like in real life.”

The actor says the enormity of the “Potter” phenomenon hit him again
recently at the London premiere of “Half-Blood Prince’ where more than
4,000 kids turned up to get a glimpse of the magical cast. Gambon
called it both heartwarming and bittersweet.

“I was really moved by the number of children there. It was raining
and everyone was drenched, some of them had been there for hours. You
feel responsible for them in a way. All their books and pieces of paper
for autographs were all wet, the pens wouldn’t work. It was so sad. It
makes you realize how big this thing is.”

The filming of the final Harry Potter movies, “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
is underway but Gamon’s contributions aren’t schedule until
February. He says that makes it feel as if the end is still far away
for him, but he has already begun to reflect on the experience.

“It’s been,” he said, “a real privilege.

152 Responses to LA Times: Michael Gambon “Sees No Point in Reading” Harry Potter Books by JK Rowling

Avatar ImageErinM says: Wow...mixed emotions here. I sure would have thought he would have given more props and respect to JKR but I do understand that he's acting for the movie. Buy hey, with no story, there's no movies :)Avatar Imagecghambright says: I love Michael Gambon's portrayal of Dumbledore. I think he's awesome. It's kind of disappointing that he, Alan Rickman, and alot of the adult actors haven't read the books. But it's understandable. I mean he's really busy and I'm sure he only wants to focus on what's in the script. I can't wait to see HBP!! Only 1 Day left!! Avatar ImageJohn-Robert says: iiii didnt know alan rickman didnt read them. Avatar Imagegot2lovme says: i could kinda understand his point of view. I started out watching the movies before getting into the books, Now whenever i watch a movie, i am commenting how this and that wasn't on it. So i could see why he feels that way.Avatar ImageMagicDucks says: I'm personally more disappointed that Alan Rickman hasn't read them. He's one of the best adult actor in the movies, in my opinion. Him and Maggie Smith. I still think they all need to read them, though.Avatar ImageEkhetrima says: Very odd. I think the book would have been given these actors a much better look into their characters, but... I am not an actor so what in the world do I know of such things. :)Avatar ImageKateKintail says: I'm disappointed in any actor who won't read everything he/she can get their hands on that might help their character portrayal. They don't have to act just like a book character but the more an actor knows, the more he can draw from in a performance. At least then he/she'd have many choices about how to say a line, etc. It feels disrespectful and lazy to me. But, then, I don't like to see characters go too far out of character in fics either.Avatar ImageShostak says: I personally think he portrays Dumbledore better than the Dumbledore they had for the first and second film. I feel sorry for him, but am still glad we found Michael Gambon.Avatar ImageHPNAIV says: I guess it's his choice... I have nothing else to say. He seems good in HBP though. Seems like he doesn't yell as much.Avatar ImageLaurenmyrtle says: Sigh. I disagree with Gambon's portrayal and his attitude about the whole matter, along with the way the screenwriter and director seem to be pushing it. It's really quite sad, what they've done to a loving and whimsical character who was brilliant and powerful without ratting students around. Book Dumbledore commands attention and respect with his presence and skill with magic, not with his fists. The difference is, Alan Rickman is a perfect Snape, at least in my opinion. If he can breathe life into such a complex character without reading the books, that's fine with me. As long as the character we loved so much in the book is done justice on the screen, it doesn't matter to me how they get to that point. Point fingers all you want, Gambon, but Rickman is doing a whole lot better than you are. They're both missing out though. Avatar Imageeaglephot says: Bittersweet interview. I can see his point about being sad about what is in the books and what ISN'T in the movies. Steve Kloves words. Exactly. Not a fan of Steve Kloves here and NOT happy he is doing Deathly Hallows. HOWEVER, I should see HBP before I judge. I'll give him one more chance. I'll ALWAYS favor Richard Harris over Gambon. But Harris wouldn't have been able to continue on this long. Should have started with Gambon to begin with.Avatar ImageWicked_Lady says: He doesn't have to act scary, shake harry, or yell at the students to be intimidating. Avatar ImageJadeDanielle says: I don't believe he needs to be "scary" at all. But I don't suppose my opinion matters in the slightest ;)Avatar Imagebookishgal says: At least he is honest. I wonder if he will read them when he's finally done filming?Avatar Imagebudgie says: Maybe it would confuse them to have two stories when only one is being filmed. They should eventually read them though.Avatar Imageakcorr says: That probably the first time I've felt like he enjoys playing Dumbledore. He also gets points for acknowledging the fan's passion for the books/films.Avatar ImageOuroboros says: I wish we could have seen Richard Harris more in the Potter series as Dumbledore. I think it's too hard to say who I like better. Did Richard Harris ever read the books that were out before his death? I don't know. I'm not sure if anyone knew either. Mr. Harris' Dumbledore was soft spoken and kind, which is perfect I think for those first two films where the kids are very young. Headmaster's aren't as hard on younger kids, right? Harry has grown up though which I think gives this excuse for this more harsh and complicated Dumbledore. And Dumbledore does become that way in the books too as we get closer to the truth about him and his family and what not. I think it worked out well that Mr. Gambon's Dumbledore is the way it is despite him not reading the books. I mean, there's no lie that I love Alan Rickman's Snaoe more than his Dumbledore any day but the magic of an actor is what they bring from a few lines on a script with their performance. Naturally, though, I'd prefer every one of the cast and crew to be fans but it's unrealistic to demand that the read the book series even if just to have a better understanding of the characters. Even if we think the books are great. Ultimately, it's his choice and maybe Potter isn't his cup of tea in literature. But he understands how much we love the books, as he shows, and I think he's right. It's hard to read the books and go see the movie or whatever and your favorite scene or line isn't in it.Avatar ImagePigmyPuffPie says: I guess the director could guide if the potrail is totally off.Avatar ImageTamyris says: I like Michael, but I don´t like hiom as Dumbledore and it would help him to get the essence of the character if he read the books. Just bc Alan and Ralph don´t read the books it doesn´t mean Michael doesn´t have to read them. In my opinion they are losing a great opportunity to know their characters better and have a great fun.Avatar ImageMac31 says: This is why he's such a terrible Dumbledore. Richard Harris did an amazing portrayal of Dumbledore. In the first 2 movies, Harris set the mood for Dumbledore and after his passing, Gambon utterly and completely destroyed the entire character. You can't just walk in and ignore an already established character and make him however you want. Dumbledore does not need to be forceful to his students (especially Harry) in order to be intimidating. If Gambon had read the books, he would UNDERSTAND THAT. His knowledge of the character he portrays is sadly lacking and it is he and only he that ruins the movies for me. I can say whatever about Alan Rickman, but the fact is he makes an awesome Snape. He somehow got the essence of the character even without reading the books and Gambon obviously has not. Avatar Imagelau399 says: I think he is doing a great job though!!!!!!! I hated him on Goblet of Fire but he was amazing in POA and OOTP.......Avatar ImageBritski says: I still love Harris better. The dressing of his portrayal and everything is quite sad. There is not a twinkle in his eyes. Avatar Imagepixi_jo says: I totally understand why he wouldn't want to read the books. There are plenty of actors who don't read the source material when going into a role so that they can do a fresh interpretation.Avatar Imagegryffindor1991 says: I like him as Dumbledore. But I did like Richard Harris a little bit better.Avatar Imagemommaweasley says: I don't know...look at the character of Luna- she's an avid fan, has read the books multiple times and her character is spot on. Also, the trio has read the books and they all seem to "get" the characters and do a good job in their portrayal. Not so much with Gambon- he says he is acting like himself- the trouble with that is he's supposed to be acting like Dumbledore- not Gambon. Avatar Imagelmb3 says: I think Michael Gambon is great as Dumbledore. I just can't picture Richard Harris' Dumbledore in that battle with Voldemort at the end of OotP. It was almost like Harris was playing Dumbledore as a frail old man. Though Dumbledore may be approaching 150 years old, I never thought of him as a frail old man in the book. People always bring up the GoF scene when he grabs Harry after he is selected Champion. I thought in the book, Dumbledore was taking it far too well. He should have been a little freaked out and upset. The person who was the key to saving the world was suddenly put in mortal danger. I think that was cause enough to get a little upset. The other one I hear complaints about are the scene in OotP when Umbridge tries to get rid of Trelawney. In the book, Dumbledore gets to bring in Firenze, and end the scene being very please with himself for sticking it to her. In the movie, he’s frustrated with her and angry he is losing control of his school. He doesn’t get to have the last laugh. If he had walked away all smile, it would have come off as if he didn’t care what was going on. Just my opinion.Avatar ImageTonks1 says: Well, well, well; now we know why he does such a poor portrail of our beloved Albus Dumbledore I agree with lauremyrtle. Our Dumbledore commands respect portrays his power by his stateure. He can be intimidating or whimsical with his body language and his beautiful blue eyes. Doesn't have to sercume to violance. Don't even get me started on the clothes. He looks like a bag lady in male form. They could have at least have him dress properly. Well we shouldn't cry over spilt milk as they say. Alan Rickman does a great job as Snape, but, I think Snape is younger in the books. I hope he does that scene in D.H. with Harry, Voldy, and Nagini justice. Going to the midnight showing. Happy Harry Potter to all. Enjoy!!!! P.S. Sorry for any misspellings.Avatar ImageUntitled says: I don't think Dumbledore was ever meant to be 'scary', Gambon I think is wrong on that part of trying to make Dumbledore 'scary'. The students respect him, they don't fear him. His portrayal of Dumbledore seems very rough to me, and even though I don't really like his portrayal I've sort of gotten used to it. Of course, the writing of the script also has something to do with the change of Dumbledore's character so its not entirely his fault : / I wish he had read the books, or at least one of them to get a rough just of the character. I'm surprised Rickman hasn't read the books, but I think he portrays a wonderful Snape, so I guess he didn't really need to. It'd still be cool if he did read them though. Sort of late now though, haha.Avatar Imagephoenixes are in ravenclaw says: I love in the junket when he said, "Is the knitting pattern part in the book?" He should read them afterwards!!Avatar Imagesunlitdays says: BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO stupid. im sorry, but cmon. Avatar Imagelalashamo says: I don't remember when I read this, but a while back I recall reading an interview with Jo talking about the movies, and I'm pretty sure she said she had a sit down with Alan Rickman to give him insight into Snape's character with information that hadn't been published yet so that he could fully portray Snape in the movies. I even remember reading an interview with Alan Rickman shortly before the release of DH and he mentioned wanting the book to be released so he wouldn't have people bothering him for the information he was bestowed by Jo. I thought I read that he had read the books to get the character, but even if he didn't, I think the sit down with Jo to understand the character more than makes up for it.Avatar Imagezoltan42 says: It is not uncommon for actors to avoid reading the original source material. The standard reason I've seen is they don't want any preconceptions on the character, feeling it is best to draw the performance from the script and the interaction between them and the director and other actors. I admit I can't remember concrete examples at this point. Avatar ImageAbaebae77 says: This guy is gonna get a lot of crap thrown at him, especially from the real die hard fans. He's got no right in saying this, the books have been here before the movies, and the books are probably much more popular. Avatar ImageMugglejeff says: He is growing on meAvatar Imagerotfang07 says: Gambon is great in HBP, no worries there, he totally dominates the final part of the film. He's also known for mischief-making. Fiennes said in an interview he'd read GoF, or at least the scenes he was in. Rickman probably did the same for PS too, and as has been posted was told about Snape's motivation by Jo herself. Most actors are lazy, I know far too many of them, but they also like to play and be creative, and they definitely do NOT like having to slavishly copy the character as s/he appears in a book!! There are plenty of instances in the series (GoF & OotP), where Dumbledore appears scary to Harry but his rage is aimed at Crouch jnr and Umbridge, for instance, so Harry's not affected, despite noting it.Avatar ImageWolfsbane07 says: i hate him as dumbledore....hhes way to harsh in his portrayal....Avatar ImageBeAchL0veEr05 says: I'm probably one of the biggest critics on Michael Gambon, and this didn't help my opinion. I think Dumbledore is a pretty complex character, not to mention he is my second favorite character (Harry is first) so I would like the wise, brilliant, kind Dumbledore instead of the harsh one. Dumbledore is a headmaster, but he is not supposed to be scary- that's one of his qualities. I wish Gambon would have read the books, but at least he is honest. "The truth is a beautiful and terrible thing and should therefore be treated with great caution." -Dumbledore, Book 1 ^^ and in this case, the truth is terrible! :PAvatar ImageUpToNoGood7 says: If Gambon wants to be at a disadvantage, if he wants most of the audience to know more about his character than he does...I guess that's his right. Frankly, I wince whenever he's doing that whole terse and scary Dumbledore thing. He doesn't have the kind of wistful humor that I cherished most about Dumbledore. Gambon just doesn't strike me as someone who sees the good in people and enjoys a nice lemon drop. It's such a shame.Avatar ImageKezzabear says: I saw HBP last night and Gambon was brilliant. Avatar ImageGarden State Geek says: He is a jack-a** and he's not playing the Dumbledore that Jo wrote. Grrrr. Avatar Imagequoddy says: I guess if criticism was flying left, right, and centre I wouldn't exactly want to suddenly give in to it. That's just how I feel. I'm sort of used to him now, though. If he does alright tomorrow in HBP, I'll probably be over it.Avatar ImageKezzabear says: @Garden State Geek - No he's been playing the Dumbledore Kloves wrote. He does play Rowling's Dumbledore in Half Blood Prince.Avatar Imagesnapsforsnape says: I was listening to an Interview with Alan Rickman from a long time ago (2003?) and he said he read them as he went along with the movies.Avatar Imagebettb says: The blame for the out-of-character Dumbledore of recent movies -- esp. GOF and OotP, in my opinion -- must be shared between screenwriters, directors, and actors. In OotP, Dumbledore stalks out of the Hogwarts courtyard, yelling back at the students, "don't you all have STUDYING to do?!" Ridiculous. I considered that right up there with the shaking of Harry in GOF; they are not the behavior of the whimsical, brilliant, loving Dumbledore. I don't expect Gambon to read the books; we're stuck with his lazy approach at this point. I will only say that from the clips of HBP, so far, it looks like Yates has dragged the right approach out of him this time. We'll see. In two more days!!Avatar ImageVeeoler says: snapsforsnape, I think I just saw the same interview a few days ago. Was it this? Imagemollywobble says: I think it's interesting that even after reading the 7th book, we still see Dumbledore as this kind, grandpa-figure, when in reality he was actually quite manipulative. He was quirky and whimsical, but he also had no problems whatsoever using people for his own means. Yes, his means were to ultimately destroy evil, but he still used people without tell them his ultimate plan. It's why Harry comes out the better man in this series. This is why Gambon's previous performances don't bother me anymore. Dumbledore has much more than just whimsy bubbling under the surface. The man likes to be in control, so I don't think it's completely out of character if Dumbledore over reacts when he feels out of control. In fact, psychologically, it makes more sense than him being calm, collected Dumbledore. As for Gambon not reading the book, he's been acting for a long time, and he's extremely successful. Perhaps this is how he prepares for all his roles. As much as we love these characters and the books, I don't think we should take it personally that he prepares for roles differently than we think he should. Avatar ImageWON_TWO says: I dunno about this....Avatar Imagekira902k says: Ugh. Michael Gambon. He has his moments, but seriously, SHAKING harry PHYSICALLY? THe opposite of what the real dumbledore would do. And refusing to read the books? So silly. Avatar ImageT-Vey says: "Despite having deliberately mislead an interviewer (something Gambon enjoys doing often, to mix things up a bit), he has read the books, as evidenced in the Prisoner of Azkaban interviews." http://en. Michael_Gambon ummmm... now I'm really confused!! If Gambon is trying to mislead us, he's doing a pretty good job!Avatar Imageginnyrocks314 says: maybe if he'd actually read the books he'd realize that dumbledore isn't supposed to be threatening...he's supposed to be whimsical...yes he has his serious moments, but its always more of a silent intimidation rather than physically manhandling his students...super disappointingAvatar Imagemollywobble says: Guys, Gambon has said for years that he's never read the books. This isn't a new revelation. I think after 4 years or so we can let it go. Avatar ImageT-Vey says: I personally like Gambon's portrayal as Dumbledore MUCH more than the "perfect, calm, collected, wise" Dumbledore of Harris, imo. We all know that the Dumbledore from the books was, well... mad and brilliant simultaneously, and most importantly flawed! (Plus, I always had to turn up the volume whenever Richard Harris came on screen)Avatar Imagemaera-kyrie says: I understand that they would get very annoyed about the differences and omitted bits- possibly even more than I- but I do wish they would read them, all the same.Avatar ImageKezzabear says: His treatment of Harry is awesome in HBP. I honestly hope you all are as impressed with his portrayal as I was. He's at times whimisical, manipulative and despondant. His reactions to a treatment of Harry are great in this movie, they really are.Avatar ImageCalamity Jamie says: Gambon's arrogance explains why he sucks as Dumbledore. Every time I see Richard Harris in the first two, I mourn him - as does everyone I know. Gambon should feel lucky to be a part of the saga - so many other actors were suggested for the part. I wish it had gone to Harris understudy, as so many suggested, or Ian McKellan. His performance is the only sore spot in the third through fifth films (especially in GoF, for the reasons mentioned above). As for the others not reading the stories, whether or not that's true - and we only have Gambon's word - it is known that Alan Rickman has had several explicity conversations with JK Rowling about how to play the part. It's pretty obvious from his comments that Gambon has no appreciation for the source material.Avatar Imagekraamerxmich says: I really enjoy Micheal Gambon as Dumbledore...I mean, be serious, do you really think that the first Dumbledore could have pulled off the fighting scenes? It looked as if he has hard enough time walking! However, I think before anyone is hired as an actor/actress for a movie franchise based on a series, they should HAVE to read the seems quite fair really...its all a matter of getting into character.Avatar ImageWolfheart says: Erg... I found reading this to be very... distasteful. Gambon has no way to reference the "real" Dumbledore from the books; he can only trust the word of Kloves and Yates. If he actually knew Dumbledore's personality from the books, he might be able to combine the book representation with the character that Kloves has been aiming for.Avatar ImageCalynthe says: I really think it's a shame that Gambon feels that way. Even if he doesn't portray Dumbledore faithfully to the books, he could do a bit better. And if he's worried about bits being left out, he should learn to suck it up like the rest of us. I'm surprised Alan Rickman hasn't read them - I was sure he had. If Gambon could portray Dumbledore as well as Rickman does Snape, I wouldn't care. Though I do supose the fact that Rickman mostly just has to act like a big greasy git helps... I'm a bit miffed that Gambon says he plays Dumbledore like he would be himself. As if he could live up to the awesomeness of Dumbledore! ;)Avatar Imagekenmarekestrels93 says: I think if he played Dumbledore as well as Rickman played Snape, things would be fine...also it seems like he genuinely doesn't care about the 'true' Dumbledore of the books. And Dumbledore's supposed to be intimidating because of his power and eccentricity and stuff, not for manhandling people. "Essentially, I play myself"... isn't that what rookie actors are supposed to do??Avatar ImageKarliMeaghan says: It's been said, but I recall hearing Alan Rickman in an interview discuss how he read the book along with whichever movie they were filming. Also he's awesome as Snape. Again, it's been said, but it can't be said enough.Avatar ImageNyssaM says: see even if fiennes and rickman haven't read the books they understand their characters and it works both with the movie and the books, not so with gambon who should know that DUMBLEDORE of all people is NOT scary (unless you're hurting someone) thats why everyone loves Dumbledore- he's approachable to the students and he offers them candy- how can that work with a guy who "should be" a bit scary... sigh... mind you, i feel like (based on the previews) he might have done Dumbledore right this time around- and if he does then kudos- and if he continues it ESPECIALLY for the end of DH then i can say- he didnt need to read the books either, but based on movie 3 and 4 especially, he should have read them...Avatar ImagesHeLbsS says: i still think gambon does a good job...i mean...he was kind of harsh in the 4th movie..but when you see him in the 3rd he is just as corky as the book dumbldore. i can't wait to see how he plays him in the HBP! And Alan Rickman was told the whole background info on Snape so he still understands whats going on. He even puts in little clues in the scenes. they are barely noticeable but you catch them if you pay attention a bit.Avatar Imagesidnandragin says: Like most, I have mixed feelings.. Sometimes his Dumbeldore is such a conundrum. I personally liked Richard Harris as Dumbledore. He had a mysterious quality and a poker face without all the drama that Gambon displays. Oh well, that is the movie industry for you... You would think the adults would advocate literacy by encouraging younger persons to read. Nice.Avatar Imagepansy parkinson says: I can see his point, but it's sad because he should realize we're all comparing him to the books, so he might do well to read them. But if I were him I may be in the same opinion.Avatar ImageCaracticus says: I miss Richard Harris :-( He was so much better than Mr. G: especially that scene at the end of CoS, where he looks over the top of his half moon spectacles in that way at Lucius that you KNOW that Lucius better not dare do any more hanky panky... may he rest in peace. but if the directors have TOLD Mr. Gambon to be a freak, well, then, we have to lay some of the blame at their feet.Avatar Imagesinwillys822 says: at least he is honest, and i can honestly say that sometimes when i watch the movie and see some scenes out i am telling friends that it would have run more smoothly if they put this certain scene in or something. Avatar Imagepottershrink says: "Essentially, I play myself" - point made. Disappointed that Alan Rickman hasn't read the books, but as LaurenMyrtle notes, he plays Snape as he is written. And he has taken time out to chat to Jo about the characterisation. There are very specific moments in the text when Harry notes that Dumbledore looked so angry and powerful that he finally understood why it was that people said, "Dumbledore was the only one Voldemort ever feared". And NONE of these moments is when Dumbledore is dealing with Harry! Also, for the record, Yates didn't direct Goblet of Fire, so he was not the one urging Gambon on to half-throttle and yell at Harry. I find that, under Yates' direction, Gambon has reigned in his "intensity".Avatar ImageKezzabear says: I think Goblet of Fire suffered from some truly misguided direction. Yates has done wonders to bring Dumbledore back from what Newell did. Please, I'm telling you, his HBP Dumbledore is wonderful. It really is. Yates has read the book. Yates has directed something powerful here. Gambon's pulled it off.Avatar Imagedeadtree says: I really like Gambon's Dumbledore, and I understand where he's coming from, but if I were an actor I'd want to research all the roots of my character--which, interestingly, is what just about ALL of the young actors have done. Avatar Imageoboenerd says: I am astonished that professionals in the field of performing arts would not do every thing in their power to ensure they are performing to the best of their abilities. As a musician I will read several different scores and parts of an orchestral excerpt and listen to as many different recordings as I can before I even attempt to practice an exceprt, much less audition on one. I consider it highly unprofessional that fellow performing artists wouldn't do the same.Avatar Imagevandy says: Gosh! Gambon.. Please don't compare yourself with Alan Rickman and Ralph... They do justice to their parts.. unlike you... C'mon just because Dumbledore is a headmaster it doesn't mean that he has to be scary..Avatar Imagevespasian68967 says: Yeah, Dumbledore or any headmaster should be 'scary' but not in such a way that a student fears they're going to get beat up by them! There's 'scary abusive' and then there's 'scary intimidating.' Intimidating because of their age & knowledge & unknown qualities; again not scary because they're going to fly off the handle & start choking a student to death! Sigh. At least I can't blame it all on Gambon; this is the first I've heard about how Kloves wants DD portrayed. Now he's on the list too. :)Avatar ImageFigment says: I have a feeling that they may all eventually read them after all the movies are made. I understand where Mr. Gambon is coming from, but I think he would have read it for better understanding of the character he was playing.Avatar ImageNuttyAsSP says: To quote Spock; "Fascinating." This would explain the scene where Snape shoves Ron and Harry's head. I dunno, I suppose, the actors are paid to do what the director wishes and not to interpret the books.Avatar ImageThe Hollow says: I once recall an interview of Richard Harris referring to Dumbledore as a Christ-like figure, yet we know that that is not who Dumbledore is. So, it shows that even if actors understand their characters at a certain point, that is not so. There have been several times in the books where Dumbledore has come across as scary (especially in the eyes) to Harry. Therefore, Gambon gets points. The Dumblefore in the 7th book (who meets Snape in secret about Lily and James) is somewhat scary. And evident from the last book, there was a lot not known about Dumbledore. How could Gambon (of years past) have had that sense of characterization and still played the character the script and directors wanted? It would seem pointless to read the book and also the script at the same time. For starters, if an actor read the books and the script together, there would be a chance of messing up his lines, confusing the actor. Also, considering the films have taken the series into slightly different directions, it would seem irritating to read stuff in the books and then learning to act a different way due to changes and cuts. Some people don't work that way. Good for those who did read the books and scripts. But in the end, it is the screenwriter's work (not the author's) that the actor is being paid to read and perform. Anyways, Gambon is a great Dumbledore. I truly liked how he had concern for those at the screenings during the rainstorm...and I liked how he feels its a priviledge to be in the films. He loves working in them, so quit baffling about him in rude manners. I wonder what Daniel Radcliffe would think if he saw some of the comments about a guy he truly liked working with in the 6th film.Avatar ImageThe Hollow says: I'd also like to comment...How many here have went to sites like Sparknotes for synopsis for their book assignments rather than read the actual books? How many care to confess? Those who live in glass houses should never throw stones...especially from the inside!Avatar ImageGeorgesHufflepuff says: I respect Gambon's performance of Dumbledore if that is how he is written in the screenplay, and I also respect his choice not to read the book. However, I think it is wrong to play Dumbledore scary because "all headmasters should be a bit scary". The point is that Dumbledore was different than other headmasters. He is the one man that Harry looked to and revered throughout his whole school career. And even though we found out that Dumbledore was not always the whimsical, grampa type in the last book... we didn't find much of that out until the last book. Save the scary performance for the last film and give us a twist on the character we, like Harry, thought we knew.Avatar Imagesianletley says: They should all have read the book so as to kno where every1 is comin from Avatar ImageLuce_depp says: honestly Gambon only really got it wrong with GoF. Other than that, POA and Ootp he was dumbledore for me. Remember JKR woul;d have told him alllll about Dumbledore jsut like she did for Alan Rickman an Snape. (she sat him down after he got the part and obviously shared with him the Prince's tale.) Other than that i don't think he's done such a horrible job that everyone goes on and on about. HBP seems to be very dumbledore like, so i think h's doing it well. I think he had the wrong idea about how DD is supposed to be tired and weary and he took it as anxious etcAvatar Imageiceymoon says: true it would be disappointing to see certain scenes missing, but isn't that more of a personal disappointment? if you're committed to the job, then you do what's best for the job, not for how it would affect you personally (especially on such a superficial level, it's not like it would affect his physical or emotional health). knowing more about the essence of dumbledore would have probably given him deeper insight into how he is in the films. even if he was always going to be different in the films, at least he would understand how he is different, and maybe also be able to think more about why he would be different.Avatar ImageSeaJay says: POSTERS STOP BEING LAZY! PLEASE STOP BLAMING GAMBON FOR DOING WHAT NEWELL WANTED! I am a great admirer of Sir Michael Gambon, he is one of the UK greatest living actors. He is also very eccentric and mischievous as I am sure Dan can testify. An actor must do what the script and the director demand - that is what they are paid to do. Mike Newell directed GoF and decided that it would be a 'hero in peril' movie and the hero does not know it. Newell said he wanted it to be like Hitchcock's North by Northwest. Newell needed Dumbledore to be desperately worried about Harry in order for the audience to also be worried, otherwise Harry's name being in the cup seemed like no big deal (unless you had read the books).Avatar ImageMinihippogriff says: Wow. This makes me like Michael Gambon even less.Avatar ImageThe Hufflepuff Giraffe says: Oh come on, Gambon, just about everyone else in the cast has read the books and they all do their jobs just fine. And I understand how 'no point in reading the books' makes sense in context, but, I mean, it's not just that the books would give him great back-story, it's also just that they're amazing! I don't understand how he doesn't see what he's missing. Avatar Imagebecmajec says: i get it but still...Avatar ImageKezzabear says: @SeaJay - word. Watch HBP before you all diss Gambon too. At least please wait the next few hours and see what you think then.Avatar ImagenoxiousCaitSith says: he didn't need to act intimidating. dumbledore is supposed to have a calm personality, and the fact that he is really gifted and intelligent is enough intimidation for most.Avatar ImageVerity Weasley says: I kind of understand his point about not reading the books because he's acting Steve Klove's version and it might be difficult to reconcile the conflicts, but I still think it would give him a deeper understanding of the character, which his portrayal clearly lacks.Avatar Imagehanname says: I think ha has a point. It would be hard to potray the Dubledore the movies need, if he had a totally different picture in his mind based on the books. I still think he is just an actor and he just needs to do the acting well. If he read the books and loved them it would be a bonus. But it's just a fact that some people don't find anything for them in the books and it's unavoidable that some of the people involved in making the films would feel indifferent toward the books.Avatar ImageJackHarkness says: Er - why does everyone forget that Richard Harris ALSO didn't read the books? Sad that the selective memories and therefore subtle Gambon-bashing has now reached the news pages on Leaky.Avatar ImageAllium says: No wonder he's such a rubbish Dumbledore. Makes me wonder if David Yates has ever really read the books either if he wants an aggressive Dumbledore.Avatar Imagecrystal_blue says: I've also thought highly of Gambon's Dumbledore. I know a lot of people don't like it, but I just don't understand why. It's hard to replace an actor, and I think he's done a good job. I know he says things in interviews that he probably shouldn't say, but that's nothing new. Most actors say stuff they shouldn't.Avatar ImageJackHarkness says: Here we go. From Richard Harris: (when asked if he had read the "Harry Potter" books) Richard: I haven't, even today I haven't read them. Not because they're not grand, I know they're great. I love the script, but I don't read fiction, it's as simple as that. There's more fiction in my life than in books, so I don't bother with them. Avatar Imageroby_boh says: Well, I really don't care if they read or not the book..but I admit I don't like him very much as Dumbledore, but I guess it's due to the fact that I found the previous actor who played the character simply perfect and in my mind Dumbledore still has his faceAvatar Imageraisaers says: there's no point? seriously? the point is to understand the character's essence.Avatar ImageGraymayne says: I think the irritating thing about Michael Gambon in the part of Dumbledore as far as I am concerned is his costume. It is drab,thin and totally lacking the style and flamboyance of the character in the book. How can a character be intimidating dressed like that? Think of Lucius Malfoy and Gilderoy Lockhart,both hated characters, but they each radiated self confidence and their costumes were an integral part of their strong image. I do not know who was responsible for Gambon's appearance but it has ruined my enjoyment every time.Avatar ImageKirsikka says: Well, I didn't expect Alan Rickman and the other adults to read the books, I mean, they're more serious and famous actors, and the truth is that it would be weird watching someone at their age reading books like Harry Potter. Anyways, the fact that the movies aren't exactly like the books doesn't mean there's no point in reading them. I still don't get why directors change scenes, it's annoying. What's wrong with sticking to the origin?Avatar ImageKirsikka says: Anyways, it is clearly obvious that he won't think like us. Frankly I've never liked him as Dumbledore, since the third movie I didn't like him.Avatar ImagexxIBelieveInNarglesxx says: Well,i'll never like him as Dumbledore,and the fact that he refuses to read the books doesn't help.I mean: "I play myself"? huh?,i though the point of acting was to play a character.But whatever(though, little evil voice in my head is shouting happily that he'll have an "accident" in HBP and won't be too much in seven, :P:P)Avatar Imagesimdave2000 says: The difference between MG not reading the books and AR not reading the books is that AR actually plays his character very well.Avatar ImageKezzabear says: @ Allium - it was Newell who wanted aggressive Dumbledore. Yates's OotP Dumbledore isn't actually very aggressive. He's stressed out, but not particularly aggressive. @JackHarkness - you think this Gambon bashing is subtle? LOL it's not to me. IMO at least he has a justification for not reading the books. No one said you had to agree with it - and frankly how many of the people commenting are Olivier and BAFTA award winning actors of stage, film and television anyway? The guy runs off at the mouth - he's said some truly odd things in interviews - before OotP springs to mind (I just say what the script tells me to say. I learn the lines and say them – I don’t have much sub-text. There’s no sub-text in Harry Potter really, it’s all magic. Anything can happen.) I trust we all went ape over this gem as well? Either way I think his HBP performance is credible. In fact I think it's very good.Avatar Image-MischiefManaged- says: At about 5 AM this morning my time, I finished reading HBP for the very first time. I'm still crying when I'm writing this. ;-( Despite the fact that I knew the basics of what was going to happen. I can't believe it, I don't want to accept it. I refuse to accept it. He can't be gone, he just can't. ;-( I know I still have the final book to go but... I'm not sure I want to keep reading. Not without Dumbledore around. I know just about everything is probably resolved in DH but right now, I feel like I'm sure most fans here felt when they read HBP for the first time, before DH was out. I feel that Harry stands no chance without Dumbledore. And I feel that I'm not sure I want to read the final book because Dumbledore is no more.Avatar ImageJackHarkness says: Kezzabear - you're right, ultimately the director plays a key role in deciding which way the character will go. Gambon's performances are therefore quite different in each of PoA, GoF and OotP. For me, by far the closest performance to book-Dumbledore that we've had from either actor was Gambon's in PoA. The whimsy, the energy, the sense that he knows more than he lets on and that he's manipulating things. Both of Harris's performances were too old and sleepy, and killed the drama in his scenes. In PoA, Cuaron and Gambon got his role spot-on.Avatar ImageLemonFaerie says: I wonder why he feels the need to justify his refusal to read the books so much. If he truly feels that strongly about it then he should have just said it once and been done with it. Now it feels like arrogance. He can justify it any way he wants, but the fact is his characterization of Dumbledore could have benefitted hugely from a deeper understanding of the true character, which he could only get from the books. Alan Rickman has benefitted from some one-on-one with Jo that has helped him to inform his character and whether he's read the books or not, he's managed to be the perfect Snape. Gambon MUST know that a lot of fans are unhappy with his portrayal of Dumbledore. But rather than decide to work on improving, he's happy to just go along as is, as long as the director seems happy enough, and not work and stretch himself as an actor and not worry about doing his character the justice Dumbledore deserves. I was planning to go into HBP with an open mind, hoping he'd pull it off better this time. I am NOT a fan from the previous three movies he's done, at all, but I've been pretty happy with what's been shown in the trailers and sneak peeks. But now I'm just ticked off by his attitude again. If he doesn't want to read the books, fine, we can't force him to, but then I wish he'd just keep his mouth shut about it instead of making such a point over it and reminding us every time a movie comes out that he won't do it. *sigh*Avatar Imageender650 says: It seems to me that actors would gain a lot more from reading the books than they would lose. Some of the actors (like Evanna) are major fans of the series and it doesn't seem to be negatively affecting their ability to act in the films- if anything its helping because they know the characters so much more.Avatar Imagejenge says: I didn't know that Alan Rickman hasn't read the books, either. With the way he portrays Severus Snape so well, I always assumed he had read them. Avatar Imagejenge says: I didn't know that Alan Rickman hasn't read the books, either. With the way he portrays Severus Snape so well, I always assumed he had read them. Avatar Imagex_Potter_Lover_Forever_x says: No point?! No point?! *NO POINT MY BUM!* XD Sorry, but some of my respect for Michael Gambon has just gone out the window. Firstly, he should have more respect for JK Rowling. He wouldn't have that part if it wasn't down to her in the first place anyway. And he should *at least* read his bit to make sure he is getting the emotions, feelings and overall air that Jo is trying to portray in the books to make sure that, that happens on screen! *Grrrrrr - no point!*Avatar ImageMatea says: well I understand him/them completely. we can't be so selfish and try not to understand them. they are professional actors for many years now,and thats their job. I probably wouldn't read the books either. they had conversations with Jo,directors and everything and I really believe in them as characters. come on- Dumbledore,Snape and Voldemort? We would never guessed that they haven't read the books. I am super happy with them!Avatar Imagemmatthysen says: It amounts to nothing but laziness and arrogance if you portray a character that is based on a book, and you are not even prepared to do some research on that character by actually reading the book. It has nothing to do with the "kind of person" he is, that is why he is an actor, because he is able to be someone else. He has destroyed Rowling's image of Dumbledore to such an extent that the whole death of his character did not have nearly as big an impact on the storyline as it should have had. To me, that amounts to bad acting. And I refuse to believe that Alan Rickman did not read the books, because he portrayed the role perfectly from the very start. But I also blame the director for allowing an actor to portray a character as something he is clearly not meant to be. Gambon ruined the Dumbledore of the movies by his laziness. Avatar ImageKezzabear says: You've seen the impact his death has on the storyline then? You've seen the very powerful scene where Harry mourns? And the last scene of HBP and both DH movies? What a load of tosh. Honestly. HBP's Dumbledore has the whimsical nature of PoA, the manipulative nature that it requires to set up DH and the regard for Harry that we've never seen before from Gambon. I'm not defending his GoF performance as that was ... truly odd. But his HBP one is something to see.Avatar ImageLulaL says: If I were in the movies, I would read the books. Of course, I read them anyway. HOWEVER, I don't care if he reads the books or not. I just wish he was a better Dumbledore. His comments about what Dumbledore should be are TOTALLY wrong, and it really shows in the movies. Avatar ImageNeil in Scotland says: Personally, I find this totally unacceptable. For me, reading the books should be considered basic research into your character. It's no different than an actor spending a couple of weeks at boot camp before they film a war film, or visiting a rehab centre before appearing as a drug addict. And as for what he said about Dumbledore being scary, I agree with Lauren, that's just so wrong. People are intimidated by Dumbledore's very presence, because he projects an air of quiet, unassuming, self-assured power. He doesn't need to throw his weight about.Avatar ImageAliyah95 says: Hmm... I see what he means, but... I think if he read the books he might be a better Dumbledore. I really liked Richard Harris's version of Dumbledore. He played him exactly how I imagined him.Avatar Imagejrivas1284 says: That sad, to know but hey JK have us we love the series...Avatar Imagecunningham7 says: Amen, Laurenmyrtle, you summed up my feelings exactly.Avatar Imagebudb says: Actually, Fiennes in interviews does appear to have closely read the books, at least once, in order to get into character. His comments about what drove and shaped Voldy as a character would only make sense, would only be possible if he had read them. On the other hand, I don't recall seeing many interviews with Rickman at all...which is interesting in itself. Even in the midst of the HBP release, he appears to be missing from interviews and from events. We can only assume its a personal choice (and there are no clauses in his contract requiring he do publicity)? Yet (unlike Gambon) his performance has always been spot on and in character, even the most fleeting of smirks and grimaces.Avatar Imageharrypotterlover10 says: ok, I am kind of mad that he would go out and tell everyone this. I mean I wish he should of given props till J.K. Rowling!! ): ): ): ): But then again I guess he might not have time because of him being a big moviestar. I have mixed fellings.Avatar Imagesindie11 says: Wait, I'm pretty sure that Rickman HAS read the books. Didn't he make reference to that in one of his interviews years ago? While I can understand his point of view, I still think there is more to be gained by actually reading the books and therefore getting to know your character more. You can listen to the screenwriter and director all you want, but part of your understanding of the character you're playing should come from your view of them through what you've read, and you need more than the screenplay for that! Oh, well. What can you do, really? That's why the big fans know that the books are always better. If it weren't for JKR and the books, they wouldn't even have anything for movies!Avatar ImageMuggleborn1184 says: nobody complains about alan rickman not reading the books because his portrayal of his character is accurate. gambon just appears to need a little more help.... as do the directors if in fact he is acting on their direction to be "more intense"Avatar Imagebeewell says: I guess he is right in one way. Having read the stories might influence his portraial of Dumberdore. This way he is doing what he is paid to do...act according to the script. Not saying I like it, but hey, my opinon doesn't count. I feel he could learn more about his character if he read the books.Avatar Imagejalawood says: Ugh, I've always hated this Dumbledore portrayal. Now the actor annoys me too.Avatar Imagemoglet says: Well I think that makes quite a lot of sense, not wanting to be disappointed at things being missed out, and let's face it actors really can't always have read the source material for every role they play. I don't think he sounds as if he is denigrating the books, he has just made a decision which feels right to him. Now I had not been sure about MGs Dumbledore, but I thought that in HBP he was just right, he really seemed like Dumbledore from the book, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.Avatar ImageJrae says: Every now and then book-Dumbledore sneaks back into movie-Dumbledore. The directors have their reasons for changing him. I sure miss his colorful robes, though :(Avatar ImageRavenclaw98 says: you would think the books would help them get more into there chacters. well at least hes honest.Avatar Imagepotterversefan says: Poor Gambon never has had a clue. Just don't mess it up!!Avatar ImageLivelaughlovepotter says: I would think after knowing how amazing the movies are, the actors themselves would take up the books. How is it possible to resist?Avatar Imageluna.quibbler says: hmmm that makes sense of why he is such a bad Dumbledore, Dumbledore is my favourite character and i loved richard harris whereas i'm not so keen on michael gambon... do you reckon it's true alan and ralph hav't read the books??Avatar ImageTamazapam44 says: to all the people complaining, Gambon didn't just walk in and say "this is how i wanna do it!!" he was GIVEN a character. i would much rather see the in-your-face Gambon than the terribly frail Harris Dumbledore....after i saw the first 2 movies, i was very concerned with how Harris would ever swim against strong currents into the locket cave in HBP when he looks like he's a step away from needing to use a walker!Avatar ImageRin68nyr says: I hope he read them when the filming is completed! ErinAvatar ImageMoose_Starr says: So possibly I'm wrong but, I was kind of certain Alan Rickman had read the books because there were interviews and articles and stuff with Alan way back either before the PoA or GoF movie release .. I cant remember which, it was a long time ago but, I know there was a huge discussion about what Alan had said, *because* he had read the book. And, I would disagree with the person saying Richard Harris looks like he's a step away from needing his walker. imo that's incredibly disrespectful to such a huge star. Harris was made up to look older. Sure, he was one of the older actors but, I strongly disagree that he couldnt do powerful, to me he comes across as very powerful in HP and also in non-HP movies where he has powerful roles. And since when does a person need to hit a kid to be *intimidating* ... the comment in that interview is erm, disturbing? I always felt that DDs ability to intimidate was in his calmness. Like when he takes on Tom Riddle, he doesnt pick him up and shake him. He brings him down with a few softly spoken words.Avatar Imagesiriuslyamanda says: I love Alan Rickman! :) <3Avatar ImagetheREALGinnyWeasley says: he really should read the books though...i mean come on!!!!Avatar ImageMimblewimble13 says: “He’s got to be a bit scary," Gambon said of his Dumbledore. "All headmasters should be a bit scary, shouldn’t they?" Totally disagree. One of the signature characteristics of Dumbledore is the fact that he is SO understated in spite of being a powerful wizard. He's only overtly intimidating when he is directly confronting Voldemort or the Deatheaters. If Gambon had read the books, he wouldn't make such ignorant comments. But his choice to be ignorant was deliberate.Avatar ImageMidnightSun321 says: i didnt knw that alan rickman hadnt read them.... it doesnt show.... :) . but gambon should hav read them because dumbledore is such a big character!Avatar ImageMidnightSun321 says: whoa!! nine psges of comments!!Avatar ImageDeliaDee says: First of all, Ralph Fiennes has very specifically said that he's read the books that he is in - meaning the 4th through the 7th books - but that he skated through most of each of the books and focused on the Voldemort portions. Completely understandable, really. I have no idea if Alan Rickman reads them or not but we do know that he has gone to lengths to understand Snape. Jo even said that Alan was the only actor she spoke to with regard to what would happen because he needed to know in order to understand. The thing is that Gambon doesn't want to understand his character. He even said it outright: he's just playing himself. I'm sorry but Gambon is no Albus Dumbledore. And Dumbledore is not just some headmaster anymore than Harry is just a student to him. That's why Gambon does such a crap job. He has no comprehension of who Dumbledore is and refuses to find out. This article has done nothing to make me feel better about his decisions. In fact, he's ticked me off even more. Avatar Imageele0206 says: His view of Dumbledore is completely different from how Dumbledore IS in the books. Dumbledore is not scary, he's a sad, wise, full of regrets man, who always fought for the greater good, and died for that. So, NO, I don't like how Gambon does Dumbledore.Avatar ImageRhondaWeasley says: Richard Harris was still the best Dumbledore overall in my opinion. I mean I understand where he's coming from, but in the "fan" opinion (by and large) Maggie and Snape are mostly written right. The various complaints about Dumbledore becoming to much of a hard nosed headmaster and not enough of the whimsical man we came to love in the books would maybe say 'let me sit down and see if these fans have a point'. I don't care who reads or doesn't read the source material as long as they are getting the character right. But obviously both Gambon and the screenwriter think they can do a better job with Dumbledore than the woman who made us love him in the first place. Avatar Imageizziewitch says: Oh, he just makes me so mad!!! I suppose he doesn't really care about reading the books because for him it's just another acting job, whereas for us the films are precious (not as precious as the books of course). I assume he was told about Snape and the plan before filming HBP, otherwise how could he get the right emotion at the end?Avatar ImageRhondaWeasley says: edit *I meant Mcgonagall and Snape* (not maggie and snape)Avatar Image-MischiefManaged- says: Last night when I was finishing HBP and crying my eyes out, I did wonder, amidst all the tears and going through several tissues, what that pleading tone in Dumbledore's voice meant when he was saying "Severus..." up at the top of the Astronomy Tower... The pleading tone that was more frightening to Harry than anything they had experienced that night. I mean, I was wondering whether Dumbledore was pleading for Snape to save his life, as I think was his plan when he and Harry set off from Hogsmeade, or whether he already knew he was beyond saving and was pleading for Snape to end his life. And after reading this interview, even though I still have the whole of DH to read and I don't want to know anything more about it, I'm feeling a teeny weeny bit less devastated over the loss of Dumbledore.Avatar ImageHermione Elizabeth says: I'm quite surprised that they haven't at least skimmed over the books. I do understand Gambon's point on how if he had read all the books, his performance might not have been as convincing since in the end, Dumbledore's death wasn't murder but rather a plan. I do think that even after they stop filming all the movies, they should read them just to see what is else if missing from the films... since the books are always better. :)Avatar ImageCrazy4Neville says: holy crap. why is micheal gambon like that? actors should always read how their characters are like in the books , and not just rely on the screenwriters words and director's guidance. he should contribute more to the character.Avatar Imagecauldronjane says: Gambon, as speaking from an actor's point of view, does make an interesting point about not reading the books. However, the books are great for promoting literacy, so while Gambon does not wish to read them, it doesn't mean that the general population shouldn't read them.Avatar ImageHealey says: "Essentially, I play myself. A little Irish, a little scary. That’s what I’m like in real life." I'm glad Gambon finally admitted what I've been saying all along: he isn't playing the character of Dumbledore, he is simply playing himself as a wizard. What a pathetic actor.Avatar Imagelunariffic says: Not sure how I feel about this, but Gambon did seem more "Dumbledore-like" in HBP. Avatar ImageWingardium Leviosa says: It's sad that he won't read anything the books; the books would help him so much with portraying Dumbledore. I really don't like how he does Dumbledore, especially in GoF, but he seemed better in HBP. He's still not the quirky Dumbledore I love, though.Avatar Imagehermyone08 says: i thought that alan did read the books, but maybe i got that confused with what jkr told him about snape early on in the series.Avatar Imagehermyone08 says: i thought that alan did read the books, but maybe i got that confused with what jkr told him about snape early on in the series.Avatar Imagegingersnap188 says: alan rickman hasn't read them? but he does snape exactly like in the books! weird...Avatar Imagesiriuslysirius11 says: *sigh* What a stupid excuse. He ruined GoF for me... shaking Harry and screaming and all that... terrible.Avatar Imagemissskye says: What a tard. I can't take his portrayal of Dumbledore. Ugh.

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