Tuesday, March 18, 2008

FILM: Professor McGonagall has Cancer

Maggie Smith, the actress who plays Professor McGonagall in the Harry Potter sagas, has breast cancer. Although, I, as well as her fans, hope she gets better, there is still the question of what will happen to her part if she were too ill to continue filming.

With the recent death of Heath Ledger, which sort of threw his director Terry Gilliam (The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus) for a loop, and even more recent demise of the director Anthony Minghella, who was in the middle of shooting a short for the film New York, I Love You and was about to start filming the adaptation of The Ninth Life of Louis Drax, this question has suddenly become an imminent inquiry in Hollywood.

Gilliam solved his problem by casting Johnny Depp, Jude Law, and Colin Farrell as different versions of the mystical doc that Ledger played. But in 2002, when Richard Harris, the 72-year-old Irish actor who played Albus Dumbledore, died before the other 6 movies were made, the studios decided to replace him with 67-year-old Irish actor Michael Gambon (above). One review from movieweb.com expressed my opinion of his performance perfectly:

"For one, he had a totally different look than the late Richard Harris did as Dumbledore. They changed his wardrobe extensively, even though it had been nearly identical in the first two movies. They obviously couldn't make Gambon exactly like Harris, but the way he portrayed Dumbledore, it was like they wanted to create a totally different character. Gambon was more playful and curious, contrasting the stoic nature that Harris portrayed so nicely in the first two movies. The changes were just too drastic, especially this deep in the series, and especially given the immense popularity of the books and the movies."

I worry about Gambon's drastic change in personality, because Dumbledore has a huge part in The Half Blood Prince and a lot of backstory in the Death Hallows. All of this needs to be laid out poetically and memorably. And with David Yates (Order of the Phoenix) directing the next two films, I'm afraid his story will be butchered. Hence the reason why I'm worried about McGonagall's part. I am definitely not saying that Smith should grin and bear it. I'm just asking for a little more continuity. After such an amazing adventure, I think they owe it to kids (and adults) to make an effort--if it's necessary--to find a proper replacement for the amazing actress. What do you think?

UPDATE: I want to apologize if I've offended anyone. I thought I made it clear that I too hope Maggie Smith gets better, and in no way implied that she was going to die. I agree that she's an amazing actress, which is why I didn't want her performance tainted by some crappy replacement IF they should replace her while she seeks treatment. Once again, sorry if I offended you.

1 comment:

  1. I think it's just indecent to think about that !
    I'm comedian myself and a great admirer of Maggie. I hope she'll recover soon : I care about the marvellous person and the wonderful actress she is, BUT I don't care about a part ! Her life is more important for me than HPotter fans' fun and McGonagall part...
    And I read nowhere she was going to die, luckily she's strong enough to recover, she isn't an old and fragile little lady in real life ! Smith existed before Minerva and will survive her ! But we should hope she'll get well soon instead of trying to find a new Minerva !