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Tom Felton Pays Tribute to Late Harry Potter Co-Star Robbie Coltrane on His Birthday

Tom Felton, best known for his role as Draco Malfoy in the Harry Potter franchise, has paid tribute to his late co-star Robbie Coltrane on what would have been his 73rd birthday. 

In a heartfelt essay written for E! News, Felton shared memories of his time working with the actor, who passed away in October 2022 from multiple organ failure.

Felton began by reflecting on the unique dynamic between the adult and child actors in the early days of the Harry Potter series. With some actors in their sixties and seventies and others as young as nine, Felton described the cast as being divided into two distinct groups. 

But despite their differences in age and experience, the actors bonded over their shared love for the Harry Potter universe.

Robbie Coltrane, who played the beloved character Hagrid in the series, was a standout member of the adult cast. Felton described him as “endlessly playful” and “always kind,” and recounted how Coltrane would often make the children on set laugh with his antics.

“Robbie was like a big kid himself,” Felton wrote. “He loved to joke around and play pranks, and he always had a smile on his face. But he also had this incredible warmth and kindness that made everyone feel at ease.”

Felton also praised Coltrane’s talent as an actor, describing him as a “true professional” who always brought his best to every scene. He recalled filming a particularly emotional scene with Coltrane, in which Hagrid mourns the loss of a beloved creature, and how the actor’s performance left him in awe.

“Robbie had this way of making even the most fantastical scenes feel real,” Felton wrote. “He was so fully invested in every moment, and his passion for his craft was infectious.”

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Coltrane Acts Like a Child

“Unless, that is, you were Robbie Coltrane,” Felton wrote. “Somehow, Coltrane maintained ‘a foot in both camps’ and ‘managed to be an adult and a child at the same time.'” Felton recounted how Coltrane’s extensive knowledge of the world, from engineering to geography, from history to travel, was “astounding,” and how the older actors valued and respected his experience.

Despite his adult-like intellect, Coltrane had the heart of a child, as Felton explained. He recalled a table read for the first Harry Potter film, where Coltrane and Emma Watson decided to play a joke during introductions. 

“Before we started, we all introduced ourselves,” Felton wrote. “When their turn came, [Coltrane] persuaded [Watson] to swap characters. ‘I’m Emma and I’ll be playing Rubeus Hagrid.’ ‘I’m Robbie and I’ll be playing Hermione Granger.'”

Felton added that the joke had a profound impact on the cast, reminding them to approach the film with a sense of fun. 

“We were only making a film. We weren’t saving lives,” Felton wrote. Coltrane’s ability to bring joy to those around him was a testament to his kind and playful nature, something that will undoubtedly be missed.

Robbie Coltrane, who played the iconic role of Hagrid in the Harry Potter franchise, passed away in October 2022 from multiple organ failure. His legacy as an actor and a person will undoubtedly live on, as he continues to inspire and bring joy to those who knew him and loved his work. 

Felton’s tribute to Coltrane serves as a touching reminder of the impact he had on the lives of those around him, and the world of Harry Potter.

Felton: “Without Hagrid, there’s no Hogwarts.” 

Despite having a wealth of experience and knowledge, Coltrane never took himself too seriously, Felton wrote. He added that Coltrane’s kind and playful nature was essential to his iconic portrayal of Hagrid, the lovable half-giant who served as a mentor and friend to Harry and his friends. 

“Without Hagrid, there’s no Hogwarts,” Felton said, “And nobody could, would, or ever will play that gentle giant half as well as my dearly missed friend Robbie Coltrane.”

Coltrane passed away in October 2022 from multiple organ failure, leaving behind a legacy that has inspired generations of fans. In January 2022, he joined his former co-stars for the HBO Max special Harry Potter 20th Anniversary: Return to Hogwarts, where he spoke about the franchise’s enduring impact. 

“The legacy of the movies is that my children’s generation will show them to their children. You can be watching it in 50 years’ time, easy. I’ll not be here, sadly. But Hagrid will, yes.”

Coltrane’s legacy as an actor and a person will undoubtedly continue to inspire and bring joy to those who knew him and loved his work. Felton’s tribute to his late co-star serves as a touching reminder of the impact Coltrane had on the lives of those around him, and the world of Harry Potter.

The Harry Potter franchise has become one of the most beloved film series of all time, capturing the imaginations of millions of fans around the world. But it wasn’t just the magic and adventure that drew people in – it was also the strong sense of family that existed both on and off the screen. 

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Cast Close Relationship

The cast of the Harry Potter films formed close bonds during their time working together, creating a true sense of community that has lasted long after the final credits rolled.

One of the key factors in the family-like atmosphere of the Harry Potter cast was the fact that many of the actors were quite young when they began filming. 

Emma Watson, who played Hermione Granger, was just nine years old when she was cast in the role, while Daniel Radcliffe, who played Harry Potter himself, was only eleven. This meant that they grew up together on set, forming close friendships that have lasted to this day.

In interviews, the cast has often spoken about the strong relationships they formed while filming the movies. Rupert Grint, who played Ron Weasley, has said that he felt like he had “known Dan and Emma forever” by the time they finished filming. Tom Felton, who played Draco Malfoy, has also talked about the bond he formed with the other actors, saying that they “were all in it together.”

In addition to their shared experiences on set, the Harry Potter cast also formed a strong sense of family off screen. Many of the actors would spend time together outside of work, bonding over shared interests and experiences. They even celebrated holidays together, with the cast members often gathering to celebrate Christmas and other special occasions.

The cast’s sense of community extended to the wider Harry Potter fanbase as well. The actors would often attend fan conventions and events, meeting with fans and sharing stories about their time working on the films. 

They have also used their platform to promote important causes, such as environmentalism and social justice, which has helped to create a sense of shared purpose among fans and cast members alike.

Photo: EW