Harry Potter's Great British Thespians
One of the smartest decisions made by the creative team behind the Harry Potter films was to cast the adult roles from the very cream of British thespians. If you're among the brightest luminaries of the London stage or international screen and if you weren't too famously connected with the competing Lord of the Rings trilogy, like Sir Ian McKellen you've probably played a Harry Potter witch or wizard. Some of these stars, like Julie Christie and Kenneth Branagh, have appeared only fleetingly or in a single film; others, like Alan Rickman and Michael Gambon, are at the core of the enterprise. The series is essentially about the coming of age of Daniel Radcliffe's Harry, but the actors who have played his guardians and tormentors have given Radcliffe, and millions of delighted viewers, lessons in effortless screen éclat.