As a vile, pure-blood wizard and loyal servant to He Who Must Not Be Named, Lucius Malfoy is a character that leaps off the page for all the wrong reasons. Throughout J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter saga, Malfoy senior is a constant thorn in Harry’s side, and it’s really a testimony to Jason Isaacs – and Rowling’s source material, of course – that Lucius comes across as a deeply complex and compelling nemesis.
Had things panned out differently, though, Potterheads would have experienced a completely different version of Lucius Malfoy on screen, as Isaacs has now revealed that he initially auditioned for the role of Gilderoy Lockhart, the former Defence Against the Dark Arts professor who turns out to be little more than a pompous phony. History tells us that that role would ultimately go to Kenneth Branagh in Chamber of Secrets, but during Universal’s Celebration of Harry Potter event this past weekend (via Screen Rant), Isaacs reflects on his early apprehensions.
“I’d put on a wig. I’d love to play Hermione. [Laughs] I auditioned for Gilderoy Lockhart and I was a little bit disappointed in the room when Chris [Columbus] asked me, ‘Did you read the whole script?’ I said yes. ‘Would you mind reading as Malfoy?’ [I said,] ‘Ugh, sure.’”
When asked about his inevitable change of heart, Isaacs continued:
“Then I ran outside and called my agent immediately. I said, ‘They want me to go back in and read a different part. I don’t want to do it.’ He said, ‘Just go in and read it. You don’t have to take the job.’ I said, ‘I don’t want to play another bad guy. I’m about to go off and play Captain Hook. I’m really not interested in doing it.’ He said, ‘Just go in and do it. You never know what will happen down the road.’
“I went in and I read it as Malfoy and I found out they offered it to me a week later. I told my agent, ‘Tell them no. Thanks very much. I appreciate it.’ He [said], ‘Take the weekend and think about it.’ I [said], ‘It’s just too similar to Captain Hook and another guy.’ He gave me the weekend and my nephews called… and my godchildren called… and then every child I knew and their parents called and told me that I had to do it. Not because they cared about my career but because they wanted to visit the set, I think. So I took the job, and thank God I did.”
If Jason Isaacs harbored reservations about the part, the opposite was true for Malfoy junior; Tom Felton stated just recently that he would jump at the chance to play Draco once again, but whether or not the mainline Harry Potter series has a future is still up for question. Warner Bros. is currently expanding Rowling’s world of witchcraft and wizardry in a new direction thanks to Fantastic Beasts, and though the author has effectively shut down any and all rumors, there’s still chatter of a big screen adaptation of Cursed Child materializing in the not-so-distant future.