There’s no denying that the Harry Potter movies were bonafide blockbusters. The first film made almost a billion dollars worldwide, and that was just the first one.
All together, Harry Potter films banked an astonishing $7.7 billion worldwide while making stars of its all British cast in the process.
One of the most recognizable figures from the Harry Potter universe is that of Rubeus Hagrid, the half-human, half-giant Hogwarts groundskeeper and keeper of the keys. He’s easy to spot in his trademark bushel beard, long hair, and brown floor-length jacket. Hagrid is kind-hearted, loyal, and very protective of Harry and his friends Ron and Hermione.
The actor Robbie Coltrane plays Hagrid in all eight Harry Potter movies, from the first movie, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone in 2001, to Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2, in 2011.
Coltrane was born in 1950 in a suburb of Glasgow, Scotland. Before he made a name for himself in the Harry Potter movies he was a popular comedian in Britain. His first acting gig was at 12 playing parts from Henry V at Glenalmond College.
He didn’t like the atmosphere of the prep school, however, even if it did give him the acting bug.
“I didn’t accept the hierarchy, basically.” He told The Guardian. “‘You’ve crossed the quad and you’ve got your hands in your pockets. That’s not very good, is it?’ I used to think, do you know what? If we were in Sauchiehall Street [in central Glasgow] now, boy, it’d be a very different story. Because I’m a Glaswegian, you know?”
Eventually, he moved to London to pursue stand-up and acting, and slowly made some headway. He eventually became more known after parts in movies like Nuns on the Run and The Pope Must Die, but he also had roles in two James Bond movies in a row: GoldenEye and The World is Not Enough.
Coltrane scored the role of Hagrid and went from hotshot Hollywood actor to beloved children’s character overnight. His costume made him an unmistakable figure, and also wore boots that added inches to his already hefty 6 foot 4 frame.
“When I donned them, I surprised even myself,” Coltrane said. “I became the giant with the huge wig, the special shoulders on the costume, and the boots. I even had to duck my head when I walked through the door.”
To prepare for the role, Coltrane would have to show up on set at dawn so artists could spend at least an hour and a half putting makeup on him. His costume wasn’t light, either. It weighed 65 pounds.
“They had special tubes in my vest and sleeves, where they could pour cold water to keep me from sweating,” Coltrane said. “Sometimes the heat would cause my make-up to start running down my cheeks or the wig would come unglued…. They would redo it. It’d take two hours, and then I’d be camera ready again.”
Now that his run as Hagrid is over, Coltrane’s been working here and there but nothing that’s gotten him the same amount of acclaim he experienced during Harry Potter. He’ll be OK, however, as according to Insider he has a net worth of around $4 million.