Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Who Played It Best? Albus Dumbledore

Who Played It Best? Albus Dumbledore
"Who Played It Best?" will be a weekly poll on my blog. Each Wednesday, I will collect a group of actors known for playing the same character in the movies. You will have the entire week to vote for who you felt played the character the best. I will announce the winner next Wednesday.

So I was a little scared to even attempt this one. I thought some of you might not like it if I did this comparison. The legendary Richard Harris passed away before he could complete the Harry Potter films and Michael Gambon stepped in his place from the third film until the completion of the series. I don't know if its unfair or even ethical for me to include this match-up since Harris passed. I understand that Harris made two films and Gambon made five films (I don't include Deathly Hallows Part I because how can I?) and maybe that is stacking the deck against Harris. But I thought about it, and who knows? Maybe there is a purest out there who thought Harris made the "first all, be all" example of the character on film. I think both actors brought different energy to the role. Despite their differences, I think both actors did really well in the part. I know one actor we saw a lot more of, but that may not matter. Acting, to me, isn't about quantity but quality. An actor can play a role 10 times and another actor could come along and play it once, but that one time might be so magical, so on-the-nose, so spectacular that the former actor may pale in comparison. We'll have to just wait and see.

My Two Cents
I have seen all eight Harry Potter movies several times, and I have read pretty much all the books. Some of the books I have read more than once. Not to pat myself on the back, but I feel I have a very good grasp on these characters. With that said, I have a very clear picture of who I think is the best Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore. I can tell you that Richard Harris was the first out of the gate, and he set the tone and the style of the character. I will go a little further and tell you that I personally think Gambon took some ques from Harris' playbook when he decided to take up the character, while also making the character his own. I think now that Harris is in Heaven, I hope he is ecstatic over the filmography he created and I hope you all realize just how talented Harris was as an actor. He made Dumbledore his own and he should be proud of that and so should his family. But, in this particular case, I have to give the edge to Michael Gambon. I find Gambon to be equally talented compared to Harris and I was glad Warner Bros. found a proper replacement for the character. I also must say that while Dumbledore is an important character in the beginning of the Harry Potter saga, his big emotional beats don't come until the last few books (and in this case, his last few movies.), and I have to say that Gambon nailed all of those emotional beats perfectly. It is hard to judge what Harris would have done simply because he isn't with us anymore, and in that case I stand by my opinion. Again, you might not find it unfair, but I am generally curious, who played the character better?

Which version of the character do you prefer? Let me know by next Wednesday. You can start voting today. You can email me ( or just simply leave a name in my comments section below.

Last week Jack Nicholson and Heath Ledger went head-to-head for the crown of who played The Joker the best. The results weren't even surprising.
Heath Ledger


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