The 'Jumanji' actor even called up director Christopher Columbus to see if he could get a role in the series.
Robin Williams, who was an ardent fan of the "Harry Potter" books, wanted to be a part of the movies and even lobbied for it. Williams thought he'd be perfect for the role of Hagrid, the key keeper of Hogwarts, the fictional wizarding school in the series penned by J.K. Rowling. The role eventually went to Scottish actor Robbie Coltrane. Robin Williams later revealed that he was turned down because of his nationality. The production decided that the cast had to be British and this ruled out Williams. The "Jumanji" actor didn't give up though, and decided to talk to director Christopher Columbus to see if he could play Hagrid. "There were a couple of parts I would have wanted to play, but there was a ban on American actors," said Williams, reported Huff Post. He then joked about making an appearance in a sequel. "Maybe one day, say if [Harry] goes to Yale and becomes president."
The casting director Janet Hirshenson confirmed Williams wanted to feature in the fantasy series. “Robin [Williams] had called [Chris Columbus] because he really wanted to be in the movie, but it was a British-only edict, and once he said no to Robin, he wasn’t going to say yes to anybody else, that’s for sure,” said the casting director. “It couldn’t be.” J.K. Rowling was also involved in the casting process and her first choice was Robbie Coltrane to play Hagrid in the series. The casting directors were also particular about the ages of the children cast in the film taking into account they had to be a part of the franchise for the eight movies that came out. “It was really specific on ages because there were several movies hopefully, so we could not go for a small 13-year-old to play anybody. They had to be at least the proper age of the character,” said Hirshenson, who recalled that a boy got rejected simply because he was 14 years old.
While many fans felt it was a missed opportunity to not have Robin Williams in the series, an overwhelming majority agreed that Robbie Coltrane played the part to a tee. "As much as I love Robin Williams, Robbie Coltrane was absolutely perfect as Hagrid," wrote one person on Reddit. Another added, "Hagrid is one of the few characters who was pretty much exactly what I imagined in the movies. I think they made the right decision." One person argued that keeping one American and especially a celebrity would have diminished the effect of the fresh casting that worked so well in the series but added that Williams would always be the exception. "HP is an ensemble cast and dropping someone like Robin into it would have distorted the fabric since everyone would be normal with this whirling dervish that wasn't in keeping with the book. Robin as Hagrid in a one-man show? All day, every day."
Another person opined that he could have taken on one of the more eccentric characters from the series. "Williams could have played someone like Lockhart or maybe Peeves — a character who is pretty flamboyant or likes to call attention to themselves. Acting-chops-wise, he had a wide enough range where he probably could have played a convincing Hagrid. But I feel like he would have been wasted if they had to tone him down for such a small part," they wrote.