Gizmodo Movie Night: Best Movies That Star the Harry Potter Cast

Gizmodo Movie Night: Best Movies That Star the Harry Potter Cast
Image: Warner Bros
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The newest announcement that the Harry Potter cast, aka all of our childhood best friends, are reuniting for a TV special is extremely exciting. In what they are calling Harry Potter 20th Anniversary: Return to Hogwarts, the cast of the first few Harry Potter flicks will likely have a yarn about their time on the movie, how it changed their acting careers and what life was like on set. I personally hope that they talk about what the films have done for the audiences who grew up alongside Harry, Hermione and Ron.

To celebrate the reunion, this week’s Gizmodo Movie Night is a list of the best movies the Harry Potter cast have starred in that aren’t Harry Potter. I know, crazy to think they aren’t just one character for their whole careers.

Side note: ignore the fact that Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone came out 20 years ago. There’s no need to feel ancient on a Friday afternoon.

Daniel Radcliff

Guns Akimbo (2019)

Harry Potter other movies
Image: Guns Akimbo trailer

Guns Akimbo could not have been a more different film from Harry Potter for Daniel to star in. In an intense satirical take on the internet world, particularly those who are addicted to it, Guns Akimbo is an intense (yep, double intense) roller-coaster of a film.

Miles (Radcliff) is a video game developer who works for a video game company and basically spends all of his time on social media and enjoys trolling the trolls. Seems familiar. Miles finds himself in a bit of a sticky situation one night when he stumbles across a rather brutal online game called Skizm. The name still makes me laugh.

Because Miles is a troll, he has the genius idea to start trolling (very out of character for him). In doing so, he catches the attention of Skizm ring-leader Riktor. Riktor ain’t happy with Miles so he sends his home-boys to Miles’ apartment and knocks him out. Once Miles awakes he finds himself with guns bolted to his hands. Just because it can’t end there, his ex-girlfriend has been kidnapped. As you can imagine, things start to get a bit complicated after that.

This all happens at the start of the film too. Hence calling it a roller-coaster. Guns Akimbo can be quite jarring and extremely cynical but I think that’s why I like it. I know that Rotten Tomatoes would not be happy with my positive review but I think I just enjoyed watching Daniel play a completely different character from Harry. I also loved the whirlwind it takes you on. Call me an agent of chaos, I guess.

You can watch the trailer here.

Guns Akimbo is streaming now on Stan.

Emma Watson

The Bling Ring (2013)

Harry Potter actors
Image: IMBD

There is understandably a desire for actors to break away from characters they are most notable for playing. That is certainly the truth with Emma Watson and her leading role in The Bling Ring.

The Sofia Coppola film is based on the real-life gang known as The Bling Ring. This gang is comprised of high-school students who start breaking into celebrities homes to rob them. They sought after shoes, jewellery and clothes, hence the bling in the ring.

Now listen, reviews to The Bling Ring were not kind at all. But, like Guns Akimbo, it was amazing to see Emma in a different role I think would actually sicken Hermione. Her portrayal of the character Nicki is very strong and rather impressive. It shows off her versatility as an actress.

The film, in my opinion, captures everything about the social media world. The unnecessary lavishness, the obsession with celebrity status and the iconic branding of early 2000s celebrities (see: Paris Hilton).

The exploration of young people being turned into sinister masterminds is thrilling and steeped in reality. Overall, I think this film is worth a revisit.

Like most of Coppola’s films, it is also super camp. If you need an explainer on what that means, read this.

Watch the trailer here.

You can stream The Bling Ring on Stan.

Helena Bonham-Carter

The King’s Speech (2010)

Harry Potter cast
Image: IMBD

I have a deep love for Helena as she plays my favourite character, Bellatrix Lestrange, in Harry Potter. I have even more respect for how she can so effortlessly play characters. The characters she plays in The Corpse Bride, Sweeney Todd, Fight Club (and countless others) are always well thought out and command attention. But for me, I can’t look past her role in The King’s Speech.

For those who haven’t seen it yet, I highly recommend that you do. It follows King George VI (Colin Firth) as he tries to overcome his sometimes debilitating stammering problem. This presents obvious issues for he is the King of the United Kingdom and has to do a lot of public speaking. His wife, Queen Elizabeth (Queen Mum), played by Helena, finds George an unorthodox speech therapist to help her husband.

The movie itself is beautiful and heartwarming. Most of this is because we can feel the struggle King George goes through to overcome his speech impediment. However, the film doesn’t portray his stutter as a weakness which is refreshing.

The star of the film is definitely Helena. She plays the role fantastically. She is no stranger to a royal role, given her recent portrayal of Princess Margaret in The Crown, but she is truly exceptional in The King’s Speech. Helena is a stand out as Elizabeth and demonstrates strength, determination and devotion to her family.

It is joyous to see her play different characters so brilliantly and especially ones that aren’t dark and elusive. It’s no wonder why she was nominated for an Academy Award for the role and why she won the BAFTA for it.

You can watch the trailer here.

The King’s Speech is currently streaming on Netflix.

Alan Rickman

Alice in Wonderland (2010)

Image: Movie Mania

Everyone knows the story of Alice in Wonderland. 19-year-old Alice falls down a rabbit hole and into a magical wonderland plucked straight from her dreams. She is again reunited with her dearest friends who make her realise her destiny.

The 2010 adaption is everything you’d expect from a Tim Burton film. It is dark, campy, funny and whimsical. The film itself is beautifully done and remains one of my favourite films of all time. What is particularly unique about it is how much the actors embodied their characters.

I know there are many more Alan Rickman films that are worthy of mention but there is just something about him as Absolem that I can’t get past. I think that something is his voice. Rickman’s voice is immediately noticeable. It’s what people loved about his Snape in Harry Potter, and what they love about his Absolem. It will send chills down your spine whilst also calming you, it’s deeply unsettling but strangely addicting.

The deep richness of his voice lends itself to the dark mystery of the film, especially for the elusive character he plays. Although he isn’t in the film for very long, Rickman will leave a lasting imprint on your mind.

Also for a bonus, Helena plays the Red Queen, which she also does an exceptional job of.

Watch the trailer here.

Alice in Wonderland is currently streaming on Disney+.

Maggie Smith

Secret Garden (1994)

Image: IMBD

The Secret Garden is a dream-like adaption from the classic 1911 book by Frances Hodgson Burnett. It is a visually stunning film that has a magic-like quality to it. If you are a fan of the book then you’ll love the film. It hangs onto the almost gothic atmosphere that is ever-present in the book which makes the film even more enchanting.

The story follows a young British girl who has been orphaned by an earthquake in India, resulting in her being sent back to England to live in her uncle’s castle. Whilst there, she discovers a beautiful garden on the property that is full of secrets. Of course, as all children do, she starts to explore the garden and things start to unravel.

Maggie Smith plays Mrs Medlock, the housekeeper at the manor and is an absolute scene-stealer. Although dressing similar to her Harry Potter character, Minerva McGonagall, the similarities end there. Medlock is rather mean and often cruel to the children and takes her job incredibly seriously. Despite this, she provides a lot of comic relief and has some of the best one-liners in the film. It helps that Smith plays her to dramatic proportions.

You can watch the trailer here.

The Secret Garden is currently streaming on Stan.

Gary Oldman

The Dark Knight

Harry Potter cast
Image: WarnerBros

It’s impossible to talk about the Harry Potter cast and their other brilliant roles without mentioning Gary Oldman in The Dark Knight. Not only does he play one of the most beloved characters in Harry Potter, Serious Black, he also plays the determined cop, James Gordon.

The Dark Knight is arguably the best Batman and contains some of the best acting performances ever seen (no one will dethrone Heath Ledger of his Joker). This is true for Gary Oldman, who perfectly embodies everything James Gordon is. Headstrong, logical, empathetic and just an all-around good dude. There really isn’t anything to say about Oldman or Gordon for that matter.

I really hope I don’t need to explain the plot of The Dark Knight to you because you should have already watched it. And if you haven’t, I recommend you go and do that now. You won’t regret it.

You can watch the trailer here.

The Dark Knight is currently streaming Stan and Netflix.

The Harry Potter reunion will air on HBO Max on New Year’s Day 2022. In the meantime, you can watch every Harry Potter movie on Stan and Netflix.

Gizmodo Movie Night is our fortnightly roundup of movie and TV recommendations for the weekend. If you’re ever stuck and looking for inspiration, check out our list and see what’s in store.

Stay tuned for the next edition of the column and check out our last one: What To Watch After You’ve Finished Squid Game