Harry Potter made the names of many an actor or actress, to the extent that even now people spot them in films or on TV and say “Hey! They were in Harry Potter!” But do you know all of the hits Harry Potter stars have appeared in? After all, some folks had their faces buried under prosthetics for the Potter franchise, or appeared only in a couple of scenes. You might not know or remember their later or earlier roles…
20. Ralph Fiennes
One of the scariest things about Lord Voldemort is how inhuman he looks. He has greenish-gray skin and snake-like nostrils where his nose should be. If you didn’t know beforehand, you’d never know that he’s actually British actor Ralph Fiennes, who cuts a much less terrifying figure as “M” in Skyfall and subsequent James Bond films.
19. Richard Harris
Richard Harris sadly died in between Chamber of Secrets and Prisoner of Azkaban, so the role of Dumbledore passed to Michael Gambon for the remaining Harry Potter films. However, Harris left behind him a truly impressive body of work. Modern audiences might probably remember him most for his role as Marcus Aurelius in the Oscar-winning Gladiator.
18. Verne Troyer
To play Griphook the goblin in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, Verne Troyer’s face was completely covered in prosthetics and makeup. Plus, his voice was dubbed over by Warwick Davis. So many people might not have known that when they looked at Griphook in the first Potter movie, they were looking at the famous “Mini-Me” from the Austin Powers franchise.
17. David Tennant
David Tennant had a small (but important) role as Barty Crouch Jr. in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. And the same year that film came out, Tennant was handed what would prove to be the defining role of his career – the Tenth Doctor in Doctor Who. This brought him to international attention, and roles in films such as Mary Queen of Scots and shows such as Jessica Jones soon followed.
16. James Payton
Blink and you’ll miss him in both movies, but James Payton is one of the few actors to appear in both the Harry Potter franchise and the Marvel one. In Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix he could be seen in a moving photograph as Frank Longbottom, Neville’s father. And in Captain America: The First Avenger he portrayed an actor who was playing Hitler on stage, and consequently helped recreate the iconic image of Captain America punching the Führer.
15. Bill Nighy
Bill Nighy popped up in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 as Rufus Scrimgeour. If he seemed strangely familiar, there’s a good reason for that. One of Bill Nighy’s most famous acting performances is as Davy Jones in the Pirates of the Caribbean, a role which saw him covered in CGI makeup except for one scene. No one could be blamed for not recognizing his face right away.
14. Michelle Fairley
Michelle Fairley had a very small role in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 as Hermione’s mother. A year later and she was playing another “mother” role – Catelyn Stark, matriarch of the Stark family, in Game of Thrones. As soon as she was killed off on Thrones – a common thing on that show – she hopped over to Suits. Her face has rarely been off the screen since.
13. Lee Ingleby
Lee Ingleby’s face might seem very familiar because he’s shown up in quite a few films, Hollywood and otherwise. Just before his appearance as Stan Shunpike in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, he appeared in the Oscar-nominated 2003 film Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World as Midshipman Hollom. He also featured in 1998’s Ever After.
12. Shirley Henderson
When she played the teenage ghost Moaning Myrtle, Shirley Henderson was actually 37. But her voice, reminiscent of a child’s, helped her pull it off. And those who knew that voice probably recognized it from the Bridget Jones’s Diary franchise, where she played Jude. She looked quite a bit more grown-up in that one.
11. Freddie Stroma
Freddie Stroma made an appearance in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince as Cormac McLaggen, a Hogwarts student whose good looks briefly attracted Hermione Granger. His charms obviously worked on Hollywood as well, because since Harry Potter he’s appeared in Game of Thrones and the mega-hit a cappella movie Pitch Perfect.
10. Alfred Enoch
Alfred Enoch was a cute little kid when he first appeared as Dean Thomas in the Harry Potter franchise. Audiences saw him grow up on screen, and then once Potter was over he began starring in the very un-Potter-like drama How to Get Away with Murder. Both the show and Enoch’s performance gained a lot of acclaim.
9. Toby Jones
Dobby the house elf turned out to be one of the most beloved characters in Harry Potter, and plenty of that is down to the voice work of Toby Jones. Jones’s face never appeared in the Potter movies, but he got a chance to show up in the flesh when another massive children’s book series became a movie. In the adaptation of The Hunger Games, he played Claudius Templesmith.
8. Miranda Richardson
Miranda Richardson, who played conniving journalist Rita Skeeter, was just one of countless famous Brits to show up in Harry Potter. But American audiences probably know her best from 1992’s The Crying Game, which picked up an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay and is still considered by some to be one of the best British films ever.
7. David Bradley
David Bradley’s excellent at playing a “boo, hiss” type of villain. In Harry Potter he played the creepy old Hogwarts caretaker Argus Filch, and he’s also notable for playing an even worse character, the truly vile Walder Frey in Game of Thrones. But he’s played good guys too. In Captain America: The First Avenger he played the brave “Church Keeper,” a man who tried to stop the evil Red Skull from finding the weapon he sought.
6. Warwick Davis
Warwick Davis managed to get two of the biggest franchises of all time on his resume, and portrayed more than one character in each. In Harry Potter, he played Professor Flitwick and Griphook the goblin, and in Star Wars he did even more work: he portrayed Wicket in Return of the Jedi, minor characters in Rogue One and The Last Jedi and Weazel in both The Phantom Menace and Solo.
5. Timothy Spall
Timothy Spall played the loathsome Peter Pettigrew, a.k.a. Wormtail, in the Harry Potter series. He went all in with the makeup department to make him look as creepy and ratlike as possible, and it was quite the transformation. Spall underwent another transformation in the 2007 Disney film Enchanted. There he played another Wormtail-like character, one who finds himself going from animation to live-action.
4. Clémence Poésy
French actress Clémence Poésy joined the Harry Potter franchise with Goblet of Fire in 2005, playing Fleur Delacour. Fleur was noted for her beauty, which Poésy also has in spades. It didn’t take long for big-name moviemakers to start asking for her. In 2010 she starred in Danny Boyle’s real-life thriller 127 Hours, playing the girlfriend of James Franco’s character.
3. Rhys Ifans
In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1, Rhys Ifans played Luna Lovegood’s father Xenophilius. He spent the whole time looking very different from the famous character he played a few years later, The Lizard/Curt Connors in The Amazing Spider-Man. So don’t blame yourself if you didn’t realize it was him.
2. Domhnall Gleeson
Back when Domhnall Gleeson played Bill Weasley in the Harry Potter franchise, no one really knew who he was. (Although people might have known him via his father, Brendan Gleeson, who also appeared in the films.) That all changed once Harry Potter finished. Now, after a long string of Oscar-nominated hits, Gleeson is best known as General Hux from Star Wars.
1. Jason Isaacs
Jason Isaacs terrified children with his portrayal of the snobby, sneering Lucius Malfoy in 2002’s Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. And just one year after that he played another iconic villain, Captain Hook in Peter Pan. Unfortunately, and rather inexplicably considering its critical acclaim, Peter Pan was a flop. Isaacs later said that it had almost killed his career – but luckily he had Harry Potter to bide his time with before getting back on track.