By Neil Davey
It seems that Emma Watson — or Hermione Granger, or that girl from Harry Potter, which seems to be a sticking point — may not sign up for the final two Potter movies. While the studio has announced they’re confident Watson will sign on — particularly with a reported £2m-a-movie deal on the table (so the whole thing clearly hasn’t been a bit of agent hardball, oh no, perish the thought) — what happens if she doesn’t? Who else could handle the role? It’s not an easy quest. It’s not as though Keira Knightley has dropped out of Pirates of the Caribbean 3. Knightley could be replaced tomorrow by a liposuctioned Gareth Gates in a wig. No, really. Find a photo of Gareth Gates and imagine him thinner with long flowing locks. See? Actually, have you ever seen him and Keira together? Hmm. Hermione is more of a challenge, but it’s certainly not impossible. Take Lindsay Lohan for example. She’s close enough age wise — well, in Hollywood terms where 15-16 equals ‘any actor under 30’. The hair’s pretty much the right colour — at least some days of the week. She also, allegedly, has in-depth experience of, ahem, magical powders; plus she can draw on her recent ‘residential clinic’ experiences to make boarding school life more realistic. After all, what is Hogwarts if not potentially the greatest rehab facility in Europe?
What about Helen Mirren? The Queen showed how she can thrive under the right wig and make-up. Ditto Judi Dench. Producers are, presumably, under some obligation to offer it to Judi because a) the film is set in Britain, and b) she gets offered everything else. Both Helen and Judi score highly in terms of vocal bossiness, as well. Admittedly age might be a wee issue but slip JK Rowling another million or two and she could no doubt come up with a line about stray spells to clear that up. Similarly, Angelina Jolie could step in. She’s got the action experience, box office clout and a throwaway comment about the wonderful Diagon Alley plastic surgeon who does simply marvellous work could explain the new statuesque look. On the downside though, she’d probably adopt a dementor at the end of filming. Perhaps it’s time to go back to the original text for inspiration. According to Rowling, Hermione has bushy dark brown hair and rather large front teeth. Quick, somebody backcomb Billie Piper.