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Tom Felton pays 73rd birthday tribute to late ‘Harry Potter’ co-star Robbie Coltrane: ‘He was endlessly playful’


Tom Felton has paid tribute to his late ‘Harry Potter’ co-star Robbie Coltrane as “endlessly playful”.
The Draco Malfoy actor, 35, first starred with the Hagrid star, who died in October 2022 aged 72 after years of ill health, in the initial installment of the wizard franchise, 2001's ‘Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone’.
He said in an essay for E! News in honour of what would have been Robbie’s 73rd birthday on March 30: “Somehow, Robbie managed to be an adult and a child at the same time, maintaining a foot in both camps.
“His knowledge of the world was astounding. He was well-versed in any topic you might care to mention, from engineering to geography, from history to travel – and that meant he had something to contribute to any grown-up conversation that might be happening on set. You could tell that the older actors valued and respected his experience.
“We kids, though, didn't have much time for that stuff. We just wanted to be, well, kids – mischievous, impish and high-spirited. But so did Robbie. He had more mischief in him than a common room full of Slytherins. He could fool around with the best of us. He might have had the mind of an adult, but he truly had the heart of a child.”
Revealing his first memory of the ‘Cracker’ actor, Tom added: “Robbie was always looking to lighten the mood and make us laugh. My earliest memory of him was at the table read before the first film started shooting. It was intimidating, 40 or 50 of us all sitting around a massive table to read through the script for the first time together.
“Before we started, we all introduced ourselves: ‘I’m Dan, and I’ll be playing Harry Potter.’ ‘I’m Tom, and I'll be playing Draco Malfoy.’
“Robbie and Emma were sitting side by side. When their turn came, he persuaded her to swap characters. ‘I’m Emma and I’ll be playing Rubeus Hagrid.’ ‘I’m Robbie and I’ll be playing Hermione Granger.’
“We all giggled into our scripts as this huge, friendly, charming, smiling man reminded us with that one little joke that we should approach this endeavour with a sense of fun.
“We were only making a film. We weren’t saving lives.”
But Tom said about Robbie’s work ethic: “That’s not to say he wasn't a true professional. Robbie knew how important it was to know your lines, to be on your mark, to play to camera.
“We learned our trade from watching him. He set a great example to us all on how to nail the basic skills of being on set, but never in a boring or patronizing way. Although he routinely had to deal with a crazy amount of hair and make-up and suits and stilts, he still somehow managed to create an environment that allowed us all to be playful.
“And Robbie was endlessly playful. He was constantly cheeky. Most of all he was always kind.
“He never took himself too seriously – and these characteristics lay at the heart of everything, I think, because if Robbie took himself too seriously, if he forgot what it meant to be kind, there would have been no Hagrid.
“Without Hagrid, there’s no Hogwarts. And nobody could, would or ever will play that gentle giant half as well as my dearly missed friend Robbie Coltrane.”