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Why Did Maggie Smith Throw Shade Over Her 'Harry Potter' Role?

Warner Bros. Pictures
By Gary Trock

Professor Minerva McGonagall was one of the most beloved characters to come out of the world of "Harry Potter," but it turns out Maggie Smith, who appeared in seven of the eight films opposite Daniel Radcliffe, didn't quite find the role "satisfying." In a new interview that's sure to shake the halls of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, the legendary actress describes how playing Professor McGonagall wasn't exactly her cup of tea.

In an interview with U.K.’s Evening Standard Magazine, 84-year-old Smith discussed her iconic roles in "Harry Potter," as well as Violet Crawley in "Downton Abbey."

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Maggie Smith has had a storied career in both film and on the stage, and she admitted: "It seemed to take ages to get away from light comedy."

Then she threw some shade, which actually sounds kind of polite when it's coming from the refined Smith.

"I am deeply grateful for the work in Potter and indeed Downton, but it wasn’t what you’d call satisfying. I didn’t really feel I was acting in those things."

Smith recently reprised her role as Violet Crawley in the 2019 "Downton Abbey" feature film. She has won a Golden Globe and three Emmys for her work on the British series.

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According to the Evening Standard, Smith and the late Alan Rickman used to complain that their time on "Harry Potter" was mostly filled with "reaction shots."

Smith returned to the theater this year and is currently starring as Brunhilde Pomsel, stenographer to Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels in "A German Life."

She said, "I wanted to get back to the stage so much because theatre is basically my favourite medium, and I think I felt as though I’d left it all unfinished."

Fans React

Gettyimages | David M. Benett

Fans of the Academy Award-winning actress took to social media after her comments about "Harry Potter" and "Downton Abbey," and not all of them disagreed with her stance.

"They were roles to tidy one over. Those are generic mail it in roles. An artist would spite them. They are not challenging.. and not exhilarating. An artist would feel alive until that creative well is exhausted.. then the light simmers.. onwards onto the next generation," one fan commented.

"That's a shame, I hope she got well paid for them instead," wrote another.

A third person commented, "I’m just re-watching the 1999 version of David Copperfield with her as Betsey Trotwood. I’m guessing she found that somewhat more satisfying. Very good work, at any rate."

She's Trashed Potter Fans Before

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It's not the first time Dame Maggie Smith has turned her nose up at "Harry Potter" fans, and has described the disdain she has received over the magical role.

She has expressed annoyance over "kids asking her to turn them into cats, Americans asking for selfies."

Smith also once said in an interview that it was hard to be “bright-eyed and bushy-tailed” after being stuck in a trailer in the middle of the snow for weeks on end with “that silly hat on my head. It just made you think, ‘what’s the point?’”

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