“Ah, go boil yer heads, both of yeh. Harry—yer a wizard.”
Let’s admit, you are hit by a wave of nostalgia right now! Well, you are not alone. It’s been over 20 years since this quote from Harry Potter And The Philosopher’s Stone was brought to the screen. It marked the epic moment when Harry realized who he was and what he was capable of.
Such an iconic line comes from Rubeus Hagrid – Harry’s guardian, teacher, and lifelong friend. Throughout 8 movies, we have gotten to know this lovable guy more and more. That’s in large part thanks to Robbie Coltrane. The Scottish actor perfectly embodied a Hogwart’s key keeper that was warm and gentle yet possessed many hidden facets.
Coltrane’s marvelous portrayal is indisputable, but there’s something that has been bugging me all these years: Since Hagrid is half-human and half-giant, this is no small man. In the books, he was described to be almost 12 feet tall, and in the movies, he appeared around 8 feet tall.
So, how tall is Robbie Coltrane really? Does he have giant genes or something?
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How Tall Is Robbie Coltrane?
It wasn’t until I bumped into an old interview with the actor did I found out the truth: No, he doesn’t have any magical giant genes! On being asked, ‘How tall is Robbie Coltrane?’, the actor revealed: “In real life, I’m 6’1″ — each way pretty well, north and south and east and west, unfortunately.”
That means Coltrane’s actual height is approximately 1.82 m, making him a fairly big man, but not as big as Hagrid. In the same interview, he also confirmed that Hagrid’s official height in the movie is 8’6’’ or around 2.4 m. “I asked Jo Rowling why not 9 feet and she said, ‘Well, I think 8’6’’ is a more interesting height.’ And I think she’s right, in a funny way.”, said the Scotland native.
That’s the answer for those who have always wondered how tall is Hagrid in real life. Despite making an amazing Hagrid, Robbie Coltrane is a good 2 feet shorter than the character appears. Hence, the film crew had to come up with some clever ways to make him look much taller than he actually was.
So, How Did They Make Hagrid Look So Tall?
It leads us to another question: How did they make Hagrid look so tall? This intriguing topic has poked the curiosity of both Reddit and Quora users. On those forums, you can find several threads discussing the tricks used to film Robbie Coltrane as the half-giant Hagrid. Some of them are confirmed, while some are just suggestions from those interested in movie techniques.
And just in case you are curious, too, here come the Warner Brothers’ big secrets: There are 4 ways they magically manipulated Robbie Coltrane’s size in the Harry Potter series.
Forced perspective is a cinematography technique that uses optical illusion to make people or objects appear bigger, smaller, further, or closer than they are. Since human visual perception is influenced by viewing the correlation between scaled objects and the vantage point of the camera or spectator, this method works by having a close object and a distant object in focus equally. That way, they will look like they are on the same plane.
By looking at these photos (taken within Hagrid’s hut!), you will understand how the concept works. In the movies, Robbie Coltrane would be sitting closest to the camera, making his visitors appear tiny in contrast:
A less technical way to apply forced perspective is to lower the camera and film upward. The crew would film Hagrid from a lower angle than the other characters. That way, the audiences get the impression that we are peering up a giant Hagrid.
A Stunt Double
At the Guardian Hay festival, co-producer of the Harry Potter movies, Tanya Seghatchian, exposed the second trick to the small audiences. According to her, there were two Hagrids and two sets. One Hagrid was big, one small.
However, since we only saw Coltrane’s name on the credits, does this mean somewhere in the U.K lurks an ultra-huge, ultra-modest actor, who is capable of smashing doors and can play Hagrid as good as Coltrane does?
Well, this is a half-truth! Martin Bayfield, a former rugby player, lowkey made his appearance in various Harry Potter scenes. But you could never spot him. Wearing a bulky suit, Hagrid’s signature overcoat, and even an animatronic head that resembled Robbie Coltrane’s face, Bayfield portrayed Hagrid in distant and full-body shots when Hagrid needed to stand out from everyone and everything around him.
Harry Potter’s Wizard Collection – Creating Hagrid – how tall is Robbie Coltrane
Maybe Bayfield is not ultra-huge, but standing a whole 10 inches higher than his Scottish counterpart is enough to make the difference. This video shows his preparation for his role as Hagrid. Since the actor had to wear the padded suit most of the time, the designers included water tubes to keep him cool. And that Hagrid mask threw us for a loop! No wonder we never discovered he had a stunt double in the movies.
Cleverly Designed Set
We are all familiar with Hagrid’s hut, but did you know that there were actually 2 of them? One was made large so other characters like Harry, Ron, and Hermione appear normal, and the other was scaled down to make Hagrid look like a giant.
Furthermore, Hagrid’s household appliances (such as flatware or cups) were also made smaller, making his hands appear huge in contrast.
Last but not least, filming Robbie Coltrane in front of a green screen was used to make him appear more enormous. The technician team would extract footage of just his body and superimpose it into other scenes – scaled up to appear bigger, of course.
In more complex situations where neither forced perspective nor a stunt double could help achieve the desired effect, this method came in handy. Don’t forget the magic of technology!
Looking for some inspiration from the Wizarding World? Here are the best Fred and George quotes for you!
Other Surprising Facts About Robbie Coltrane
From the 8 sequences, we got to know the Hogwarts’ groundkeeper. As more of his stories unfolded, we grew to like him more and more. Now, you even learn how they manipulated his height in the movies. But how much do you know about the person who brought him to life?
Without Robbie Coltrane, we wouldn’t get to see our beloved Hagrid on the screen. Let’s pay tribute to him by picking up some interesting facts about the 70-year-old actor!
His Real Name Isn’t Robbie Coltrane
The actor’s birth name was Anthony Robert McMillan. When he started to pursue an acting career, he adopted the current name. In honor of jazz legend John Coltrane, he chose the stage name “Coltrane.”
Before Becoming An Actor, He Wanted To Be An Artist
After graduating from high school, Coltrane enrolled at the Glasgow School of Art. There, he majored in drawing, painting, and filmmaking. Although that career path didn’t pan out, he stated that art school expand his mind in so many ways.
Robbie Coltrane Was A Huge Fan Of Harry Potter Books
Before becoming a part of the cast, Robbie Coltrane was introduced to the Harry Potter series by a friend and immediately became an avid fan. Having read it to his son, Spencer, every night, Coltrane knew the story better than any other cast member. According to the actor, his son loved it when he tried to mimic all the accents, and he felt a certain kindred to Hagrid.
To explain his enthusiasm for J.K Rowling’s wizarding world, Coltrane says, “The big attraction about Harry Potter for us as parents is the Harry Potter books are something you can read to your children without dying of boredom because there is as much interesting stuff going on for adults as there as children, if you know what I mean.” So you see, no matter how long it has been, the Harry Potter book series still make a wonderful gift suggestion for both the kid in your house and the parents!
He Was Chosen By J.K.Rowling For Hagrid
When the Harry Potter book series received a movie adaption, Robbie Coltrane was Rowling’s first choice for the role of Hagrid. At that time, the Scottish actor was already a household name thanks to his major roles in the James Bond franchise. For Rowling, Coltrane was the perfect Hagrid, and she couldn’t think of anyone else.
Additionally, Coltrane was the first adult actor cast for the movie. Things might have been different, however, had Rowling not insisted on an entirely British cast. Famous comedian Robin Williams also had his eyes on the role of Hogwarts’ giant key keeper, and he stated that if the restriction on non-British actors had not been in place, he could imagine himself taking part in the first movie.
Just Like Hagrid, He Rode Motorcycles In Real Life…
Robbie Coltrane once shared his passion for motorbikes in an interview. The actor owned a 1950 Sunbeam S7, which he compared with the British Harley Davidson. “It’s very big and heavy, and was always known as the ‘Fat Boy.’ So you can see why I have one.”, Coltrane said. Sounds so much like Hagrid indeed!
Until He Couldn’t Anymore
Since 2019, the Scottish actor started having more problems than a noseless villain and a forest full of overgrown spiders. As reported by the Independent, Coltrane has been suffering from chronic osteoarthritis for the past years. The pain has gotten so severe that the actor is now restricted to a wheelchair for most of his time.
In March 2019, Coltrane attended the opening of Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike ride. It was the first time he was seen publicly in a wheelchair due to the pain caused by his condition.
Robbie Coltrane’s Net Worth Is Around $4 Million Dollars
As of 2021, Robbie Coltrane’s net worth is reported to be around $4 million. He amassed his fortune by appearing in a number of successful films during his career, such as ‘Cracker’, ‘James Bond’, and ‘Golden Eyes’. Still, his iconic portrayal as Rubeus Hagrid was the greatest boost in his career, making Coltrane more recognizable than he had ever been.
Do you want to know how Bo Burnham makes million dollars in his 30s? Check it out now!
‘Perhaps I Should Not Have Said That…’
There you have it, the answer for ‘How tall is Robbie Coltrane?’. Does it make you disappointed? Well, don’t be. It is just proof of the magic we Muggles can create, such as turning a regular human into a giant!