Harry Potter star Robbie Coltrane passed away on October 14, 2022, at the age of 72. The news was made public by his agent Belinda Wright, who said that the actor breathed his last in a hospital in Larbert, Scotland. His exact cause of death was not specified.
Coltrane gained recognition for portraying the 8-feet-tall giant, Rubeus Hagrid, in all eight Harry Potter films.
In reality, Coltrane himself was a little over 6 feet, but appeared to be a big, looming figure thanks to green screens, small-sized props and strategic angles of shooting.
The secret behind Robbie Coltrane’s height in Harry Potter
Rubeus Hagrid is a much-loved character in the Harry Potter universe. Robbie Coltrane's depiction of him has also enjoyed massive popularity right from the time the first film of the Potter franchise was released in 2001.
Although the character is 12 feet tall according to the books, he was shown as being 8 feet tall in the movies. To add the extra height and make Robbie Coltrane look taller than he was, a slew of techniques were employed.
To begin with, the makers created two huts for Hagrid, among which one was for normal-sized people and the other was a smaller one that made Coltrane appear to be a giant. Scenes in both the huts were shot and cut together, thereby making him seem bigger than those around him.
Even the objects used by Hagrid were smaller than the normal size so that his hands looked large.
A filming technique called forced perspective was also used while shooting the scenes featuring Hagrid. Forced perspective enables filmmakers to shoot in a manner such that people or objects appear larger or smaller than their real size. In this process, a close object and a farther object are kept in focus so that they appear to be near each other on the same platform.
Furthermore, the makers filmed Hagrid from a lower vantage point to give the audience the impression that they were looking at an extremely tall character.
A green screen was also used for numerous shots, so that footage of Hagrid's body could be taken and superimposed onto other scenes.
That apart, Martin Bayfield was used as a body double to portray the character in far-away shots and full-body shots where Hagrid had to be larger than everyone and everything around him. While Bayfield, a rugby player, was 6-foot 10-inch tall, Coltrane was 6-foot 1-inch.
In brief, about Robbie Coltrane
Born on March 30, 1950, Robbie Coltrane started his career in theatre before eventually moving on to films. He began his career on the big screen with movies like Gateway to the South, Krull, The Supergrass, Absolute Beginners, Mona Lisa, and more.
He then began appearing on TV shows and was nominated for a British Academy Television Award for Best Actor for his appearance in the BBC miniseries, Tutti Frutti. He was praised for his performance in the ITV series Cracker, and also appeared alongside Julie Walters in the Channel 4 series, National Treasure.
Coltrane also earned fame for his voice performances in animated films like The Tale of Despereaux and Brave.
News of Coltrane's passing was revealed by his agent of 40 years, Belinda Wright. In an official statement Wright described the actor as being "forensically intelligent and brilliantly witty."
Robbie Coltrane is survived by his children Spencer and Alice, and his sister Annie Rae.