Lord Voldemort is one the most well-known characters in the history of the Wizarding World. Harry Potter books and movies, but the slithering villain has been portrayed by a succession of varied faces on the big screen — here’s every Voldemort actor thus far. Initially spoken of in hushed tones only, Harry Potter introduces the legend of Voldemort in its very first book, depicting a dark, fearsome wizard who terrorized the magic world, only to be defeated while attempting to kill a young Harry Potter.
After his clash with the most dangerous baby of all time, Voldemort lost his physical form and spends the first few Harry Potter books attempting a revival. Only in Harry Potter & The Goblet of Fire does Voldemort regain his true form, and this frequent face-switching necessitated a multitude of actors when adapting Harry Potter for film.
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One or two Voldemort characters are household names. Fans of certain eras may recognize others. Others may have slipped under the radar. Here are all the Voldemort actors in the Harry Potter movie series.
What Actors Played Lord Voldemort?
A grand total of five fiendish film faces have brought Voldemort to life on the big screen — in live-action terms, at least. Follow the story of the fallen wizard, from his early childhood until his final death. Harry Potter moviesFive Voldemort actors from different ages were required to portray the Dark Lord. The remaining two names on this list lent their vocal talents to He Who Shall Not Be Named — one in a Harry Potter movie installment, the other in a very different venture — but were allowed to keep their noses intact by remaining off-screen.
In the first Harry Potter movie, Lord Voldemort is merely an enigmatic old threat lingering in the background, but when the history of Daniel Radcliffe’s character is explored via flashbacks, the dark wizard makes a brief debut, breaking into the Potters’ home and skulking into Baby Harry’s room. The audience’s next glimpse of Lord Voldemort comes during Harry’s first year at Hogwarts, and is the digitized face of veteran British actor Richard Bremmer in Harry Potter and the Philosopher/Sorcerer’s Stone‘s final battle.
Not necessarily a familiar name to many, Bremmer has appeared in movies such as Shanghai Nights, To Kill A King and The 13th Warrior. In a curious twist of Harry Potter Voldemort actors, he also enjoyed a minor role in Onegin — a 1999 romance starring none other than Ralph Fiennes.
Bremmer’s Harry Potter career might’ve been brief — and his face may have been obscured by early-2000s CGI — but the footage was reused in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II, allowing the original Voldemort actor to bookend the entire Harry Potter franchise.
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets goes deeper into Voldemort’s childhood history by exploring his former identity as Tom RiddleAnd his days as a Hogwarts student, building towards the moment Harry Potter begins his journey to kill the Dark Lord by unknowingly destroying part of the villain’s soul. These scenes required a younger Voldemort actor to replace the middle-aged Bremmer, and British talent Christian Coulson was ultimately cast, receiving the honor of being the first non-digitized face to portray Lord Voldemort in the Harry Potter franchise.
Playing the ethereal apparition of a 16-year old Tom Riddle, Coulson made a considerable impression as the mysterious brooding teenager — despite already being in his mid-twenties while filming Harry Potter. Coulson has since cropped up in the likes of Nashville and Gossip Girl.
Of all the Voldemort actors to don the pale makeup and non-existent nose, British actor Ralph Fiennes is the thespian most widely associated with the role. First appearance in 2005’s The Goblet of Fire, Fiennes would go on to make the villainous gig his own, appearing in each of the remaining Harry Potter films in varying capacities. Older transformations and youthful incarnations aside, Fiennes’ face is the Voldemort actor fans remember — the definitive image of a present-timeline, resurrected Harry Potter villain.
The critically-acclaimed actor was an immediate success in He Who Shall Not Not Be Named. He managed to capture every ounce of the vengeful, sinister personality that Harry Potter had to offer.‘s original book series, and giving younger fans nightmares for years to come. Harry Potter fans needn’t look far to see what else Fiennes has been up to. The actor recently made his final flourish as M in the James BondStarred in franchise Kingsman prequel The King’s Man, and was nominated for a small army of awards thanks to 2014’s The Grand Budapest Hotel. Still, Fiennes’ filmography isn’t without its blemishes — he also appeared in Holmes & Watson.
Playing Lord Voldemort became a family affair in The Half-Blood Prince, when Ralph Fiennes’ nephew was cast to play the 11-year old version of Harry Potter‘s future mass murderer. Hero Fiennes-Tiffin can be seen when Dumbledore and Harry begin diving into memories, seeking a way to end the growing threat of Voldemort once and for all. David Yates (Harry Potter & The Half-Blood Prince director) has admitted Hero Fiennes-Tiffin’s resemblance to Ralph was an important factor, but also insisted Hero excelled during auditions, managing to exude Voldemort’s darkness better than the other young candidates.
And it’s difficult to argue with Yates’ assessment. Hero Fiennes Tiffin, despite her innocent exterior, has been a strong advocate for the rights of women. “creepy child”This trope is well-known and accepted by the audience. An 18-year old version of Voldemort came close to appearing in The Half Blood Prince, with Michael Berendt cast as the adolescent evil-doer and ready to film, but these scenes were cut from the final script. An older Hero Fiennes-Tiffin recently starred in romance movie, After.
The multitude of flashbacks that can be evoked Harry Potter & The Half Blood Prince onward, a mid-teens Voldemort actor was required. Christian Coulson was considered to be a reprisal, but David Yates ruled the 30-year-old out of contention, as he was already much older than the Hogwarts-era Voldemort. Several names were put forward for the part, but British actor and drama student Frank Dillane was eventually cast, having only appeared as an extra in previous projects.
The son of Stannis baratheon himselfGame of Thrones actor, Stephen Dillane), Frank offered a more unhinged performance as Tom Riddle/Voldemort — a youngster beginning to embrace his dastardly instincts and forge a path towards wrongdoing. Outside of Harry Potter, Frank Dillane will be most familiar as Nick Clark from Fear The Walking Dead. One of the spinoff’s original cast members, Nick met an untimely death in the AMC zombie show’s fourth season.
Voldemort didn’t feature exclusively via flashbacks in Harry Potter & The Philosopher’s Stone. The villain survived his brush with that pesky Harry Potter and eventually came to graft himself onto the head of an unassuming Professor Quirrell – a naive student he met by chance and successfully corrupted. While Voldemort spends most of his Harry Potter debut beneath a turban, the climactic scene sees Quirrell reveal his true nature, and Voldemort’s face is uncovered in all its horror.
Professor Quirrell is played by British actor Ian Hart, who actually pulled double duty as a Harry Potter Voldemort actor, also serving as the voice behind Voldemort’s CGI face. As a testament to Hart’s performance, this duality is not at all obvious in the finished film. Hart has been making television and film appearances since his time in the wizarding universe. Agents of SHIELD, Finding Neverland and Boardwalk Empire.
Harry Potter is not associated with any of these names‘s list of Voldemort actors, British comedian Eddie Izzard lent his voice to the wicked wizard in 2017’s The LEGO Batman Movie. Even though you have very little to do DC’s Dark KnightVoldemort, along with a number of familiar (mini-)figures, makes an appearance in this LEGO spinoff venture pop culture, and it’s Izzard providing his familiar tones to the plastic version of Harry Potter‘s big bad.
Despite landing nowhere near the canon of Harry Potter‘s universe, Eddie Izzard as Voldemort certainly piqued fan interest, with the comedian’s unique performance style and unmistakable vocals making him an ideal alternative to Ralph Fiennes. Perhaps when the inevitable Harry Potter reboot comes to pass, Izzard will be put forth as the next actor to play Lord Voldemort in live-action.
Why Lord Voldemort’s Actor Was Changed
There are two main reasons Harry Potter‘s Voldemort actor changes so often: his many transformations and the story’s twisting narrative. As mentioned previously, Voldemort doesn’t stabilize into his Ralph Fiennes form until the final act of Harry Potter & The Goblet of Fire, which means the likes of Ian Hart and Richard Brenner were required to portray proto-Voldemort’s various pre-resurrection forms. Voldemort’s backstory is also told in stop-start fashion throughout the Harry Potter books, skipping from childhood, to adolescence, to young adulthood. Actors growing older was already an issue for the Harry Potter movies, but Voldemort was one of few characters the franchise could get away with recasting each time since Tom Riddle would always age a few years between each flashback.
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