The Big Picture

Patrick Goldstein and James Rainey
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Bill Nighy: 'Harry Potter's' new Minister of Magic?

July 1, 2009 |  4:09 pm

Billnighy In a move that would finally mean full employment for every great British character actor over the age of 50 in a single franchise, Bill Nighy is telling the British press that he's finally gotten a gig in the long-running "Harry Potter" film series. As reported on Empire magazine's website, Nighy is apparently set to play Minister of Magic Rufus Scrimgeour in the upcoming "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows," which is due out in two parts, starting in November 2010.

In the world of cheeky, insouciant character actors, no one is more wonderful than Nighy, who has enlivened every movie he's ever been in, whether he's playing Davy Jones in "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest," a brilliant, dissolute newspaper editor in the original "State of Play" British miniseries or flouncing around as a thinly veiled drug-addled Rod Stewart-esque character in Richard Curtis' "Love Actually." Nighy would be a perfect fit for Scrimgeour, who's described in the book as looking like an old lion with bushy eyebrows, tawny hair, yellow eyes and wire-rimmed specs. 

True to form, when asked if he was a big Potter fan, Nighy admitted that he hadn't actually -- ahem -- read any of the books yet.    

Photo of Bill Nighy by Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times