The British Acting Community: 9 people, 5 sets and 3 hats.
Today I want to take a look at the surprising number of actors and actresses who are in both this 1995 adaption of Sense & Sensibility and the eight Harry Potter films. It makes sense, really: JK Rowling and Jane Austen are two of England’s most beloved authors. Modern adaptions of their works should be played by only the best! It may be the one, single movie with the highest number of crossover cast — I honestly struggle to think of another with more… But please make sure to leave a comment if you know of any others that can compare! (I know Pirate Radio/The Boat That Rocked and Love Actually are a few good ones too.)
First on our list is the late, great Alan Rickman, who plays both the loathsome Potions professor Severus Snape and the lovely Colonel Brandon (both heartbreakers, though for very different reasons!)
Dame Emma Thompson is Harry Potter’s flighty Divination professor Sybill Trelawney and the sensible Elinor Dashwood.
Imelda Staunton played Dolores Umbridge in the latter Harry Potter movies and the almost-equally reprehensible Charlotte Palmer in Sense & Sensibility. (hem hem…)
Her mother Mrs. Jennings was portrayed by Elizabeth Spriggs who was also the first Fat Lady in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.
Robert Hardy played Minister of Magic Cornelius Fudge in four Harry Potter movies and was also Sir John Middleton, who graciously rents a cottage to the Dashwood family. (Though they surely have it on very hard terms!)
And the Dashwood matriarch, Mrs. Dashwood, was played by Gemma Jones. In the Harry Potter movies, Jones was Madam Poppy Pomfrey, Head of the Infirmary.
That is SIX prominent cast members of Sense & Sensibility who are also in very visible and important Harry Potter roles. Can you think of any I missed?
Edit: The hive mind worked! A commenter has pointed out that Scottish composer Patrick Doyle also worked on both this movie’s soundtrack and the Harry Potter films. (In addition to many, many of my other favorites, like Brave, A Little Princess, Nanny McPhee, Murder on the Orient Express…etc.)
Additionally, it’s noteworthy that Emma Thompson was once married to Kenneth Branagh, who played bumbling Defense Against the Dark Arts professor Gilderoy Lockhart. Emma divorced him in 1995 (the same year S&S came out) and he dated Helena Bonham Carter who portrayed Bellatrix Lestrange in the Harry Potter movies.
Like I said before, I’m struggling to think of any other one, single film that can boast as many of the same actors. I’d call it a Harry Potter reunion if this movie hadn’t come out a full six years before the first HP film, and a full two years before the first HP novel, at that.
So really, if you think about it, the Harry Potter series is actually a Sense & Sensibility reunion!
Also, I found this picture today and YOU 👏🏻 ARE 👏🏻 WELCOME 👏🏻 INTERNET 👏🏻
And just because it’s fun, here’s a few hasty Sortings of Sense & Sensibility characters. I don’t expect anyone to agree with me 😂 (And before anyone gets all up in arms, remember I am sorting the characters as they appear on-screen — not the book versions!)
Elinor Dashwood – Hufflepuff 💛
I can think of no other character who shows such loyalty, hard work and patience as Elinor as she waits for Edward Ferrars to make up his damn mind!
Marianne Dashwood – Ravenclaw💙
Considering how much she likes to read, Marianne is a perfect fit to wear the blue and bronze of Ravenclaw. And I suspect she’d get along particularly well with the house’s tragic and melancholy ghost, the Grey Lady…
Margaret Dashwood – Slytherin💚
Young Margaret is just 11 in the movie, so she’d be the perfect age to expect her Hogwarts letter down the chimney of Barton Cottage! Once there, I expect she’d be sorted into Slytherin for her ambition, cunning, and leadership skills.
Edward Ferrars – Hufflepuff💛
A Hufflepuff match made in heaven: He and Elinor are both kind, loyal and honest… perhaps to a fault.
Fanny Dashwood – Slytherin💚
Fuck that bitch.
Lucy Steele – Slytherin💚
Fuck this bitch too.
John Willoughby – Ravenclaw💙
If I were the sorting hat, I’d struggle between Ravenclaw and Slytherin for Mr. Willoughby, but ultimately, I don’t think the movie’s version of him portrays him as cunning or ambitious as other adaptions do. I think he’s ultimately as bookish, intelligent and creative as Marianne, but gets caught in a bad situation where he must make a lose-lose choice. (More on this characterization in a later blog, I’m sure!)
Colonel Brandon – Gryffindor❤️
Despite sharing the same face as Severus Snape, I think Brandon is ultimately a Gryffindor. (Though I’m sure the Sorting Hat considered Hufflepuff for his loyalty and kindness as well.) At the end of the day, Brandon is brave and courageous, and the epitome of chivalry not only to his beloved Marianne, but to the whole Dashwood family.
What do you think? Are there any changes in Sorting the Sense & Sensibility characters that you’d make? Tell us in the comments!
And in case you missed yesterday’s post, (and the first day of this series) you can find it here: