Academy Award winner and longtime stage actress Maggie Smith has taken on many fulfilling roles over the years, although she wouldn’t include her work in Downton Abbey or the Harry Potter films among them.
Smith, who played schoolmistress Minerva McGonagall in the boy-wizard adventures and Dowager Countess Violet Crawley in the period drama told the U.K.’s Evening Standard she didn’t find her roles in the two franchises creatively challenging.
“I am deeply grateful for the work in Potter and indeed Downton but it wasn’t what you’d call satisfying. I didn’t really feel I was acting in those things,” Smith said.
The 84-year-old actress added that she and the late Alan Rickman, who played Professor Severus Snape, used to joke that their work on the Potter movies was made up entirely of reaction shots. Still, Smith said there was a upside to being in the Potterverse — it helped her to bond with her five grandchildren.
So, why return to roles she didn’t enjoy? Smith said she would have preferred to be on the stage, but the work just wasn’t there.
“I wanted to get back to the stage so much because theatre is basically my favourite medium, and I think I felt as though I’d left it all unfinished,” she said. “But there wasn’t anything that came along.”
Smith recently returned to the stage in Christopher Hampton’s A German Life at the Bridge Theatre in London.