My two favorite characters in the series so far have been Sirius Black and Professor "Mad-Eye" Moody. Moody's being played by Brendan Gleeson in Goblet of Fire, and it really does seem like he could look the part, that kind of wise/creepy combo. But as I was reading Order of the Phoenix I found myself wondering: who in the world could possibly play Dolores Umbridge?
For those who haven't had the mispleasure yet, Umbridge has to date been the most LOATHSOME character that J.K. Rowling has created in the Harry Potter books. Even more than Voldemort, you find yourself wanting this *itch ("w" or "b", your choice) to die die die. She's the bureaucrat from the pits of Hades. Imagine Nurse Ratchet from One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest with a magic wand and gone insane with power. Umbridge is a metaphor for everything that is horribly wrong with modern public education, I'm positively certain. Yes, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix is a damning indictment against big government in the education business, which should... should mind ya... make some self-professed "religious conservatives" very happy were it not for them being too fixated on burning Harry Potter books. And most of this is all because of the character of Dolores Umbridge.
So who should play her when the movie version of Order of the Phoenix comes out? Call me crazy, and maybe it's only 'cuz I've spent the better part of the past year watching and re-watching Misery as reference material for my own motion picture, but it hit me today that Kathy Bates could probably pull it off beautifully... er, I mean wickedly. She's got that ability to turn on the faux charm and concern for others before trying to make their lives a living Hell. The only real strike against her is that she's not British (I think) and to date all the principles in the Harry Potter movies have been from the United Kingdom. There probably won't be any deviation from that and I couldn't really blame the producers for that, but the more I think about it, the more I'm coming to like the idea of Kathy Bates in what would certainly be the most EVIL role of her career.
But we'll have a little while yet to see how that turns out. And there'll be some other roles to fill too. I'd be willing to bet good money that Keira Knightly will get considered for the Tonks role. And isn't it hard NOT to imagine Samuel L. Jackson as Kingsley Shacklebolt?