“Harry Potter” actress Imelda Staunton talks about playing Professor Umbridge, and it’s actually super profound
In the wake of last nights events, we all need a little dose of Harry Potter-related news. And oh hey, Entertainment Weekly let us know that Professor Umbridge actress Imelda Staunton hates Professor Umbridge just like everyone else!
Remember when we discussed what jobs “Harry Potter” characters would have if they existed in the Muggle world, and decided upon “Sadistic Dentist” for Professor Umbridge? Then there was the time J.K. Rowling gave us the best Halloween scare by writing a biography of Umbridge on Pottermore. Yup, people really despise her!
Talking about her evil character on EW’s Binge podcast, Staunton was completely honest.
"I don’t have to have sympathy at all, not in the slightest."
If you’re wondering how on earth she got into the mindset of playing such a villain, Staunton revealed that she worked closely with director David Yates.
They would talk about the character and how she essentially promoted ethnic cleansing (aka, believes in the dominance of pure bloods), which led Staunton to play her as a lady dressed in “madness and cruelty.”
"I think she’s a bloody monster and to be played as such. I don’t need to understand what she does, but from a character point of view, she believes she’s doing the absolute best for that school. Yet again, I have embraced a completely and utterly deluded woman."
Staunton also admitted that the character was fascinating and difficult to play — especially the “I must not tell lies” detention scene with Harry.
"That touched into something that you think, ‘Gosh, we’re all capable of great cruelty.’ [...] Perhaps the worst part here — and really, throughout this fifth film — is that Umbridge, again, thinks she’s doing good. She’s not sort of twirling her mustache and saying ‘Muahahaha,’ it’s the absolute and utter belief that actually it is going to help and that’s, of course, so much more frightening."
Of course, being the brilliant actress that she is, Staunton played the role to perfection. Professor Umbridge is definitely one of the more unsavory characters in the Harry Potter universe…and the storywouldn’t be the same without her.