The best-known film of comedian and actor Rik Mayall – who sadly has died aged just 56 – was of course ‘Drop Dead Fred’, where he played the anarchic imaginary best friend to Phoebe Cates.
What his fans might not remember however is that he was set to star in an even more famous movie – ‘Harry Potter’.
He was cast as Peeves the poltergeist in ‘Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone’ and as he explains in this hilarious interview, he actually shot the role.
[Watch: Mayall stars as Lord Flashheart]
Take it away Rik:
“I tell you, the best f**king film I’ve ever been in, not for the film, because the film, with respect… no with no respect at all… the film was s**t, I’ll tell you why.
“A long while ago, all the kids at my kids’ school were saying “Hello Rik, have you read Harry Potter? It’s fantastic.” I’d go “what?”
“My agent said, “Hey Rik, you want to be in Harry Potter?”
“I said, “What, is it a book?”
“He said, “It’s a film.”
“I said, “Ah, it’s my favourite book, course I want to be in it.”
“I’d never read a word. He said: “Alright, you’re in it.”
“I thought, “f**king cool. What’s the money?”
“So I did it, I went and I f**king did it. I played the part of Peeves in ‘Harry Potter’. I got sent off the set because every time I tried to do a bit of acting, all the lads who were playing the school kids kept getting the giggles, they kept corpsing, so they threw me off.
“Well, they asked me to do it with my back to them and they still laughed. So they asked me to do it around the other side of the cathedral and shout my lines, but they still laughed so they said they’d do my lines with someone else.
“So then I did a little bit of filming, then I went home and I got the money. That’s significant.
“Then a month later, they said: “Er, Rik, we’re sorry about this, but you’re not in the film. We’ve cut you out of the film.”
“It was three weeks later, so I was in the film for around three weeks and then they cut me out.
“But I still got the money. So that is the most exciting film I’ve ever been in, because I got the oodle and I wasn’t in it. Fantastic.
“I hadn’t told my kids I wasn’t in it yet, and they came back and they said: “Bloody good make up. You didn’t look like yourself at all dad.”
“They thought I was playing Hagrid, Robbie Coltrane’s part.”
[Rupert Grint interview: "I've been taking it easy since 'Potter']
According to director Chris Columbus, the scene was cut because they weren’t happy with the design. He said: “David [Heyman, producer] and I looked at the design of Peeves and thought, We can get it better.”
It never was though, and as far as we know the scene never made it onto the DVD as a deleted scene (tell us below in the comments if you’ve seen it). Instead, the character of Peeves was simply written out of the film series, despite appearing prominently throughout the books.
Maybe we’ll see Rik’s performance as the mischievous spirit in a future home entertainment release.