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Michael Gambon as Albus Dumbledore



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  #1  
Old April 26th, 2008, 7:45 am
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Michael Gambon as Albus Dumbledore

Michael Gambon as Albus Dumbledore

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2. Since Richard Harris can no longer perform the role of our beloved Dumbledore, proper respect shall be given to Michael Gambon’s performance. Bearing in mind that each actor brings his/her own unique perception of each character they portray. Also, the director's job is to guide the performances as he sees befitting the story.

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This thread is for the discussion of the actor, Michael Gambon, and his portrayal of Albus Dumbledore. Please only discuss his role in the Harry Potter films.

Warnings can, and will, be given for anything off topic.


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Old April 27th, 2008, 5:44 am
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Re: Michael Gambon as Albus Dumbledore

I like Gambon as Dumbledore as much as I did Harris. Harris captured the look better for me, but Gambon has the necessary energy and spark.

I enjoyed his performance in PoA but it was strange getting used to a new Dumbledore. I especially like how he delivered the 'Did what?' line.

I really disliked his performance in GoF for a long time, but watching it again last night I understood and enjoyed it a lot more. His rough handling of Harry after the names come come out of the goblet bothered me for a long time but when I really focused on his performance last night you could see that Dumbledore was terrified for Harry. If it had been played as SereneDumbledore the danger of the Tournament wouldn't have come across as strongly.

His performance in OotP was a mixed bag for me. I love him at the trial (especially when he announced himself) and telling Harry 'It's not how you are alike...'. What I hated was 'DON'T YOU ALL HAVE STUDYING TO DO!!' It came across as harsh and was completely unnecessary IMO.


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Old April 27th, 2008, 6:23 am
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Re: Michael Gambon as Albus Dumbledore

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Originally Posted by Mad_Druid View Post
I like Gambon as Dumbledore as much as I did Harris. Harris captured the look better for me, but Gambon has the necessary energy and spark.

I enjoyed his performance in PoA but it was strange getting used to a new Dumbledore. I especially like how he delivered the 'Did what?' line.

I really disliked his performance in GoF for a long time, but watching it again last night I understood and enjoyed it a lot more. His rough handling of Harry after the names come come out of the goblet bothered me for a long time but when I really focused on his performance last night you could see that Dumbledore was terrified for Harry. If it had been played as SereneDumbledore the danger of the Tournament wouldn't have come across as strongly.

His performance in OotP was a mixed bag for me. I love him at the trial (especially when he announced himself) and telling Harry 'It's not how you are alike...'. What I hated was 'DON'T YOU ALL HAVE STUDYING TO DO!!' It came across as harsh and was completely unnecessary IMO.
Yeah I really was thinking the same thing. Watching GoF recently made me realize that it wouldn't have made sense to the general public who have not read the books, over and over again like us, would not have understood if Dumbledore had remained calm. But yes the "Don't you all have studying to do?" still bothers me, but like I said the more I think about it, as much as I would love a actor who portrays the books Dumbledore perfectly, it makes much more sense to have someone with as much energy as Gambon. So if you ask me the question do you think Gambon portrays Dumbledore well? I would say no. But if you asked me do you think Gambon does a good job in his role in the HP films than I would say yes. It's really to bad, because when I first re-read the entire series I noticed how well Gambon could have played Aberforth in DH, but I do think he's fine where he is, playing Dumbledore.


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Old April 27th, 2008, 10:14 am
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Re: Michael Gambon as Albus Dumbledore

He never seems to strike the right note. Sometimes he's too aggressive and other times he's too passive. He also can come across rather weak and whiny, like he did facing the Wizengamot.


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Old April 27th, 2008, 2:06 pm
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Re: Michael Gambon as Albus Dumbledore

I sitll have mixed feelings about Michael Gambon as Dumbledore. I actually enjoyed him immensely in PoA. His acting was brilliant and he was a very convincing Dumbledore, especially with the tough job of replacing Harris. His portrayal of Dumbledore was the best in PoA, I think.

GoF was so-so. There were times where I felt that he did wonderfully and showed that he cared for Harry. I utterly disliked his reaction to Harry being chosen to participate in the Triwizard tournament though. I thought it was terrible, and not the proper Dumeldore reaction. But as the film progresses, he does show concern for Harry's safety and shows enough emotion.

OotP well, I was disappointed. I enjoyed the trial scene, but otherwise, I just dont think he did an accurate job of portrayin Dumbledore. The "dont you all have studying to do" line was totally out of character and sounded so harsh, ike Dumbledore could care less about his students. He seemed much too cruel and stern. I just dont think it really fit Dumbledore's character.


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Old April 27th, 2008, 2:26 pm
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Re: Michael Gambon as Albus Dumbledore

Well, I have said it before - I thoroughly enjoy Gambon'[s Dumbledore.

I love the glint in his eye - he comes across as wiley and calculating, and at the same time kindly and concerned as well.

This is the Dumbledore who won't seem incongruous once we get to see in DH that he really has a rather ruthless streak - yes, he has learned from his encounter with grindelwald, but he is still pretty ruthless when it comes to getting his way - just look how he manipulates both Snape and Harry!

Gambon's Dumbledore combines this with a distinct sense of power and self-confidence (most times - this gives his moments of weakness such an impact).... this is best visible in the scenes where he fights Voldemort at the ministry. Impressive: I had no doubt that I was seeing the most powerful wizard of his generation at work.

There is also that mischievous streak he has - best shown in the films where he distracts the minister from seeing Buckbeak escaping, and later, when Harry and Hermione return and he pretends that he knows nothin at all of what they've just been up to. Marvellous.

I also like how Gambon makes his Dumbledore rather flamboyant, a bit of a show-off, and an eccentric to boot. Those are qualities I love about the book Dumbledore - the man who can say about himself 'that was one of my better ideas and that's saying a lot' and who can counter the minister with 'you didn't think that I'll come quietly?' and stage a dramatic escape in front of everyone.

I also think that Gambon MUST have known about Dumbledore being gay, because at times he camps it up just a bit - not too much, but it is noticeable, at least with hindsight. I have a lot of fun watching him do this!


I think the one thing where he falls behind Harries' portrayal is Dumbledore's kindness - there is less of that, but where it is needed he does it well enough, I thought - e.g. the conversation at the end of GOF. I think this needed more time, and so perhaps Gambon isn't to balme that the scene didn't come off as it should. What we do get isn't too bad, I thought.

There are also the interesting moments where we see Dumbledore almost buckle under the strain - this isn't so clear in the books, and I am assuming that the director decided to play up these moments to show what is at stake... the 'don't you have any studying to do' moment is one of those, and his reaction to Harry's name coming out of the goblet. Im both cases I understand why theey chose to go with this - it allows viewers to see just how much is at nstake if even Dumbledore almost loses his cool of a bit. I think Gambon did well here, not overplaying those moments, but giving them a sense of panic that gets across what is at stake.

All in all, I think we get a very complex Dumbledore, perhaps not exactly like the character in the books, but similar to him in complexity, and in that mix of lighter and darker qualities .... For me, Gambon's portrayal was an improvement on the first two films, and I am very happy with it.


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Old April 27th, 2008, 5:12 pm
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Re: Michael Gambon as Albus Dumbledore

Quote:
Originally Posted by Klio
Gambon's Dumbledore combines this with a distinct sense of power and self-confidence (most times - this gives his moments of weakness such an impact)....
That's one of the things I like the most. I mean, take the scene in his office in GOF, just after Barty Crouch is murdered. The way he sits on the steps, runs his fingers along his wand, he just looks so sad (understandable, a friend has just been killed). More importantly though, he looks human, and I think that is the most important thing Gambon has brought to the role. Gambon's Dumbledore can be airy and jovial, but he can also have a very sad (almost tragic) air, one that is even better if you know the books. The range of emotions his Dumbledore has expressed is wonderful, and while of course, there are moments where he is out of character, the sheer humanity of most of his acting (in GOF especially I thought he was mostly superb) is what makes his performance appealing to me. This:


...was one my favourite images from GOF.


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Old April 27th, 2008, 5:12 pm
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Re: Michael Gambon as Albus Dumbledore

You've said it all for me, Klio.


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Old April 27th, 2008, 6:22 pm
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Re: Michael Gambon as Albus Dumbledore

LOL, Pearl... are you really just going to let me do all the work? Thanks for the , though


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Old April 27th, 2008, 9:16 pm
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Re: Michael Gambon as Albus Dumbledore

I have to be honest, I'm not a big fan of Michael Gambon's portrayal of Dumbledore.

JKR said that Gambon has a very dry sense of humor, something that I've picked up from the films. I have no problem with that, but my problem is that his humor shouldn't transfer in his potrayal of Dumbledore. Dumbledore does not have a dry, sarcastic sense of humor; actually, that's more like Snape. Dumbledore has a very eccentric, flamboyant sense of humor. He's the one who said, "Nitwit! Blubber! Oddment! Tweak!"

As ComicBookWorm pointed out, Gambon usually goes to the extremes. He either becomes passive or too aggressive.

The thing is, Dumbledore isn't passive. He's very calm and serene. He is at peace with the world most of the time. If someone yells at him, he doesn't lose his temper and yells back. He talks back in a calm, diplomatic manner. Dumbledore often has a twinkle in his eye, something that I haven't seen Gambon capture. He doesn't have that spirit of Dumbledore that the Hogwarts students enjoy so much.

But, most of all, I have a problem with how he's so aggressive. The scene in GoF comes to mind, naturally. I have a huge problem with the scene because it shows him shaking and yelling at Harry. That is completely out of character. That's like showing Voldemort cuddling a unicorn or something. Dumbledore rarely gets mad, and one of the few times he got mad was when Umbridge was shaking and yelling at Marietta Edgecome. The scene in GoF and the scene in the book I mentioned contradict each other when it comes to Dumbledore's personality.

I'm not saying that Gambon is a bad actor, but if he took the time to study Dumbledore's personality, I'm sure he'd do much better portraying him.


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Old April 27th, 2008, 9:43 pm
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Re: Michael Gambon as Albus Dumbledore

hmmmm... I wonder.

You say 'Dumbledore is this, and Dumbledore is that.....

But isn't that just one interpretation among many possible ones? I don't say yours isn't valid - it clearly is. I just think that the intepretation we see i n the films is also valid. Similar combination of traits, different emphasis.

It happens to be closer (though not identical) to what I saw when I read about Dumbledore in the books....


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Old April 27th, 2008, 9:53 pm
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Re: Michael Gambon as Albus Dumbledore

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Originally Posted by Klio View Post
LOL, Pearl... are you really just going to let me do all the work? Thanks for the , though
Yes, that was kind of ... cheeky.

Honestly, I can't help but be reminded of the Tolkien purists' outrage when they saw the trailer for FotR in which Gandalf was acting panicky in Bag End. "Gandalf never panics!" they all roared. And they were right: he doesn't.

But there you have it: film adaptors usually do take liberties with the source material and there are any number of ways in which to interpret a much loved character, IMO.

The great strength of Gambon's portrayal of Dumbledore is that this will stand the audience in good stead when it is finally revealed what a Machiavellian puppet-master Albus really was. Gambon humanises Dumbledore for me (I really do struggle with Book Albus a lot) and that is why, ultimately, his performance works. For me, at any rate.


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Old April 28th, 2008, 12:07 am
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Re: Michael Gambon as Albus Dumbledore

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I have to be honest, I'm not a big fan of Michael Gambon's portrayal of Dumbledore. .... I'm not saying that Gambon is a bad actor, but if he took the time to study Dumbledore's personality, I'm sure he'd do much better portraying him.
In addition to what Klio posted, one thing that you need to realize is that Gambon is only partly responsible for how Dumbledore is portrayed. The Director's are largely responsible: they tell the actor what to do and how to do it. Directors like Cuarón are very hands-on: they get in the trench and pantomime what they want. Directors like Yates do it over and over again in subtly different ways in order to find the one that they most like.

The other thing to remember is that we are dealing with a book/screen adaptation here. In the book, we are told not how Dumbledore acts so much as how Harry interprets those actions. (Harry himself calls those into question.) Now, Dumbledore often acts aloof and uninterested: but there is always some small thing that Harry interprets as Dumbledore actually showing concern. That would not work on screen: it is impossible to make the audience focus on a "twinkle" unless the camera uses closeup "face" shots: and those usually are awful. (For a good example, watch the first season of "Star Trek: Next Generation" where reaction shots would absolutely kill every episode and often reduce them to unintentional comedies.)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Klio View Post
Similar combination of traits, different emphasis.

It happens to be closer (though not identical) to what I saw when I read about Dumbledore in the books....
And this is a key point. The narrative is given from the perspective of the protagonist, and Harry interprets Dumbledore's actions for us. A film simply cannot do this.

So, what the film must do is present Dumbledore as passionately concerned about both the Greater Good but especially Harry Potter's good. He's the old hippy activist, who does not particularly trust the system. More than anything else, Dumbledore must be shown to care: and re-enacting this on screen would work only if the movie could somehow freeze-frame and blow-up subtle behaviors. What Rowling provides are perfectly adequate gills: fine for the literary fish, but useless and even deadly for the cinematic lizard.


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Originally Posted by Pearl_Took View Post
Honestly, I can't help but be reminded of the Tolkien purists' outrage when they saw the trailer for FotR in which Gandalf was acting panicky in Bag End. "Gandalf never panics!" they all roared. And they were right: he doesn't.
Actually, this is a great example. Book!Gandalf who badgers Frodo about what he (Frodo) is going to do, and who then does not even offer Frodo any decent advice, would have utterly derailed Gandalf then and there. The important thing was to show Gandalf caring: and "panicky" Gandalf was a good way to do that. Gandalf should be panicked if he actually gives a rat's patooky about Frodo; later on, Gandalf should be despairing if actually gives a rat's patooky about Frodo. It's a question of showing what
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But there you have it: film adaptors usually do take liberties with the source material and there are any number of ways in which to interpret a much loved character, IMO.
I would go a step further: it is no more "taking liberty" here than it is to replace "OK!" with "Das ist gut" when translating from English to Deutsch. Page and screen are essentially different languages: and often literal translation means that the translation tells us nothing.

As for Machiavellian Dumbledore, well, that is a big part of the Hallows story. Harry has to figure out that Dumbledore was doing this for The Greater Good, and that:
  1. Dumbledore did not enjoy doing this;
  2. Dumbledore did this or Voldemort won;
  3. Altruism is not so simply being willing to risk yourself, but also being willing to risk those close to you for people you've never met.

Now, much of this will be down to what Yates has Radcliffe do; however, Gambon's part will be important, too. He has to come across as genuinely remorseful about what he had to do, but also fully knowing that setting Harry up as a lamb for slaughter was the only way to defeat Voldemort and possibly the only way to save Harry: but also that Harry's salvation hinged completely on Harry himself being unaware of this.

Given the range of emotions Gambon has shown us, I do not doubt that he and Yates will do this quite well. Dumbledore must be demonstrative here: a serene Dumbledore will look like an uncaring Dumbledore.

(The Machiavellian element was big for Gandalf, too: much of his "diminishment" in the eyes of Tolkien purists stems from scenes where Gandalf acts like he cares about Frodo! Tolkien purists might have screamed, but McKellan deserved more than the Oscar nomination, he deserved the Oscar.)


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Old April 28th, 2008, 1:42 am
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Re: Michael Gambon as Albus Dumbledore

I thought both actors played Dumbledore well, just in different ways.

The Richard Harris's portrayal had more of the calm, mysterious, twinkle eyedness and looked much more like how I pictured Dumbledore.

Gambon makes his Dumbledore rather flamboyant and hippy-ishly eccentric. I think he did a great job jumping in to the role mid stream so to speak. I wouldn't expect him to try to play Dumbledore exactly like Harris did as I think that would have been rather disrespectful. Like I said I think they both captured the essence of Dumbledore just in different area's. Like I think Harris's Dumbledore lacked a few things that Gambon's Dumbledore captured beautifully and vise verse. I can't imagine Harris's Dumbledore pulling off the GOF scene anymore than I can picture Gambon's Dumbledore doing the Harry Drop off at the Dursley scene in SS.

Call me weird but the thing that bothered me more than anything else was the change from snowy white hair to grey. But I think that's more of a continuity issue than anything else.



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Old April 28th, 2008, 2:40 am
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Re: Michael Gambon as Albus Dumbledore

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Originally Posted by MoonStarRaven View Post
I thought both actors played Dumbledore well, just in different ways.

The Richard Harris's portrayal had more of the calm, mysterious, twinkle eyedness and looked much more like how I pictured Dumbledore.

Gambon makes his Dumbledore rather flamboyant and hippy-ishly eccentric. I think he did a great job jumping in to the role mid stream so to speak. I wouldn't expect him to try to play Dumbledore exactly like Harris did as I think that would have been rather disrespectful. Like I said I think they both captured the essence of Dumbledore just in different area's. Like I think Harris's Dumbledore lacked a few things that Gambon's Dumbledore captured beautifully and vise verse. I can't imagine Harris's Dumbledore pulling off the GOF scene anymore than I can picture Gambon's Dumbledore doing the Harry Drop off at the Dursley scene in SS.

Call me weird but the thing that bothered me more than anything else was the change from snowy white hair to grey. But I think that's more of a continuity issue than anything else.
I agree with you completly!


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Old April 30th, 2008, 12:30 am
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Re: Michael Gambon as Albus Dumbledore

Quote:
Originally Posted by Klio View Post
hmmmm... I wonder.

You say 'Dumbledore is this, and Dumbledore is that.....

But isn't that just one interpretation among many possible ones? I don't say yours isn't valid - it clearly is. I just think that the intepretation we see i n the films is also valid. Similar combination of traits, different emphasis.

It happens to be closer (though not identical) to what I saw when I read about Dumbledore in the books....
My apologies. I should have mentioned that it's all in my opinion. I just feel that the Dumbledore in PoA-OotP doesn't match my interpretation.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wimsey View Post
In addition to what Klio posted, one thing that you need to realize is that Gambon is only partly responsible for how Dumbledore is portrayed. The Director's are largely responsible: they tell the actor what to do and how to do it. Directors like Cuarón are very hands-on: they get in the trench and pantomime what they want. Directors like Yates do it over and over again in subtly different ways in order to find the one that they most like.
Very true, I forgot to mention that in my post. I am disappointed in them, too. But as meesha pointed out in another thread, it doesn't seem like Gambon invested time into understanding his character. He doesn't have to read the books in order to grasp the character he is portraying (though that would be the best way to understand, IMO). I find that a bit disappointing, because most actors try to invest time in understanding the character, something that I never felt was the case with Gambon. I could be wrong, though.

Quote:
That would not work on screen: it is impossible to make the audience focus on a "twinkle" unless the camera uses closeup "face" shots: and those usually are awful.
The twinkle thing was just an example. He doesn't have to have a twinkle in his eyes, but he could have that friendly, eccentric attitude that is given in the books.

But I understand the rest of your post. My only problem is that the Dumbledore in the movies doesn't match the one in the books. Dumbledore in the first two films acted more like the one I recognize in the books, and that's why I'm disappointed.


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Old April 30th, 2008, 12:45 am
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Re: Michael Gambon as Albus Dumbledore

i dunno but i nevr noticed that there are two dumbledore haha im so stupid... anyway, the first dumbledore really looks like a wizard to me, but the new one makes me think hes a very powerful wizard.. i love the new dumbledore now..


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Old May 5th, 2008, 11:47 am
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Re: Michael Gambon as Albus Dumbledore

Well, I'll say one thing, guys.

Penitent, remorseful Albus (as well he might be ) in the King's Cross sequence ... Gambon's going to nail that, IMO.



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Old May 5th, 2008, 12:50 pm
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Re: Michael Gambon as Albus Dumbledore

Well,I was watching goblet last night,and i noticed Gambon looked pretty stiff in motions,too strong ,too full of wrath when he finds out about Harry´s name in the goblet.Just not Dumbledorish enough ,IMO.

I hope by now the screen writer understands better the Dumbledore character and gives him advice on how to portray the character better.


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Old May 5th, 2008, 12:53 pm
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Re: Michael Gambon as Albus Dumbledore

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Well,I was watching goblet last night,and i noticed Gambon looked pretty stiff in motions,too strong ,too full of wrath when he finds out about Harry´s name in the goblet.Just not Dumbledorish enough ,IMO.

I hope by now the screen writer understands better the Dumbledore character and gives him advice on how to portray the character better.
Yea, I remember that. I too hope that the screen writer understands the character better, so he can give Gambon some advice on how to play the character better than he has been playing him.


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Sad about the upcoming closing of the forums, but I won't forget you guys, thanks for the memories!

Proud fan of the TV show, The X Files and proud shipper of Mulder and Scully!!

RIP Toys R' Us. Once a Toys R' Us Kid, always one.
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