Behind the scenes: Horace Slughorn

The curious character of Horace Slughorn initially had us questioning whether to trust him or not. This is how seasoned actor Jim Broadbent tackled the complex Potions Professor.

Professor Slughorn looks worried at the prospect of being asked about Tom Riddle
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Extracted from Harry Potter: The Character Vault by Jody Revenson

By the time Jim Broadbent joined the Harry Potter films as Potions Professor Horace Slughorn, he had already played a rich diversity of roles in more than one hundred films. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince offered him a new acting challenge. ‘When we first meet my character,’ he explains, ‘I am disguised as an armchair.’

Horace Slughorn transfigures back from an armchair into a human
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Did Broadbent have anything in his long career he could draw upon? ‘I did a voice-over of a lavatory seat once. But this is my first real chair.’ Jany Temime sourced the lilac-coloured material that transforms from upholstery into pajamas, but this was just the first piece of Slughorn’s extensive wardrobe.

An illustration of Slughorn in his pyjamas.
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Temime believes that Slughorn isn’t the clotheshorse that Dumbledore is, but is ‘somebody who just has the right outfit for the right occasion’. She feels that he has been holding on to his clothes for twenty-five years or so, and that though they have remained fashionable, they are a bit worn and shabby. ‘He just keeps wearing them, and perhaps that is to recapture his glory,’ she muses.

‘Once upon a time these clothes were quite beautiful, but now they’re so used, buttons are hanging off, his shoes are damaged, the fabric has been mended again and again.’

We are offered a chance to see the clothes in their original condition, when a memory of his time teaching Tom Riddle is seen through the Pensieve. Jim Broadbent was padded to give him girth and age, which was removed for his ‘younger’ scenes.