It has been twenty years since the release of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone and most fans are bewildered by the idea of so much time passing by. Rupert Grint, the actor who played Ron in the films however, perfectly summarises this feeling when he says, “It does not feel like so much time has gone by. But, I have had kidney stones and a baby, so time has definitely passed”.
The Harry Potter 20th Anniversary: Return to Hogwarts, which was released by the makers on January 1, is a package of tears, smiles, and memories shared by the cast and crew over the years.
As an emotional Emma Watson, who played the character of ever-so-intelligent Hermione Granger, walks through the doors of Hogwarts, nostalgia smacks viewers on their face and the world feels magical yet again.
Silverscreen India takes a look back at the show and writes about some moments that stood out.
The struggle behind casting Daniel Radcliffe
Imagine Harry Potter but without Daniel Radcliffe. Feels unreal, right? Director Chris Columbus, who helmed the first two films in the Potter series, talks about casting Radcliffe in the role of Potter and elaborates on how difficult it was to convince the actor’s parents for an audition with him. He describes the casting search for Harry Potter as “insane”. When Columbus spots a young Radcliffe in David Copperfield (1999), he is absolutely certain that the actor would do justice to Potter’s role. While Radcliffe’s parents initially refuse, they finally allow him to audition for the role. The rest as they say, is history.
Emma Watson’s crush on Tom Felton
There is a moment in the reunion where Emma Watson confesses about having a crush on Felton during the initial days, making the dreams of Harry Potter fanfiction writers come true. Emma speaks about an on-set tutoring session in which they are asked to draw God. “Tom had drawn a girl with a backward cap on a skateboard,” she says. Smiling further, she says “And I just don’t know how to say it — I just fell in love with him”. She is quick to add that nothing ever happened “romantically” between them. Felton too speaks about Watson being like a little sister to him in the reunion and says, “I’ve always had a soft spot for her, and that continues to this day. There’s always been something that’s like, I don’t know, a kinship”.
The hamster funeral
One thing that makes the reunion special is Radcliffe, Watson, and Grint sitting and sharing their experiences about growing up on the sets of Harry Potter. At one point during the special Watson reminds the other two about her pet hamster named Millie on set. On the unfortunate day of the Hamster’s death Watson says that the set designers “built Millie her own custom-made wooden coffin that had velvet on the inside … and it had her name engraved because I was beside myself”.
Radcliffe’s love letter to Helena Bonham Carter
One of the vilest characters in the Harry Potter series is Bellatrix Lestrange, the evil witch known for killing Harry’s godfather Sirius Black. While there is intense animosity on-screen, the relationship between Radcliffe and Carter is starkly different in real life. In the special, Carter reveals that after they finished filming in 2011, Radcliffe wrote a sweet message to her and ended with the lines, “I do love you, and I just wish I’d been born 10 years earlier, I might have been within a chance”.
Exchanging laughter, Carter says that she will always treasure it.
Ron and Hermione’s epic kiss, nothing short of being awkward
If there is something that never felt out of place, it is definitely Ron and Hermione’s romance in the films! In real life though, the actors reveal that they struggled when filming their first kiss. “Kissing Rupert is one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. It just felt wrong, so wrong on every level! Because Dan, Rupert, and I are so much like siblings,” Watson recalls.
“We just kept laughing, and I was just really scared we were never going to get it because we just couldn’t take it seriously,” says Watson while Grint reveals that he had “blacked out” while filming the scene.
Watson’s favourite scene in the entire series
Many fans may find the dance that Harry and Hermione share in The Deathly Hallows ‘controversial’ but Watson reveals that it was probably one of her most favourite scenes in the entire series. “The scene that I thought was going to be really awkward, and I wasn’t sure about at all, was our dance. Now that’s one of my favorite scenes from the whole of the series,” she says.
“So much said in the scene that was unspoken, and I love that,” she further adds.
The tributes to ones who are no longer around
The emotional reunion also sees the cast and crew talking about the people from the franchise who are no longer with with including seminal actors like Richard Harris, Richard Griffiths, John Hurt, Alan Rickman and Helen McCrory who have played a role is shaping the series.
Felton, who plays Draco Malfoy remembers his on-screen mother McCrory and says, “‘She taught me a lot. See? I can’t even say it. She had this ability to sort of show such empathy in her eyes. It was a real treat to work with her.”
Watson too reminisces about her shoots with Rickman says, “Alan Rickman never talked to me like I was a child. He always took my thoughts and opinions very seriously, which I was very touched by”.
All good things come to an end, and so did the Harry Potter films. During the special, Grint recalls, “I feel like I lost track of who I was and who the character was and didn’t really know where they ended or began,” while recalling the last few scenes on set. Radcliffe adds, “Every part of my life is connected to Potter”.
Watson agrees and says that the end was definitely difficult. But the three, with tears in their eyes, also say that they feel extremely lucky to have been a part of it.