Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson have been among the most popular child actors in the world, thanks to the fame of the Harry Potter film franchise, adapted from JK Rowling’s books. It is near impossible to separate their onsceen characters – Harry Potter, Ron Weasely and Hermione Granger – from their real-life personas. And, in the Harry Potter 20th Anniversary: Return to Hogwarts special episode, the actors reveal exactly how similar they were to their onscreen characters, in real life.
The reunion episode, streaming now in India on Amazon Prime Video, brings together the actors, directors and the producer of one of the most celebrated film franchises of all time. The actors rewind right back to their auditions, their first impressions of each other, and how they fit right into the roles they were chosen for.
Among several lesser known facts was Emma Watson’s revelation of the fact that she had, as a child, developed a crush on co-star Tom Felton, who played Draco Malfoy. At the time that they were cast as Hermione and Draco, Watson was 11-years-old and Felton was 14, so she was doomed to be seen as the “little sister.”
“I walked into the room where we were having tutoring,” Watson said. “The assignment that had been given was to draw what you thought God looked like, and Tom had drawn a girl with a backward cap on a skateboard. And I just don’t know how to say it – I just fell in love with him. I used to come in every day and look for his number on the call sheet, it was number seven, and if his name was on the call sheet, it was an extra exciting day. He was three years above me and so for him he was like, ‘You’re like my little sister’.”
Felton says he knew all about it. “I think I was in the hair and make-up chair and someone said something along the lines of, ‘Yeah, she had a crush on you,'” he said during the reunion interview. “I became very protective over her. Yeah, 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.”
Emma also reveals that she almost quits the franchise before the Order of the Phoenix was shot. Director David Yates shares that Watson contemplated exiting the franchise. The actress also recalled rereading a diary entry from around the same time she was considering quitting, and said it was clear she felt lonely. “Things started getting spicy for all of us,” she tells Rupert in the episode. “I think I was scared. I don’t know if you ever felt like it got to a tipping point where you were like, ‘This is kind of forever now.'”
When explaining why she stayed in her role, Emma says that she made the decision on her own. She also mentions that the Harry Potter fandom was very supportive. “No one had to convince me to see it through. The fans genuinely wanted you to succeed and like all genuinely had everyone’s backs. How great is that?” she says.
Additional Harry Potter film alumni joining the memorable tribute include Helena Bonham Carter, Robbie Coltrane, Ralph Fiennes, Jason Isaacs, Gary Oldman, Tom Felton, James Phelps, Oliver Phelps, Mark Williams, Bonnie Wright, Alfred Enoch, Ian Hart, Toby Jones, Matthew Lewis, Evanna Lynch, producer David Heyman and filmmakers Chris Columbus, Alfonso Cuarón, Mike Newell and David Yates.
Harry Potter 20th Anniversary: Return to Hogwarts is produced by Warner Bros. Unscripted Television in association with Warner Horizon at the iconic Warner Bros. Studio Tour London—The Making of Harry Potter. The special is executive produced by Casey Patterson of Casey Patterson Entertainment (A West Wing Special to Benefit When We All Vote) and Pulse Films (Beastie Boys Story).