The Harry Potter reunion finally aired tonight with a string of behind the scenes secrets, including a distressing revelation from Emma Watson.
Harry Potter fans have been treated to a treasure trove of nostalgia, secrets from the set and behind-the-scenes stories with the premiere of the reunion tonight.
Harry Potter 20th Anniversary: Return to Hogwarts dropped on Binge tonight, with the near two-hour long special leaving no (Philosopher’s) stone unturned.
From reuniting the cast and crew, to the main trio’s “magic” first screen test, to the child stars mucking about on set and the films’ everlasting legacy … The HBO Max extravaganza left very little to the imagination for Potterheads around the world.
The emotional reunion takes viewers on a journey starting at the very beginning with the story’s impact after the release of JK Rowling’s beloved books in the ’90s, before exploring the making of each film one-by-one.
Emma Watson’s secret battle
When the fifth film – Order of the Phoenix – was to begin production, the child cast were evolving into young adults.
The perils of early childhood fame and an enormous workload was taking its toll on British actress Emma Watson, now 31, who revealed during the reunion that she didn’t want to return to the franchise after four astronomically successful movies.
“People forget what she took on, and how gracefully she did it,” Tom Felton (Draco Malfoy) said of his co-star.
Watson said: “I did find a diary entry (from the time) that was kind of like, Mmmm. I could see that at times I was lonely. The fame thing had really hit home in a big way.”
She later tells Rupert Grint, “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’.”
Grint said he had those moments “all the way through”.
Watson said her Harry Potter family, and her diehard fans, helped her carry on with the role of Hermione for a further four films.
“No one had to convince me to see it through … The fans genuinely wanted you to succeed. And we all genuinely had each other’s backs. How great is that?” Watson said.
JK Rowling’s dated cameo
After reports Rowling wasn’t returning for the special following her controversial transgender comments, the British author did briefly appear throughout the reunion via solo interviews.
However, a somewhat telling note flashed onscreen during her part, with a tag reading, “Filmed in 2019”.
The reunion special was filmed in late 2021, meaning archived footage of Rowling was used. She only featured during a segment about the casting of the role of Harry Potter.
“We couldn’t find Harry. We just couldn’t find Harry. And it was getting kind of weird and panicky,” Rowling is seen saying.
“It was very emotional actually seeing this kid (Daniel Radcliffe) sitting there, talking. That’s it, We found him.”
‘Hormones flying around’
When it came to the fourth film – Goblet of Fire – the cast were entering their teens. Their characters were all developing crushes for the first time, and naturally, this was the case off-screen too.
“That film is just all about teenagers having crushes for the first time, asking someone as a date to the Yule Ball, they just mirrored those awkward phases you go through as a teenager, and they really felt like that too because we were literally having the same experiences,” said Bonnie Wright – who played Ginny Weasley.
Radcliffe said at the time, he was turning to Watson for dating advice.
“The amount of prep and coaching Emma and I would give each other on texting the opposite sex. If she was texting a boy or I was texting a girl, I’d be like ‘She sent me this many kisses back, what do I do? This is a nightmare.’
“That film was probably peak hormone. At least for me. It was exactly what you’d expect. Especially because that film, they brought in new groups of people who were purposefully hot. So yeah, that film, it was all kicking off.”
Grint added, “It was a very interesting film in terms of … A lot of hormones flying around.”
But only two co-stars were outed in the love fest. In news that has been circling for quite some time now, Watson and Felton both confirmed they were “in love” at one stage.
“I walked into the room where we were having tutoring and the assignment we 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,” Watson said.
“I used to come in everyday and look for his number on the call sheet. Number 7. And if his number was on the call sheet, it was an extra exciting day.
“I think the truth of it was, Tom was often the one I could always be more vulnerable with.”
Felton said he still had a soft spot for Watson “to the day”.
“I think I was in the hair and makeup chair and someone said, she (Watson) has a crush on you,” Felton recalled.
“I became very protective over her. I’ve always had a soft spot for her and that continues to the day. There’s always been something that’s … I don’t know, a kinship.”
However, Watson added that the pair never took their feelings to the next step.
“Nothing has ever ever ever happened romantically with us, we just love each other. That’s all I can say about that.”
The Hunt for Harry and co
Director Chris Columbus – who shot the first two films – had a clear vision for Harry. But he couldn’t find the right actor.
That is, until he saw a then 10-year-old Radcliffe starring in BBC’s David Copperfield.
“Immediately a light bulb went off, and I said, ‘This is Harry Potter. This is the kid I’ve been looking for for months’.”
Unfortunately for Columbus, Radcliffe’s parents declined the opportunity for their son, with the deal on the table comprising seven films to be shot in LA.
“Mum and dad were like, ‘It’s not going to happen. That’s a huge disruption to his life’,” Radcliffe said.
Producers were desperate to lock him down after screen testing Radcliffe with Watson and Grint (Ron Weasley) – with the trio sharing unmatched chemistry.
“I do remember when it was the three of us, something felt right,” Watson told her co-stars. “I remember the click.”
Thankfully, Radcliffe’s parents were convinced to say yes on behalf of their son, after producers agreed the film would be predominantly shot in the UK.
And what an utter relief they did.
“On our last day (of filming), I just lost it,” Radcliffe said. “Every part of my life is connected to Potter. When I meet people who it’s had an impact on, or the books or the films part of their identity, it makes you really proud. There are people on these films that are, a foundation to who I am as a person, an actor, I feel so lucky to be where I am, and to have the life I have, but none of it is possible without this. It was a very good 10 years.”
“There’s something about Harry Potter that makes life richer,” Watson added. “I just feel so lucky that I get to be part of a world that people love so much, and that makes them so happy.”
We see a glorious moment where Grint tells Watson “I love you”, as the pair break down in tears.
“As a friend,” he adds cheekily. “You’ll always be part of my life.”
If you weren’t already crying, the reunion closes with a scene from the final movie between Albus Dumbledore (Michael Gambon) and the late Alan Rickman’s Severus Snape.
“After all this time?” Dumbledore asks. “Always,” Snape says. Cue the credits. And the tears.
Harry Potter 20th Anniversary: Return to Hogwarts streams on BINGE
Originally published as Harry Potter reunion recap: Emma Watson reveals secret struggle
Source: Sun Herald