The Behind the Scenes Story of Growing Up in Harry Potter
VOICE OVER: Emily - WatchMojo
WRITTEN BY: Richard Bush
You've read the books and watched the movies, but do you know the behind the scenes story of growing up in Harry Potter?
We all know the story of the magic. But what was it like growing up with the weight of the wizarding world, and its fans’ expectations, on your shoulders? Welcome to MsMojo, and today we’re going to be taking a look at the behind-the-scenes story of growing up in Harry Potter.
For this video, we’ll be examining the experiences of the young actors in the “Harry Potter” film franchise, from juggling school schedules to battling head lice.
Shooting to A-list stardom at the tender ages of 10 and 11 was no doubt daunting for Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint. And as they grew older, movie by movie, they all experienced their own individual struggles with fame. In fact, the pressures of filming almost had ‘Hermione’ star Emma Watson quit the franchise, numerous times, due to the shooting schedule constantly clashing with her education. Watson was determined to complete her studies, which specifically included finishing her A-level exams and going to university.
Ultimately, it came down to changing the entire filming schedule around her, or replacing her with a different actor. The filmmakers chose the former, with a rejig of the filming schedule allowing Watson to dedicate adequate time to her studies. Can you imagine if they just changed the person playing Hermione halfway through the franchise. Weird, right?
Rupert Grint has also had an interesting relationship with fame. He’s stated on multiple occasions that the idea of people taking his picture in the street baffles him. In fact, he has called it “dehumanising”, feeling as though he’s living two seperate lives - one as a regular guy and one as some famous guy people ogle at.
Speaking of fame and its unrelenting spotlight, Daniel Radcliffe almost quit the franchise halfway through too, for fear of being typecast. Radcliffe has since spoken out about wrestling with that decision, eventually coming to terms with the fact that he will forever be remembered for the role - and that he’s okay with that. And we thank the stars that he stuck with it!
Sticking with being Harry wasn’t without its struggles though. Radcliffe went through some tough times during filming as he got older, specifically struggling with alcohol, which he states left him dead behind the eyes while filming certain scenes. He also admitted to cavorting with “Harry Potter” groupies while he was drunk. Thankfully, Radcliffe was able to kick the booze, and says he much prefers sobriety.
As young cast members grew up, going from early to late teens, romantic sparks understandably flew between many of them. And we’re not talking about that intense kissing scene between Radcliffe and Watson from “Deathly Hallows: Part 1”. Although there did seem to be some serious chemistry there. Anyway . . .
Seemingly not a day went by where news stories weren't alluding to on-set relationships between Hogwarts students - especially when it came to boys all fancying Emma Watson. BUt the biggest will-they-won’t they had to be Emma and ‘Draco Malfoy’ star Tom Felton.
The two have been very close friends since they met and Watson has admitted that between the ages of 10 and 12, she had a crush on the blonde-haired Slytherin. Watson stated that the combination of him being the older bad boy, and a skateboarder, made her crush on him big time - sparking rumours that Dramione could have actually materialized. Although they remain close friends, and sometimes post loving pictures together on social media, unfortunately for fanfic writers out there, the two are not, and never have been a couple. Oh yeah, and here’s a fact to blow your mind: at the end of “Deathly Hallows: Part 2” where the older Draco is saying goodbye to his kid, the actor who plays his wife in the scene, Jade Olivia, was his actual girlfriend in real life at the time!
Aside from being in the limelight and fending off feelings of romance, the young cast of “Harry Potter” essentially became a big family on set, and with each movie, the young cast connected more and more with their characters. Director Alfonso Cuarón famously asked the trio to write essays about their characters in order for them to better understand their psyches. As you might expect, Watson wrote a long 16-pager. Radcliffe made a decent effort with a one page essay - but Grint made a real splash when he didn’t turn in anything at all. His excuse? Ron wouldn't write an essay, so why should he!
There are tons of other hilarious, shocking and touching stories from set, like the time a bunch of the young cast got those pesky head lice, and production had to get shut down. Or the fact that many cast members stole coins from the Gringotts bank as souvenirs. And then there was Rupert Grint and Matthew Lewis being forced to avoid going anywhere near Alan Rickman’s BMW, because they spilled some milkshake in another one of his other cars. Contrary to what that last story would lead you to believe, the late Rickman wasn’t the grumpy Snape you’d imagine in real life. There was certainly a lighter side to the scowling Hogwarts professor, which many of the young cast discovered first hand. Like when he tricked Radcliffe with a fart machine he hid in his sleeping bag during one of their scenes - embarrassing the young wizard in front of the whole crew.
But Rickman wasn’t just a joker to the young Radcliffe, he became somewhat of a role model. Following Rickman’s death, Radcliffe posted comments of admiration for the actor, stating that even as a young actor, Rickman treated him as a peer rather than a child. And that whenever he was performing on stage, Rickman would go out of his way to come and watch.
Growing up with the pressure of such a huge franchise has got to be tough. But ask the famous Gryffindor trio and they will all say how much they valued their time at Hogwarts. Rupert Grint famously said of their time filming together that he feels that they’ve blended into one person. The day they wrapped on the last movie was emotional to say the least, with the three of them embracing each other, in tears.
They grew up with their on-screen personas, and so did we.