The stars of the Harry Potter films grew up in front of the camera. When the first movie, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, premiered in November 2001, lead actor Daniel Radcliffe was just 12 years old, meaning that he went through his awkward phase with millions of people watching.
In November 2016, Radcliffe told Digital Spy that he has never sat down and watched the award-winning flicks because they’re too cringeworthy. He admitted: “One day I probably will watch them back if I have kids, so I’ll do that then. But hopefully they’ll enjoy them and that’ll distract me from my own performance.”
On the other hand, Rupert Grint, who started playing Ron Weasley at just 13 years old, can only watch the first few Harry Potter flicks. “I did see Harry Potter and the [Sorcerer’s] Stone not long ago, for the first time since the premiere, and I actually enjoyed looking back,” he told Radio Times in December 2018. “But the more recent ones I definitely couldn’t do … I could probably go up to [third movie] Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.”
The Snatch alum also added that he “missed out on normal things” while he was filming the big-screen adaptation of J.K. Rowling’s beloved book series.
Emma Watson (Hermione Granger), who was 11 when the first Harry Potter flick premiered, said growing up in the spotlight was tough. “I was working on Harry Potter while I was growing up, and the attention it brought me made me feel quite isolated,” she recalled to The Telegraph in September 2012. “It’s only recently that I’ve felt much better in my own skin and known my own worth a lot more than I used to.”
Evanna Lynch was a Potterhead long before landing the coveted role of Luna Lovegood in the franchise, which made her first set experience daunting.
“Emma [Watson] was always so nice to me and made an effort to get to know me and make me feel at home, which was a huge deal coming from her. And because I was such a big Harry Potter fan, I was very nervous around those three and intimidated by them,” Lynch exclusively recalled to Us Weekly in June 2021. “And I used to be in the car on the way to set, kind of rehearsing conversations I’d have with them. And obviously, the conversations never worked out like that. I was so nervous. So, I just remember her being really kind and making a lot of effort to make me feel at home.”
To celebrate the 20th anniversary of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, the franchise stars reunited for a televised retrospective special that aired on HBO Max in January 2022. In addition to Radcliffe, Grint and Watson, several of their former costars also attended the televised event, including Helena Bonham Carter, Robbie Coltrane, Ralph Fiennes, Jason Isaacs, Imelda Staunton, Ian Hart and director Chris Columbus.
Radcliffe, for his part, revealed during a trailer for the program that it was “so joyous” to come together, gushing, “I wouldn’t be the person I am without so many people here.”
After 20 years and eight films, keep scrolling to see how the cast from the record-breaking wizarding series changed from the first movie to the HBO Max reunion: