See who was injured on set, who wanted to quit the franchise midway through and which costars had not-so-secret crushes on each other
HBO Max kicked off 2022 by dropping one helluva reunion special when the clock struck midnight: “Harry Potter 20th Anniversary: Return to Hogwarts.”
The nearly two-hour celebration of all things Harry Potter featured brand new interviews with the cast and crew, many of them reuniting for the first time in a long time to reminisce on their time filming all eight movie adaptations of J.K. Rowling’s incredibly popular book series. While the controversial author herself was relegated to brief mentions and file footage, everyone from the core trio of Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint to their Hogwarts classmates and adult foes were featured in a series of candid conversations about the franchise.
While we recommend watching the full special for any die hard Potterheads, below are five of the biggest revelations to come out of the magical reunion.
By the time the gang go to the fifth movie, Watson was apparently starting to get burnt out playing Hermione Granger.
“When I started, one thing that [the producers] and the studio spoke to me about was Emma is not sure if she wants to come back to do another Potter,” explained director David Yates.
“People forget what she took on and how gracefully she did it,” added Tom Felton, before explaining the sometimes isolating experience for her. “David and Rupert, they had each other, I had my cronies, whereas Emma was not only younger, she was by herself.”
“I did find a diary entry that was kind of like … I could see that at times, I was lonely,” admitted Watson herself. She added that things “started to get a little spicy” around “Order of the Phoenix,” explaining she “was scared” at the time. “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,” she said to Grint, who had “similar feelings” about calling it a day.
Both Grint and Radcliffe they all never really checked in on each other’s well-being at the time, as they were just young teenagers who didn’t know better. “It didn’t really occur to us that we were all having similar feelings,” said Rupert.
“The fame thing had finally hit home, in a big way,” added Watson, who said that, in the end, nobody “had to convince me to see it through” and she stuck around. “The fans genuinely wanted us to succeed, and we all genuinely had each other’s backs. How great is that?”
During filming on “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire,” director Mike Newell actually got injured while giving feedback on a scene with James and Oliver Phelps, who played Fred and George Weasley.
The boys explained they were filming a moment in which the twins had to fight each other — and Newell just didn’t think they were giving it their all.
“These two were sort of prissing about at it. And I said, ‘No, come on boys, it’s a fight,'” said Newell, adding that he then went to demonstrate what he was looking for on one of the two boys. “Of course, I was a tubby, 60-year-old gent at that stage and I really shouldn’t have done it.”
“I remember gripping him around the waist and trying to fling him about and cracked a couple of ribs,” he added. “So I was in absolute agony from then on but of course the wonderful thing was I had made a complete twit of myself and everyone felt much better for that.
It wasn’t just broken bones on the set of “Goblet of Fire,” however, as Radcliffe filming that movie was a “peak hormone” for him and the rest of the “purposefully hot” cast members added to fill out some of the other schools competing in the Tri-Wizard tournament.
As the stars talked about some of the awkward adolescent moments they went through working on the movies, Felton said that he and Watson had “always loved each other” and he had heard, at one point, she had a crush on him.
“I used to come in every day and look for his number on the call sheet. It was number seven and if his number was on the call sheet, it was an extra exciting day,” she explained. “He was three years above me and so, for him, he was like, you’re like my little sister.”
Felton said he became “protective” of her and has had a “soft spot” for Watson that continues to this day. She added, “I think really the truth of it was Tom was the one I could often be more vulnerable with. Nothing has ever ever ever happened romantically with us. We just love each other, that’s all I can say about that.”
Daniel Radcliffe and Helena Bonham Carter Love
Radcliffe had his own one-on-one reunion with Helena Bomhan Carter on the set of the The Lestrange Vault at Gringotts Wizarding Bank.
As they sat down together, she pulled out her phone and showed Radcliffe a photo of an autograph he gave her back in the day. She then had him read his message to her out loud. “Dear HBC, it was a pleasure being your costar and coaster in the sense that I always ended up holding your coffee. I do love you,” he began, before getting embarrassed at what it said next.
“I wish I had been born 10 years earlier,” he read, “I might have been in with a chance.”
She joked she’d always treasure that note — adding that she keeps it in her bathroom at home.
The cast got emotional as they shared memories of costars who are no longer with us, including Richard Harris, Richard Griffiths, John Hurt, Alan Rickman and Helen McCrory.
“His passing was the one that affected me most,” Radcliffe said of Griffiths’ death. “He was generous with knowledge and just wanted to share everything with you.”
“She taught me a lot,” said Felton as he got choked up speaking about his on-screen mom, McCrory. “She had this ability to show such empathy in her eyes. It was a real treat to work with her.”
“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,” added Watson.
Sealed with a “Horrifying” Kiss
Toward the end of the special, Watson and Grint opened up about their connection both on-screen and off — and that lip-lock between Ron and Hermione.
“It was meant to be this dramatic make-out, because you and I kept corpsing, we kept laughing and I was just really scared we were never going to get it because we couldn’t take it seriously,” recalled Watson, as behind the scenes footage from the shoot showed just that.
Radcliffe recalled being “an absolute dick” about the kiss, telling them both he demanded to be on set to watch it happen before apologizing for his behavior at the time.
Watson said she just went for it, because she didn’t think her screen partner would. “I kinda think I blacked out,” joked Grint. “Kissing Rupert is one of the hardest things I have ever had to do. It just felt wrong, so wrong on every level because Dan, Rupert, and I are so much siblings,” added Watson.
Both Watson and Grint started crying in the final moments of the special as they talked about their emotional bond by the end of the franchise. “The way it feels for me now, seeing you here, having had time apart. It feels like you’re like a pillar of my life,” said Watson.
“I’ve watched you grow up, we watched each other grow up, we grew up together. We’re family. We always will be and we don’t need to see each other,” added Grint, choking up. “Even though we don’t see each other all the time, it’s a strong, strong bond that we’ll always have and we’ll always be part of each other’s life.”
“I love you,” he added as Watson wiped tears from her eyes — before clarifying, “… as a friend!”
Watch the full special on HBO Max now.