Harry Potter 20th Anniversary Reunion


Anandya Sampath, Writer

HBO Max released a Harry Potter reunion movie titled Harry Potter 20th Anniversary: Return to Hogwarts on New Year’s Day. The film shows the thought process behind the making of the movies, the selection of actors for different roles, and the relationships and dynamics that the actors built along the way.

Towards the beginning of the movie, the original director, Chris Columbus, talks about what influenced his decision to make Harry Potter movies. “I ended up doing it after my daughter Eleanor convinced me to read the books after I refused 3 times,” he said. Columbus continued, “So once Prisoner of Azkaban came out, I said, ‘Okay I’ll read these, finally’ and then immediately I saw the movies. I just saw them.”

The process in which the actors were selected for their roles was also described in the reunion movie. Columbus shared that finding the actors for the characters of Ron and Hermione was fairly easy due to the similarities between the characters and the actors themselves; however, finding the right Harry Potter was a challenge.

After a few months of fruitless searching, Columbus found Daniel Radcliffe while watching the movie, David Copperfield. “Immediately, a lightbulb went off in my head and I said, ‘This is Harry Potter. This is the kid we’ve been looking for months,’” Columbus says.

It was also revealed that even after they found Radcliffe, it took a lot of convincing to get his parents to agree because they felt that his role in the movies would be a large disruption to his everyday life. However, the producers were able to get them to allow Radcliffe to go in for an audition, and he became Harry Potter.

The motivation behind how the mood of the movies changed was also discussed in this film. The actors felt as though after the first two movies, the theme started to progressively get darker. Rupert Grint, the actor who portrayed Ron Weasley stated, “Prisoner of Azkaban felt like a whole new era really. It was a much darker kind of story.”

It was also shown how as the main actors grew older, they related to their characters’ struggles more. Radcliffe talks about how in the fourth Harry Potter movie, his character was going through some of the same struggles as a typical teenager. Radcliffe explains Harry was, “a slightly awkward teenage boy in a very unremarkable way, which I suppose feels remarkable for a hero character in something. It did not take a huge acting stretch to tap into my awkward nerdy teenage side.”

Throughout the process of filming the Harry Potter movies the actors developed different dynamics with each other. Towards the end of the movie reunion, Emma Watson, Daniel Radcliffe, and Rupert Grint reminisced about their relationships with each other throughout the making of the films and the past 20 years.

Emma Watson, who played Hermione, remarked, “It was like the three of us communicating without even having to say anything. We just knew what needed to be done. We were very strong for each other.”

The reunion was also exciting for many Harry Potter fans. Battlefield student, freshman Mary Houle stated, “I loved the Harry Potter 20th reunion. It was a really magical way to reunite the globally loved family.” Return to Hogwarts was magical for both the cast and fans of Harry Potter and a way to show the immortality of the popular franchise.