One has gone on to play a stable boy who has an obsession with horses in a stage play, while the other had the honour of donning an iconic yellow gown in Disney’s live-action remake of a beloved animated classic.
It has been 20 years since Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone was first shown in the cinemas on 16 November 2001. Seven novels and eight movies later, Daniel Radcliffe (who played the bespectacled wizard with a magical destiny) and Emma Watson (who played the smart and sassy Hermione Granger) have successfully found their place in showbiz.
We take a look back at how British author J. K. Rowling’s novels evolved into one of the most popular movie franchise in popular culture.
Muggles, say hello to the Boy Wizard
If you don’t already know, the fantasy novels follow the life of Harry Potter, a young wizard who gets enrolled into Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Together with his friends, they battle the villainous Voldermort who wants to, well, to put it simply: take over the world.
After the popular reception of the first novel, The Chamber of Secrets (1998), The Prisoner of Azkaban (1999), The Goblet of Fire (2000), The Order of the Phoenix (2003), The Half-Blood Prince (2005) and The Deathly Hallows: Part 1 and 2 (2007) were published over the next 10 years.
The critical and commercial response to the books naturally saw the production of accompanying films, with the seventh novel adapted into two feature-length movies. Distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures, the films obviously scored big at the box office. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004) is the only film in the series not among the 50 highest-grossing films of all time, while Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (2011) is one of 30 films to gross over $1 billion.
Conjuring the Magic
The eight movies were helmed by some of the most respected filmmakers in the business: Chris Columbus (Home Alone), Alfonso Cuaron (Gravity), Mike Newell (Four Weddings and a Funeral) and David Yates (The Legend of Tarzan). Each director brought his own style to the series, and each movie had its own share of fans. Columbus’ approach was family-friendly, while Alfonso’s version had a distinctive gritty feel. Newell and Yates struck a nice balance between exhilarating action sequences, foreboding dark moments and poignant heart-warming scenes with the last five films.
Steve Kloves (The Fabulous Baker Boys) wrote all the screenplays in the series except for Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007), which was penned by Michael Goldenberg (Contact). As seen from the popularity of the movies, the scripts captured the spirit of the novels.
John Williams, who has a career spanning over 60 years, composed the music for the first three films in the series. The 85-year-old’s enchanting “Hedwig’s Theme” is one of the most beloved movie score cues ever. The other composers responsible for creating the magical soundscape of Harry Potter’s world include Patrick Doyle (Sense and Sensibility), Nicholas Hooper (The Heart of Me) and Alexandre Desplat (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button).
Did you know that Daniel Radcliffe made his acting debut in BBC’s TV movie David Copperfield when he was 10 years old? Fate has it that he will go on to be cast as Harry Potter and enjoy fame for the next 10 years. The 27-year-old actor has managed to branch out into other areas. In 2007, he starred in the London and New York productions of Equus where he went fully nude on stage. His versatile film performances include playing a man accused of raping and murdering his girlfriend in Horns (2013), an FBI agent in Imperium (2016) and a farting corpse in Swiss Army Man (2016).
Ah, Emma Watson. The 27-year-old actress trained at Stagecoach Theatre Arts is so likeable, she personifies every role she plays on screen. Life after Harry Potter sees her working with acclaimed directors like Sofia Coppola (2013’s The Bling Ring), Darren Aronofsky (2014’s Noah) and of course, Bill Condon (2017’s Beauty and the Beast).
We can’t say Rupert Grint, who plays the goofy Ron Weasley, is enjoying the same amount of success as his co-stars. We only remember starring in Thunderpants (2002), a movie about a boy who keeps breaking wind. The 28-year-old actor will be appearing alongside Lindsay Lohan and Nick Frost in the British TV series Sick Note, where he plays a compulsive liar Daniel Glass (Rupert) who is wrongly diagnosed with a terminal illness.
The Harry Potter movies wouldn’t be complete without the ensemble of distinguished actors. Alan Rickman (Severus Snape), Ralph Fiennes (Lord Voldemort) Maggie Smith (Minerva McGonagall), Emma Thompson (Sybil Trelawney), Kenneth Branagh (Gilderoy Lockhart), Helena Bonham Carter (Bellatrix Lestrange) are just some of the unbelievably talented actors who played roles in the series.
It’s time to re-watch the movies (or re-read the books) to re-visit the good times we shared with Harry Potter and his friends!