Emma Watson Reveals She Considered Quitting 'Harry Potter' Ahead of Fifth Film in Reunion Special
By Rachel McRady
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Fans were delighted to see the majority of the original Harry Potter cast members reuniting in the new HBO Max special, Harry Potter 20th Anniversary: Return to Hogwarts, when it dropped at midnight on Jan. 1. But while most of the almost two-hour special was filled with a nostalgic look back at the making of the franchise's eight films, one shocking revelation came to light regarding actress Emma Watson, who played beloved heroine Hermione Granger in the films.
When discussing the making of the fifth film, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, director David Yates dropped the bombshell that Watson wasn't immediately on board with returning to the role.
"When I started, one thing [producer] David [Heyman] and the studio spoke to me about was, 'Emma is not sure she wants to come back to do another Potter,'" Yates shared.
The cast then discussed Watson's hesitance to return to the franchise.
"People definitely forget what she took on and how gracefully she did it. Dan [Radcliffe] and Rupert [Grint], they had each other. I had my cronies. Whereas Emma was not only younger, she was by herself," Tom Felton, who played Draco Malfoy, shared of the franchise's standout female lead.
Watson herself noted that she found an old diary entry from that time period, saying, "I could see that at times I was lonely."
Radcliffe, who played Harry Potter, admitted that most of the young cast was struggling mentally at that time.
"We never talked about it on the film because we were all just kids," he explained. "As a 14-year-old boy, I was never going to turn around to another 14-year-old and be like, 'Hey, how are you doing? Is everything OK?'"
Watson and Grint, who played Ron Weasley, also discussed the Order of the Phoenix time period, which Watson described as "when things started getting spicy for all of us."
"Were you considering pulling out? I've never really spoken to you about this," Grint asked his co-star.
"Yeah, I think I was scared. I don't know if you ever felt like it got to a tipping point when you were like, this is kind of forever now," Watson said.
"No, I had moments like that kind of all the way through," Grint admitted.
In an aside interview, Grint spoke more about the struggle to decide whether to stick with the franchise or not.
"I also had kind of similar feelings to Emma, kind of contemplating what life would be like if I called it a day," he said. "We never really spoke about it. I guess we were just kind of going through it at our own pace. We were kind of in the moment at the time. It just didn't occur to us that we were having similar feelings."
Ultimately, none of the main three stars pulled out of the franchise and saw all eight films through. Watson said that there was no convincing necessary on her part to return, despite her initial hesitance.
"The fame thing had finally hit home in a big way. No one had to convince me to see it through," she said. "The fans genuinely wanted you to succeed and all genuinely have each other's backs. How great is that?"
Harry Potter 20th Anniversary: Return to Hogwarts is streaming now on HBO Max.