Harry Potter Reunion: All the Magical Moments, Behind-the-Scenes Secrets and More

In honor of the 20th anniversary of the first Harry Potter movie, the film's stars reunited to look back on bringing the celebrated book series to life. Here's everything that was shared.

By Alyssa Ray Jan 01, 2022 8:05 AMTags
Watch: "Harry Potter" Turns 20: Live From E! Rewind

Forget the Hogwarts Express, all you need is a couch and a HBO Max subscription to return to Hogwarts.

And that's exactly what we did when we watched the Harry Potter 20th Anniversary: Return to Hogwarts special, which reunited the franchise's stars Daniel Radcliffe (Harry Potter), Rupert Grint (Ron Weasley), Emma Watson (Hermione Granger), Tom Felton (Draco Malfoy), Ralph Fiennes (Lord Voldemort), Jason Isaacs (Lucius Malfoy) and more, to reminisce on making the globally beloved Harry Potter films.

Not only did the reunion bring together the incredibly talented cast, but it also gave fans a closer look at the magical set. We're talking a visit to the enchanting Great Hall, a sit down in the Gryffindor common room and a stop by Gringotts Wizarding Bank, to name a few.

In fact, Tom gave a shout-out to the Great Hall set in an interview ahead of the reunion, noting, "I'll always remember the first time I walked through the Great Hall. And it still gives me the same sort of tingles as it did then."

See the Kid Stars of Harry Potter Then and Now

But our favorite takeaway from the whole special? The never-before-shared memories and tidbits from the set.

For starters, you'll never guess which Harry Potter star was "in love" with Tom. Oh, and one on-screen villain admitted to stealing things from the set. (HINT: It won't be Lestrange when you figure it out.)

So grab your chocolate frogs, throw on your house robe and settle in, because we have all the standout moments from the Harry Potter reunion.

Daniel Radcliffe Almost Didn't Audition for Harry Potter

After seeing Daniel Radcliffe in the BBC's 1999 adaptation of David Copperfield, director Chris Columbus was determined to bring the young actor in for an audition. However, Daniel's parents weren't keen on the idea of their son signing onto several films, which were originally going to be filmed in Los Angeles. Daniel recalled, "So my mum and dad were like, 'No, that's a hug disruption to his life."

But, following an encounter with producer David Heyman at a theatre, the Radcliffes agreed to let Daniel audition.

You Won't Believe Who Jason Isaacs Originally Wanted to Play

It's hard to imagine anyone else but Jason Isaacs as Lucius Malfoy. Yet, in HBO Max's Harry Potter reunion, Jason admitted that he didn't originally want to play Draco's evil father in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. "I'm convinced I ended up playing Lucius because I didn't want to," he shared. "I went to audition for Gilderoy Lockhart and Chris said, 'That was great. Would you mind reading a different part.'"

As Jason detailed, he read for Lucius "through gritted teeth," since he was set to play Captain Hook in Peter Pan and didn't want to portray "two children's villains." However, Jason's bitter take on Lucius was "exactly what was necessary" for the part. 

Only Alan Rickman Knew the Whole Story

During a chat with Gary Oldman, Daniel revealed that Alan Rickman was the only one in the cast who knew the truth about Severus Snape. "I wish I'd had the whole picture," Gary remarked to Daniel while discussing the twists and turns of the series. "We only ever found out [through the] book."

Per Daniel, Alan was the one who "had the inside line" because he asked author J.K. Rowling for more information early on, adding, "He never told Chris [Columbus], never told anyone. Chris would literally say to him, 'Why are you ding that?' He said, 'I'll tell you later.'"

How Mike Newell Cracked His Ribs on HP4

Mike Newell, who directed Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, revealed that he cracked his ribs while directing a fight scene between Oliver and James Phelps. Apparently, the twins, who played Fred and George Weasley in the Harry Potter franchise, weren't leaning into the fight, so Mike tapped in and showed them how to do it—injuring himself in the process.

"I was a tubby 60-year-old gent at that stage, and I really shouldn't have done it," he said with a laugh. "And so was in absolute agony from then on. But, of course, the wonderful thing was that I had made a complete twit of myself and everybody felt much better for that."

Emma Watson Says She Was in Love With Tom Felton

As the main cast went from children to teenagers on the set of Harry Potter, it isn't surprising to learn that some of the stars had crushes on one another. In the reunion, Emma Watson admitted to falling hard for co-star Tom Felton.

"I walked into the room where we were having tutoring," she said. "The assignment that had been given was to draw what you thought God looked like, and Tom had drawn a girl with a backward cap on a skateboard. And I just don't know how to say it—I just fell in love with him."

Emma further revealed that she would "come in every day and look for his number on the call sheet." Alas, nothing romantic ever happened between them.

A Three Hour Transformation

Though Ralph Fiennes' nose was removed via CGI for his terrifying transformation into Lord Voldemort, the actor explained that the rest of the look took some time to happen. "It took about three hours in makeup," he remembered, "the painting of the hands, the nails, the teeth. And even with my nose, I felt strong."

Co-star Jason Isaacs expressed that he was "terrified" of Ralph when the cameras were rolling.

Daniel's Flirty Autograph to Helena Bonham Carter

At the reunion, Helena Bonham Carter took a moment to share a cheeky note Daniel gave her during production. Apparently, HBC asked for Daniel's autograph, who in turn wrote: "It was a pleasure being your co-star and coaster in the sense that I always ended up holding your coffee. I do love you. And I just wish I had been born 10 years earlier. I might [have had] a chance. Lots of love and thanks for being cool."

Helena revealed that she treasures this note and keeps it in her bathroom.

Emma Watson Almost Quit the Films

Before filming Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Emma considered walking away from the magical franchise. The now-31-year-old actress shared this during Harry Potter 20th Anniversary: Return to Hogwarts, in which she admitted to feeling "lonely" at times.

"I think I was scared," Emma shared with Rupert Grint. "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.'"

Rupert confessed that he too had moments like that, noting later on, "I also had similar feelings to Emma, contemplating what life would be like if I called it a day."

Emma said the fans inspired her to stay with the franchise, explaining, "No one had to convince me to see it through. The fans genuinely wanted you to succeed, and we all genuinely have each other's backs."

Evanna Lynch's Surprising Pen Pal

Prior to landing the role of Luna Lovegood in the Harry Potter movies, Evanna Lynch was a huge fan of the book series and its author. In the special, she revealed that she wrote to J.K. Rowling and expressed how much the books meant to her.

"Luckily for me, she read the letter and responded to it," she said. "So I'm one of the very lucky few people who can say J.K. Rowling was my pen friend."

HBC Admits to Stealing from Set

While chatting with Tom, Helena asked him if he walked away with anything from set, as she "stole quite a lot." A shocked Tom responded by revealing that he wanted to steal his wand, but never did, adding, "I probably would've lost it by now."

Remembering Those They've Lost

The reunion took a moment to remember the Harry Potter cast members who are no longer with us, including Alan Rickman, Helen McCroryRichard Griffiths and more. Here's what some of the cast had to say about those late icons...

Emma Watson on Richard Harris, who passed away in 2002: "Richard Harris was such a special, warm person. He was so twinkly."

Daniel Radcliffe on Richard Griffiths, who passed away in 2013: "His passing was the one that affected me most, because he was generous with knowledge. He just wanted to share everything with you."

Tom Felton on Helen McCrory, who passed away in 2021: "She had taught me a lot. [Fighting back tears] See I can't even say it, um, she had this ability just to sort of show such empathy in her eyes. It was a real treat to work with her."

Ralph Fiennes on Alan Rickman, who passed away in 2016: "Alan was a very dear friend. His final scene—I was a little intimidated by him, his precision, his expert delivery of lines. And we sort of went toe-to-toe in a funny way, you know, Snape and Voldemort. Two actors can relish, metaphorically fencing with each other, Alan was a magician in that way as an actor."

Emma's Unexpected Favorite Scene

Forget the stunts and magical moments, a simple dance scene with Daniel is Emma's favorite moment from the Harry Potter franchise. According to Emma, while filming Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows–Part 1, she initially thought the moment where Harry and Hermione dance after Ron bails on their mission would be awkward.

"Now that's one of my favorite scenes from the whole of the series," she shared, "because the level of familiarity that you and I had with each other at that point, I don't think I could've done a scene like that with another actor."

Rupert's Reaction to Ron and Hermione's Kiss

Ron and Hermione may've loved each other in the Harry Potter franchise, but the actors who played them dreaded that kiss scene in the final film. Per Emma, she and Rupert struggled with the scene because they could never "take it seriously."

"I knew I was gonna have to be the one to kind of make this thing happen," she further shared, "because Rupert was not gonna, so I just had to go for it."

She later called the kiss the "hardest thing" she's ever had to do, as they had become like siblings, noting, "It just felt wrong. So wrong on every level."

As for how Rupert remembered the smooch? "I kind of think I blacked out. I just remember your face getting closer and closer to mine."

Harry Potter 20th Anniversary: Return to Hogwarts is available on HBO Max now.

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