Emma Watson has revealed that she almost quit the Harry Potter franchise ahead of the release of its fifth film.
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The actor, who played Hermione Granger in the eight-film franchise, spoke candidly about why she almost didn’t reprise her role during the upcoming HBO special Harry Potter 20th Anniversary: Return To Hogwarts.
Return To Hogwarts will see Watson reunite with co-stars Rupert Grint (Ron Weasley) Daniel Radcliffe (Harry Potter) and other cast members to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the first film, Harry Potter And The Philosopher’s Stone.
Sitting down to talk with Grint, Watson shared how she was feeling during the time she contemplated leaving the franchise. “I think I was scared,” she said (via The Wrap). “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.’
Grint admitted that he too had thoughts about leaving his role. “I had moments like that kind of all the way through,” he told Watson. “I also had similar feelings to Emma kind of contemplating what life would be like if I called it a day, but 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 really occur to us that we were all having similar feelings.”
In one scene, Watson, Grint and Radcliffe all discussed the intense fame that came along with their roles, which they performed throughout their childhoods. “It was around the time of Order Of The Phoenix when things started getting spicy for all of us,” Watson said. “The fame thing had finally hit home – in a big way.”
Watson also revealed during the special that she went back and read a diary entry from around the time she was considering quitting Harry Potter, and said it was clear she was lonely.
Going on to explain what it was that convinced her to continue in the role, the Beauty And The Beast actor noted that she made the decision on her own and that the Harry Potter fans were very supportive.
“No one had to convince me to see it through,” she said. “The fans genuinely wanted you to succeed and like all genuinely had everyone’s backs. How great is that?”
Speaking on Watson’s feelings of loneliness, Tom Felton, who played Draco Malfoy, said he felt like “people definitely forget what she took on and how gracefully she did it”. He also noted that while he had his “cronies” and Radcliffe and Grint had each other to lean on during their rise to fame, Watson was “not only younger but she was by herself”.
Elsewhere in Return To Hogwarts, Watson said filming the special was “an unexpected joy”.
“I honestly didn’t know how I was going to feel this morning,” she admitted. “Then something happened where it was the comfort of the people that I’ve known for such a long time, and the history that we share, and that sense of safety. Then once I started feeling really safe, just enjoying everything that we made and we created and feeling like we could really celebrate and just enjoy being together.”
She continued: “Some of us haven’t seen each other for years. It’s been a joy. An unexpected joy.”
There has been speculation that the writer was shut out of the programme after her previous comments about the trans community resulted in a backlash.