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Emma Watson has revealed how she had wanted to quit the Harry Potter films mid-way through the franchise, saying it was actually the fans that kept her going.
Watson - who featured in the films as Hermione Granger - appears alongside former co-stars in the forthcoming feature-length special Harry Potter 20th Anniversary: Return to Hogwarts, which lands on New Year’s Day.
During their reunion, cast and grew come together to discuss what it had been like filming the movies over the course of a decade – at a time when many of the younger stars were in their formative years.
But while many reminisce about the amazing times they had working on the movies, it turns out there was one person who began to struggle with the 'fame' as they tackled the grittier material of Harry Potter and The Order of the Phoenix.
Director David Yates, who was brought in for the fifth film to take the series into a new, more grown-up direction, recalls: “I went into Order of the Phoenix with the young actors in mind, and sort of thinking about how we sort of grow the whole thing up, and make it a bit more adult and thematic, and a little darker.
"When I started, one thing that [producer] David [Heyman] and the studio spoke to me about was 'Emma is not sure she wants to come back to do another Potter'.”
Watson explains how she found a diary entry and suggested she hadn’t been too happy at the time.
"I can see that, at times, I was lonely,” she says.
Speaking to Rupert Grint, who played her on-screen friend and eventual love interest, she remembers how Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix was when ‘things started getting spicy for all of us’.
Grint asks: “But you were considering pulling out? I’ve never really spoken to you about this.”
Watson replies: “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.”
Grint says he went through the same doubts, agreeing: “No, I had moments like that, kind of all the way through.”
Speaking to the camera in a solo interview, he continues: “I also had kind of 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, and we were kind of in the moment at the time. It just didn’t really occur to us that we were all probably having similar feelings.”
Watson adds of her own experience: “The fame thing had finally hit home – in a big way.
“No one had to convince me to see it through. The fans genuinely wanted me to succeed and they all genuinely have each other’s backs. How great is that?”
Tom Felton, who portrayed Draco Malfoy, had also spotted the difficulties that Watson in particular had been through.
"People definitely forget what she took on, and how gracefully she did it," he says in the reunion episode.
"Dan and Rupert, they had each other, I had my cronies, whereas Emma was not only younger, she was by herself."
Daniel Radcliffe, who of course took on the franchise's titular role of Harry Potter, adds: "We never talked about it on the film because we were all just kids.
"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 - like, is everything okay?’”
You can watch Harry Potter 20th Anniversary: Return to Hogwarts on New Year’s Day exclusively on Sky and streaming service NOW. NOW members can watch the TV specials with a NOW Entertainment Membership and enjoy all ten movies with a NOW Cinema Membership.
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