As Rupert Grint and Emma Watson walk into the press room in New York City, all of the eyes of the press members point downwards, as the two co-stars of “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” quietly take their place. Like most kids their age, they’re less than five-feet tall in height. Needless to say, however, their energy and excitement for the film has them standing taller than anyone else in Hollywood.
11-year old Emma Watson jumps into her first actor role as Hermione Granger, friend to Harry Potter and Ron Weasley at the Hogwarts School of Magic. Hermione is perhaps the most decorative character, for she’s the most bossy and arrogant, and at the same time, the nerd of the group. When asked if she found this similarity with Hermione, she laughs and simply commands “Ask my brother!” Regarding school, Emma says modestly, “Um…no. I don’t enjoy studying. I enjoy school, but I’m not obsessed with school, that’s kind of the difference between us.”
13-year old Rupert Grint knows Harry Potter’s confidant, Ron Weasley. He is Ron Weasley, or so he tells us. “Well when I was reading the books, I always thought I could relate to Ron because we both got red hair, we both like sweets, both scared of spiders, and we both got lots of brothers and sisters.”
At such a young age, it is unquestionably a daunting experience seeing oneself on the big-screen. “For me, it was just so scary seeing myself that big on the screen,” said Rupert.
Regarding her first experience, Emma says, “The first time I saw it, I was like, ‘Oh my God’ and I literally felt weird for a few seconds, cause it’s weird seeing yourself on screen. And then the second time I watched it, I enjoyed it a little. The third time I watched it, I actually picked up how they had done it and I really enjoyed it.”
Both Rupert and Emma have had their taste of Harry Potter fandom. In fact, they were fans of the books themselves before the movie was even a concept. “Oh yeah, I was like the biggest Harry Potter fan before I even knew it was going to be a film,” said Rupert.
“I was already in the middle of the third one when I started auditioning and finished the fourth before I had the role so I was like a major Harry Potter fan,” answered Emma.
So why has the Harry Potter series gripped both adults and kids alike? “Um, I reckon it’s because it’s for all ages,” says Emma. “Because, in a way I’ve seen just as many adults reading the Harry Potter books as I have seen the children, and it’s kind of got a mix of everything – comedy, adventure, it can make people cry. J.K. Rowling describes everything really well [because] you kind of feel like you know the characters. I reckon it’s just as popular in Britain as it is in the United States. Not even just that, but around the world.”
Both children find themselves under the direction of Chris Columbus, who has directed countless other family/children films as well, such as “Home Alone,” “Stepmom,” and “Bicentennial Man.” Emma comments, “He is such a cool director, so nice. I haven’t worked with any others but I’m sure he’s one of the best (laughs). He would say [the scene] himself and say ‘How do you want to do it?’ He wasn’t really bossy and he wasn’t telling us what to do, or say, or how to act. He is a fantastic director.”
It is late in the afternoon at the interview, and despite doing hours and hours of press, they still find time to be kids. When asked about the perks of being in the “Harry Potter” movie, Emma still finds a way to be clever.
Emma: I’d say going to different places. We went to loads of locations which was really fun, met some new people, and it was fantastic acting with really good co-stars, ie. Maggie Smith, Robbie Coltrane, Zoe Wanaker, Julie Walters, and it was just a great cast.
Rupert: And for me, probably the sweets.
Emma: (Rolls eyes) I say a long sobby speech, and he says…’sweets’.
Evidence that they still maintain their youth can also be found from some of their answers to other questions. When asked if they could have one magical power from the Hogwarts school, what would it be and why, Emma responds, “I think I’d make myself invisible so I can go into movies for over 15 [year olds]!”
Rupert agrees but has an ulterior motive. “Yeah, I’d be invisible but I’d sneak out of detentions.”
Their experience with Hogwarts isn’t over yet: Both are committed to do at least one more film, entitled “Harry Potter & The Chamber of Secrets.” Emma reveals that both Rupert and Dan have started shooting their scenes already, but that she will be joining them in December. “Oh yeah, it’s going to be real fun,” Rupert chimes in. “I can’t wait to cough up slugs!”
The sun has set in New York City and both kids are visibly exhausted. Emma takes out her chapstick and starts playing with it, while Rupert slumps lower in his chair. So how have they handled being asked the same questions, over and over again, by different reporters? Emma presents her solution in an outburst.
“That’s the good thing about them! They all ask exactly the same questions and you can say exactly the same answers! You don’t have to think, you can just stand there like a broken record going LALALALA…”
Laughter erupts among the group of reporters sitting at the table with them. As the two rising superstars exit the room, the energy of the room leaves with them. They’re adorable, they’re charming, and by far some of the most brilliant actors you could ever chat with. But one simple fact remains: They are kids. And they’ll grace their presence on screen for many, many years to come.
[Reported by Thomas Chau for Cinema Confidential]