Talk with Two Young Actors in "Harry Potter" Movie

(CNN) -- Most of the stars in "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" are well known. But the ones getting the most screen time -- Harry and his friends, Ron and Hermione -- are played by unknowns. CNN anchor Paula Zahn talked with Rupert Grint, who plays Ron Weasley, and Emma Watson, who plays Hermione Granger, about the movie.

Moviegoers around the country are expected to be wild about Harry this weekend -- Potter, that is. The movie is based on the first in a series of much-beloved books about a boy wizard, and it opens tomorrow. Hollywood rolled out the red carpet yesterday for the West Coast premiere of "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone." It's set to release in more than 3,500 U.S. theaters tomorrow.

In the interest of full disclosure, the movie is produced by Warner Bros., a division of the same company which owns CNN. Nevertheless, even the people who are far removed from this process expect the film to break box office records.

And it is turning some young actors into stars. I had the great assignment of sitting down with two of them yesterday, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint.

ZAHN: When you watched the movie for the first time, what did you think?

RUPERT GRINT, ACTOR: Scary seeing yourself that big, it really was.

EMMA WATSON, ACTRESS: The first time you watch, you're so freaked out about seeing yourself on screen. The second time you kind of enjoy it. And then the third time you kind of appreciate the film and the work that's gone into it, and you enjoy yourself. But the first time, I like, oh my God, I don't believe this.

ZAHN: There times in the film where you were required to do things that actually weren't happening at the time you were acting. How bizarre was that to see that on the screen, and see what it finally ended up looking like?

GRINT: It was really cool seeing that.

WATSON: Yes, it's hard work. You're kind of like talking to nothing, and it's really weird, but I suppose that's a part of acting.

ZAHN: When you had to be frightened of Fluffy (a three-headed dog), what were you actually looking at?

GRINT: Nothing.

ZAHN: How many times did you have to read the book to get the sense of what your character was supposed to do?

GRINT: Well, before I knew there was going to be a film. I was the biggest Harry Potter fan. I read all the books. Ron was always my favorite character, because I feel like I relate to him, like we've both got red hair, we both like sweets, we've both got lots of brothers and sisters. I've got one brother and three sisters, and both scared of spiders.

ZAHN: Give me a thumbnail sketch of who Hermione is.

WATSON: Hermione is a saucy teacher's pet who's obsessed with school, very mommy's girl. She's a bit of a nerd, but is very -- she's a real bookworm.

ZAHN: I know both of you have vivid imaginations, but when you saw the film for the first time, did you fully understand that that's what it would look like, or was some of the magic a surprise to you?

WATSON: I feel like they kind of cut a piece of my imagination out of my head and used it in the film, because it's exactly as I imagined it.

ZAHN: Now that you've practiced a little bit of magic, have you thought what you would do if you had the gift of being able to wave a wand and make something happen?

GRINT: I would probably be invisible so I can sneak (out of) detentions.

ZAHN: That's a good one.
I know the film hasn't opened yet, but after this weekend, no matter where either two of you travel to, you are going to be recognized. Have you gotten used to that? Are people noticing you already?

WATSON: Yes.

GRINT: It's cool. I like it.

WATSON: It's kind of flattering to be asked to sign something.

ZAHN: As you look back at this whirlwind you're caught up in, there is nothing that ever would have given you an indication your life is going to change this way, right?
How much acting have you done before?

GRINT: Just like school plays. Like one time I was a fish in Noah's Ark and now I'm in Harry Potter, a big step.

ZAHN: You must have been one heck of a fish.

GRINT: Yes.

ZAHN: Do you know how many kids you were up against to get the role of Hermione?

WATSON: Billions, trillion, millions, thousands -- I have no idea, but I'm sure it's a lot.

ZAHN: What did the author of the book say to you when she saw the movie for the first time?

WATSON: Really nice, because she liked it as well.

GRINT: Yes, she loved it.

WATSON: She really enjoyed it herself, and she thought it was exactly as she imagined it.

ZAHN: Emma and Rupert, two of my favorite new actors.

[Paula Zahn | CNN.com, 15 Nov 2001 | Original article found here]

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