It’s impossible to imagine the “Harry Potter” films without Emma Watson’s indelible performance of Hermione, but the latter half of the series almost had to do a dramatic rework as she considered dropping out. Watson and her castmates spoke about her anxieties about the part during the HBO Max special “Harry Potter: Return to Hogwarts,” in which the bulk of the cast reunited in order to celebrate the twentieth anniversary of the film series.
“When I started, one thing that [the producer] and the studio spoke to me about was Emma is not sure she wants to come back and do another Potter,” David Yates, director of fifth installment, “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix,” said in an introduction to the segment.
“People definitely forget what she took on and how gracefully she did it,” her co-star Tom Felton said. “Dan [Radcliffe] and Rupert [Grint], they had each other. I had my cronies, whereas Emma was not only younger, she was by herself.”
“I did find a diary entry that was kind of like, hmmm,” Watson said. “I could see that, at times, I was lonely.”
“I think I was scared,” she continued, speaking with Grint. “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.'”
“I would say I had kind of similar feelings to Emma,” Grint said later. “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 kind of having similar feelings.”
“We never talked about it on the film, because we were all just kids,” Radcliffe said. “As a 14-year-old boy, I was never gonna turn around to another 14-year-old and be like, ‘Hey, how are you doing? Like, is everything okay?'”
Although Watson ultimately chalked it up to “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 us to succeed, and we all genuinely had each other’s backs. How great is that?”
Watch the “Harry Potter: Return to Hogwarts” trailer below: