"Of course they knew it was coming," the first line of this week's Entertainment Weekly cover story reads, referencing the stars' reactions to the closing chapters of the "Harry Potter" film saga. Yes, the actors knew that when filming wrapped on "Deathly Hallows" over the summer, that it was good-bye. And we all know that "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1," which hits theaters on November 19, will be the second to last "Harry Potter" flick ever (fingers crossed for no remakes). But that doesn't make the idea of parting from the beloved franchise—or its adorable stars—any easier.
Fortunately, EW knows what does: looking back at the actors as they've aged over the past 10 years. And I'm not talking about looking at pictures of them as they've grown (which I'll admit is a favorite pastime of mine as each new film looms nearer... creepy?). The mag actually takes us back through various interviews they've conducted with the stars since they were first cast nearly a decade ago and up to the most recent interviews in August. Prepare for the adorable Daniel Radcliffe moments right about now...
"I was in the bath at the time," 11-year-old Dan shared when he was asked how he found out he was cast as Harry Potter. "My dad came running in and said, 'Guess who they want to play Harry Potter?' and I started to cry. It was probably the best moment of my life."
It was also one of the four smartest decisions the "Harry Potter" filmmakers made. The other three, of course, were the casting of Emma Watson, Rupert Grint and Tom Felton (where's his love in this story?), who have since become the living embodiments of their characters. But it wasn't as easy for Emma to stick with the commitment as it was for Dan and Rupert. She enjoyed acting but had other things to accomplish: namely, going off to college.
She stuck with the films, though, is currently in her sophomore year at Brown University and seemingly could not be happier. "I have such a structure when I'm working on 'Potter.' I get told what time I get picked up. I get told what time I can eat, when I have time to go to the bathroom. Being at college, I took pleasure in the smallest things," Emma explained. "Like, 'I'm going to wake up at 10 o'clock if I want to.' Or, 'I'm going to eat a sandwich now.' It was just so liberating! I'd be smiling to myself, and friends would say, 'Emma, what's wrong?' And I'd say, 'I don't know. I'm just...happy.'"
And then there's Rupert Grint, the boy who at age 13 told the late Richard Harris at an early table reading of the "Sorcerer's Stone" script that, "I think you'll be quite good in this part," and explained that the main reason that he got the role of Ron Weasley was because "I have ginger hair." EW jokes about Rupert's tendency during the early years to answer every question he was asked with some variation of "wicked" or "cool," but the actor has definitely not taken his opportunities for granted.
"The alternative, of just going to school and college, never really appealed to me," he said in an interview in August. "On set there were times when it was quite slow, and you can get bored, but I've always loved it. There was never, ever a doubt that I was going to do this."
The article closes with the final scene Dan, Rupert and Emma filmed together. It's actually a simple little scene, where their characters jump into a fireplace in the Ministry of Magic and vanish via the Floo Network, and it will probably only take up half a second of screen time. The scene required some physicality, because the three stars would run toward a green screen, jump and then land on a green crash mat. But, as the EW article points out, it was actually a fitting way for the stars to go, because it had them taking a leap and then free-falling into a life after "Potter."
"It was really strange," Emma said about moving beyond the franchise she has spent half her life involved in. "And then it was very wonderful."
What will you miss most about "Harry Potter"?