The Harry Potter franchise was huge, and it still remains huge to this day. It's hard to believe that it's been over 20 years since Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone book was published and seven years since Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2 movie was released. Many of us grew up together with the characters, either in books or in movies, or both. We learned with and from them throughout the series, witnessing their ups and downs, victories and failures, as well as fun and tragic moments.
Many of the actors who took part in the movies will be forever associated with their characters, even though many of them had acted a lot before the series. Most of them continued their acting careers after the end of the franchise. And, of course, fans are always interested to know what they are doing today.
Get ready to embark on a journey where we will have a glimpse into the lives of some of the Harry Potter actors, see how they look these days, and learn an interesting fact or two about each one of them! And also prepare to get a strong desire to reread the books or rewatch the movies after reading this article.
15 Ralph Fiennes
Let's start with the character, without whom there would be no story about Harry Potter. Those who think that Harry Potter was the most important character of the series are right, of course, but, in fact, this opinion can be argued. I mean, isn't there a character, who influenced the story more than the Boy Who Lived?
We're talking about the Dark Lord Voldemort here. If he didn't have the plan to conquer the Wizarding World, he wouldn't end the lives of so many people. If he didn't get into the Potters' house to "Avada Kedavra" Harry's parents, Harry wouldn't become famous. And if he didn't make so many attempts to come back to life, there would be no story at all. Harry would be just a usual child from a wizarding family, who'd go to school, study, and have fun with his friends.
See, in fact, Voldemort was the most significant character of the franchise, and, for this reason, I'm going to talk about the actor behind him first.
Ralph Fiennes is a prominent actor, whose filmography includes a number of notable movies and numerous awards. After the Harry Potter franchise ended, he kept on showing his multifaceted talent to the viewers, starring in a biographical drama The Invisible Woman, where he played Charles Dickens and demonstrating his funny side in a comedy Grand Budapest Hotel. It turns out that Fiennes was perfect not only for playing Voldemort, but also for many other roles.
Interesting fact: Fiennes' nephew Hero Fiennes-Tiffin played young Tom Riddle in The Half-Blood Prince. It's all in the family!
14 Maggie Smith
Dame Maggie Smith has had an extensive acting career before landing the role of Professor Minerva McGonagall — even after the franchise ended. Her roles aren't limited to feature films, since she also appears on TV quite often and plays on stage every now and then. Smith was praised for her performance multiple times and received a number of awards, including BAFTA, Golden Globes, and two Oscars, as well as many other prestigious awards.
Despite her extensive career that lasted for decades, it was Downton Abbey TV series that actually made Smith a public persona. "I led a perfectly normal life until Downton Abbey," she said in an interview. "I'm not kidding. I would go to theatres, I would go to galleries and things like that on my own. And now I can't." It's funny how a single role can change everything.
Interesting fact: Smith was partially responsible for choosing Daniel Radcliffe to play the lead role in the franchise. Back in 1999, both of them worked on the TV film David Copperfield, and she remembered this boy's talent. For this reason, she recommended Chris Columbus, the director of the first two Harry Potter films, to choose him.
It's so cool, isn't it? Dan must be so grateful to Dame Maggie Smith! Who knows who'd be chosen for the titular role, if Columbus didn't pay special attention to young Daniel. The series would be very different without him, wouldn't it?
13 Rupert Grint
Before landing the role of Ron Weasley, Rupert Grint never really wanted to be an actor.
An interesting fact about him is that his childhood dream was to become an ice-cream man. "When I was younger I had sort of—[it] always seemed like a really cool job to be an ice cream man," he once shared in an interview.
By the time casting was announced for the film adaptation, Grint's acting experience included only a few school plays. However, since Rupert was an avid fan of Harry Potter books, he realized that performing in the films was his dream. He sent the first audition tape and didn't receive an answer, so he decided that he had to be a tad more persistent. So he sent another one.
"My video was in three parts," the young actor recalled later. "There was a rap about myself; I dressed up as a woman and did a little sketch in the character of my drama teacher, then I read some Ron Weasley dialogue." This boy certainly knew what he wanted and did everything to reach his goal!
Grint says that filming Harry Potter was the most incredible time of his life. After the franchise finished, he took part in several other films, and most of them were well-received. However, Grint is still unsure whether he'll succeed as an actor. He has a backup plan, of course, if it doesn't work. Maybe he'll realize his childhood dream and become an actual ice cream man! The guy is serious — he even bought an ice cream van! "If the acting suddenly comes to a halt, I can't imagine a better job than being an ice cream man," he admits.
12 Tom Felton
Unlike Rupert Grint, for whom acting career began with the Harry Potter series, Tom Felton has been acting since his early childhood. He played in a couple of commercials and had several minor roles in the late 1990s. For instance, in 1999, he played alongside Jodie Foster and Chow Yun-fat in Anna the the King. And then, as we know, he landed the role of Draco Malfoy in The Philosopher's Stone.
Interesting fact: for his role in the franchise, Felton received Best Villain awards from MTV and Teen Choice. At some point, the actor was asked whether he wanted to play a good guy, to which Felton replied, "No. Well, I don't know. I suppose for now I'm happy with sticking to what he is. But after the Potter legacy is over I look forward to playing a good guy, or someone different anyway; someone not so spiteful."
Nowadays, Tom Felton has quite an active career. He's played in a number of movies and TV films. And at the same time, Felton is also a musician. He recorded several EPs and singles throughout the 2000s. I think the next thing I'm going to do now is try to find his songs and listen to them!
11 Robbie Coltrane
Robbie Coltrane began acting in his early 20's. Back then, he mostly acted in comedy shows and sketches, but also his early career included dramas and science fiction films. Apart from Hagrid in the Harry Potter series, his most notable role was Valentin Dmitrovich Zukovsky in the James Bond films GoldenEye (1995) and The World Is Not Enough (1999).
Interesting fact: Coltrane was J.K. Rowling's first (and only) choice for the role of Hagrid.
As the writer later shared, "Robbie is just perfect for Hagrid because Hagrid is a very lovable character, quite likable, quite comic... but he had to have —you really do have to sense —a certain toughness underneath... and I think Robbie does that perfectly." She's completely right, as I don't think anyone else could play Hagrid as greatly as Coltrane did.
It's noteworthy that Coltrane was one of the two perfect choices for Rowling. The second one was Maggie Smith for Professor McGonagall.
After the franchise ended, Coltrane performed only in a few feature and TV films. In one of them, he reunited with other Harry Potter actors (Ralph Fiennes and Helena Bonham Carter). It was a film adaptation of Charles Dickens' novel Great Expectations that was well-received by the critics.
10 Evanna Lynch
Just like Rupert Grint, Evanna Lynch had never been an actress before landing the role in the Harry Potter franchise. She also was a huge fan of the series, and it was the decisive factor for her desire to get the role.
Interesting fact: when Lynch was only 11, she had body image issues and even developed anorexia nervosa. While fighting with this disease, she was reading Harry Potter, and as soon as the character of Luna Lovegood appeared in The Order of Phoenix, her life started to change. Evanna was inspired by the way Luna accepted her oddities and realized that she could do it, as well.
When the casting for the fifth film began, Lynch was there to audition for the role of Luna, among 15,000 other girls. She turned out to be beyond competition, because, as David Heyman, the producer of the series, said, "The others could play Luna; Evanna Lynch is Luna." Later, J.K. Rowling also admitted that Lynch was perfect for the role. "I saw her. [She] got in my head. I even heard her voice when I was writing Luna," the writer confessed.
After the end of the franchise, Lynch still performs in movies (one of them was A Very Potter Senior Year, a musical based on the Harry Potter series). She's also an activist, promoting healthy body image and self-esteem among girls.
9 Matthew Lewis
Matthew Lewis began acting when he was a child. His first role was in the TV drama Some Kind of Life, and then he took part in several other TV films and series. In 2001, he landed the role of Neville Longbottom in the Harry Potter franchise. Lewis looked great in the role of this awkward kid, who was unsure whether he really belonged to Gryffindor, the Hogwarts House he studied in. Only in the last parts of the franchise, Neville managed to embrace his identity and reveal his selfless and courageous self.
It seems that Lewis developed along with Neville, because, by the end of the series, he turned from an awkward guy into a handsome young man!
After the end of the franchise, Lewis keeps on acting, mostly on TV. His most notable roles include the TV series The Syndicate aired on BBC One and Bluestone 42 on BBC Three. He also plays on stage and in independent movies.
Interesting fact: Matthew Lewis tied the knot recently! This memorable event took place in the end of May this year. The name of his significant other is Angela Jones, and she's a lifestyle blogger and a beautiful woman. Congrats to a happy couple!
8 Harry Melling
Harry Melling comes from a family full of actors. Two of his uncles and two cousins are actors, and his maternal grandfather is also an actor, who, by the way, played the Second Doctor in Doctor Who!
Partly due to this heritage, Melling began acting on stage early in his life and took part in a number of plays. In 2001, he landed the role of Harry Potter's spoiled cousin Dudley Dursley and subsequently appeared in five movies of the franchise. After the series, he continued playing on stage, as well as on TV.
Interesting fact: in 2009, Melling lost a lot of weight and became unrecognizable. He didn't look like Dudley anymore. For some time, filmmakers contemplated the decision to recast the actor, but eventually they decided to let Melling play Dudley one last time. In order to look like his character again, the actor had to wear a fat suit on set.
According to Melling himself, he was glad to look thinner, not only in terms of his health. He shared later, "I can now shed the child-actor thing, like the fat, and start a new career, because no one sees me as Dudley." Hopefully, we'll see him again some day in prominent roles (not only on stage)!
7 Robert Pattinson
Before landing the role of Cedric Diggory in The Goblet of Fire, Robert Pattinson played only in the theater. His performance of the first victim of the resurrected Voldemort was well-received by the audience and he immediately got a lot of fans. Some people even called him "the next Jude Law"!
Soon after it, Pattinson's breakthrough happened as he landed the role of Edward Cullen in the Twilight saga. The movies received mixed response, but the actor's performance was undoubtedly good. Now he's a famous actor whose actively getting new roles.
Interesting fact: besides acting, Pattinson also does some modeling.
In the very beginning of his career, when he was 12, he did a lot of it. The actor recalls, "When I first started I was quite tall and looked like a girl, so I got lots of jobs, because it was during that period where the androgynous look was cool. Then, I guess, I became too much of a guy, so I never got any more jobs. I had the most unsuccessful modeling career."
Nevertheless, some fashion homes still ask him to model for them. For example, as of 2013, the actor is the face of Dior Homme fragrance and he takes part in a lot of ad campaigns.
6 Clémence Poésy
Clémence Poésy is a well-established French actress, who played in a number of movies, TV films, and theater plays. Apart from the magnificent cast members of the Harry Potter series (where she played Fleur Delacour, of course), she also worked with such famous actors as Colin Farrell, Brendan Gleeson, and Ralph Fiennes in In Bruges, James Franco in 127 Hours, and Michael Caine in Mr. Morgan's Last Love. Due to her good looks, Poésy has also been modeling for years.
Interesting fact: when the actress was asked to describe her style, her fan site claims she answered that it was "Comfortable, Free and Poetic." It's easy to see that Poésy prefers to look as natural as possible. She does minimal makeup only for red carpet events and doesn't overdo it with the hair. It seems like she likes it very much when her hair looks messy in an artistic sense of this word. And, well, I kinda like it too!
Even though Poésy performs a lot, she says that she's never been interested in becoming famous. She likes where she is right now — people recognize her and ask her to sign autographs every now and then, but she still can walk the streets without having a bunch of people and paparazzi following her.
5 Domhnall Gleeson
Domhnall Gleeson is a son of Brendan Gleeson, and both of them performed in the Harry Potter series. Gleeson Sr. played Alastor "Mad-Eye" Moody and Gleeson Jr. landed the role of Bill Weasley.
Interesting fact: at first, Domhnall didn't want to agree for the part in the franchise because his father was there, too.
"I'd been very certain about not wanting to do the acting thing because of my father. I thought I'd always have the father-son thing of 'He got you the role'," he later said in an interview with Broadway Buzz.
Fortunately, he got over his doubts and eventually agreed for the role. Now it's even hard to imagine another actor as Bill — Gleeson looked perfect!
Besides, I don't think that anyone suggested that he received the role of Bill Weasley only because of his father's participation in the franchise. He's a talented actor, with or without his famous dad.
Even though Domhnall Gleeson had been acting a lot before landing the role in The Deathly Hallows, it was the role of Bill that made him really famous. His most well-known roles played after the Harry Potter franchise include those in Anna Karenina, Ex Machina, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, The Revenant, and Mother!.
4 Emma Watson
Before Emma Watson became famous as Hermione Granger in the Harry Potter series, she only performed in school plays. Even though she wasn't an experienced actress, critics praised her performance in the movies from the very beginning, and some of them claimed that she was a much better actress than Daniel Radcliffe.
After playing in The Order of Phoenix, Watson was hesitant to sign the contract for the remaining movies of the franchise. It was an important decision for her, because it implied a four-year-long commitment to the role. But eventually the actress realized that she could never leave the role of Hermione just like that and agreed to sign the contract. Phew! I mean, who else could play this role??
Interesting fact: Watson's favorite movies of the Harry Potter franchise were the first and the last one. "The first one was incredible, obviously, because everything was new, and everything being a novelty is very exciting," Watson admitted. "From an acting perspective, this last movie was amazing because I had such big parts, and it was really challenging and demanding."
At the moment, Watson has a very active career. She plays in a lot of movies, the most notable of which are Noah, Colonia and Beauty and the Beast. She's also a model and a women's right activist, as well as a certified yoga and meditation instructor.
3 Bonnie Wright
Bonnie Wright went to audition for the role of Ginny Weasley, because her brother encouraged her to do so. He said that she reminded him of the character and thought that she'd look good in this role. Well, he was right!
Wright's performance of Ron's younger sister and Harry's love interest was praised by the critics. For example, Film School Rejects wrote, "Ginny (Bonnie Wright) in particular shines through, building on the power she gained in the last film to become an independent young woman that proves more complex with every scene."
When the series ended, Wright continued to develop her talent in movies.
Interesting fact: now she's not only an actress, but also a screenwriter and a director. Her filmography includes four movies she directed, which is quite impressive for such a young woman as Bonnie.
In two of those films, she worked alongside her Harry Potter colleagues. David Thewlis (Professor Remus Lupin) starred in her debut short film Separate We Come, Separate We Go, and Christian Coulson (young Tom Marvolo Riddle in The Chamber of Secrets) played in Know Thyself.
Wright also owns a production company with the sweetest name ever: Bon Bon Lumiere. For some reason, I'm sure that we're going to hear a lot about this company in the future.
2 Jason Isaacs
Let's start with an interesting fact here. Jason Isaacs is known for talented portrayal of villainous characters (the Harry Potter series isn't an exception, as he gave us a remarkable portrayal of Lucius Malfoy there), and there is a reason for that. As the actor admitted in his interview with The Telegraph, "There is a streak of cruelty in me that comes from having a quite combative background. There were four boys in the house and we were pretty unkind to each other. I've been bullied a lot, sometimes by my brothers, sometimes at school." In other words, Isaacs considers his difficult childhood years to be some kind of preparation for his life as an actor.
When Isaacs got the role of Lucius Malfoy, he began reading the books and later shared his experience about it: "I went off and read the books after the audition and I read the first four books in one sitting – you know – didn't wash, didn't eat, drove around with them on the steering wheel like a lunatic. I suddenly understood why my friends, who I'd thought were slightly backward, had been so addicted to these children's books."
These days, Isaacs keeps on acting in feature films, TV projects, as well as in theater. His filmography is very wide, and most of his performances have been praised by critics.
1 Daniel Radcliffe
How could this list continue without the actor who played the main hero of the series? There was no way, of course!
Both Daniel Radcliffe's parents acted when they were children and even though they didn't pursue acting careers when they grew up, they still found a job in the fields related to the world of celebrities and cinema. While Radcliffe's father works as a literary agent, his mother is a casting agent.
Daniel himself expressed the desire to become an actor, when he was only five. Soon after it, he got the role in the film adaptation of Charles Dickens' David Copperfield and we all know what happened in several years.
It's evident that the role of Harry Potter was huge for Daniel, and he never expected people to forget that he played it. But at the same time, the young actor admits that he's "proud to be associated with this film series forever."
These days, Radcliffe seems to be glad to show us how multifaceted his talent is. Since the end of the series, he played the most diverse characters in a number of films, including a horror, The Woman in Black, a romantic comedy, What If?, a caper thriller, Now You See Me 2, a survival drama, Jungle, and many others.
Interesting fact: Radcliffe is also into writing poetry. Has has published some of his poems under the pen name Jacob Gershon. Jacob is his middle name, while Gershon is Yiddish variant of his mother's maiden name, Gresham. I would love to read some of it, and what about you?
Sources: wikipedia.org, imdb.com, wikipedia.org, wikipedia.org, telegraph.co.uk, snitchseeker.com, biography.com, wikipedia.org, wikipedia.org, imdb.com, imdb.com, accio-quote.org, imdb.com, wikipedia.org, metro.co.uk, imdb.com, wikipedia.org, news.com.au, wikipedia.org, imdb.com, dailymail.co.uk, telegraph.co.uk, wikipedia.org, web.archive.org, wikipedia.org, latimes.com, wikipedia.org, imdb.com, imdb.com, saintcelemcepoesy.co.uk, saintclemencepoesy.co.uk, broadway.com, imdb.com, wikipedia.org, dailymail.co.uk, ranker.com, buzzfeed.com, wikipedia.org, worldofharrypotter.com, imdb.com, bonbonlumiere.com, wikipedia.org, telegraph.co.uk, wikipedia.org, wikipedia.org, gamesradar.com, tickld.com