This summer movie season, I couldn’t care less about machines that turn into bigger machines. I’m not moved by the superhero with sticky powers and I couldn’t tell you why Bruce Willis is still dying hard. What I do care about is these three kids — Harry, Hermione and Ron — who have gone from adorable pre-adolescence to graceful young adulthood in the last six years.
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix opens next week, and I, for one, can’t wait. Much to my own surprise, I’ve turned into a true fan of the movie franchise that at first I dismissed as only kid stuff. My interest went from casual to come-on-when-is-the-next-one-already with Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. Since the third film, the stories have become more nuanced, the direction more dark. And it helps that Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint no longer look like they play with Legos. This week, HBO aired an exclusive 13-minute preview of Order of the Phoenix, complete with clips and interviews. All I can say is bring on the wizard battle royal.
Watching the actors go from 11-12 years old in the first film to 17-18 now has been a rare cinematic treat. It’s not often outside of the confines of series television that you get to see someone grow up before your eyes as the same character. So far, despite living in the fishbowl of celebrity, they’ve turned out pretty freaking great. While everyone went crazy over Daniel’s naked horseplay in Equus earlier this year, I’ve kept my eye on Emma instead. (Hey, not like that. I’m not a skeezy old lady. OK, fine, I’m a little skeezy.)
In March, there were some rumblings about the 17-year-old actress balking at coming back for the final two films. But she re-signed shortly thereafter and addressed the issue at a press conference in London for the film.
“I didn’t sign the contracts sort of immediately because I needed some time to just figure out, actually, the logistics of … making two Harry Potter films and combining that with my school timetable. I really want to go to university. I really wanted to continue what I was doing, and I didn’t want to give either one up. And so I was really in this kind of difficult position. And it just took a bit of time just to block out how I was going to make that work.”
Heavens, she is Hermione Granger.