Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, and Rupert Grint won the proverbial lottery when they were cast in the Harry Potter movies. Playing Harry Potter, Hermione Granger, and Ron Weasley was the chance of a lifetime. The trio spent more than a decade portraying their world-famous characters. So naturally, some of their personality traits bled into their characters and vice versa.
Of course, much of casting comes down to talent and sheer luck. And the actors who ended up playing the golden trio certainly had both of those things. However, their similarities to their characters likely factored into why they were chosen also. In fact, while filming Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, it was pretty much proven that casting for the trio was extremely spot on.
The three main ‘Harry Potter’ cast members were assigned an essay while filming the third movie
Harry Potter fans will recall that the eight films utilized a variety of different directors. While Chris Columbus brought the first two movies to life, Alfonso Cuarón came on board for the third. Cuarón wanted to challenge Grint, Radcliffe, and Watson to go deeper with their characters. So, the director gave his actors an essay as an assignment.
“Basically Alfonso asked us to write an essay about who we thought our characters were, why they did the things they do,” Waston shared in a DVD interview for Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. “Their backgrounds, their feelings, their thoughts, how they’ve changed in the first year of Hogwarts, and the second year of Hogwarts. And now they’re into the third year, how they feel.”
The golden trio approached the essay exactly like their famous characters
Hilariously, Watson, Grint, and Radcliffe approached their assignment exactly as their Harry Potter characters would have. Watson turned in a painstakingly long essay while Radcliffe handed in a much more modest version. Meanwhile, Grint skipped the assignment altogether, correctly claiming that Ron wouldn’t have done it.
Because the Harry Potter cast spent so much time with each other, they begin to think of each other as pseudo siblings. Naturally, they got a bit competitive with one another at times. So, after learning that Grint hadn’t turned in his essay, Radcliffe was feeling pretty good. However, that all changed when he learned about Watson’s incredibly lengthy essay.
Daniel Radcliffe felt accomplished until he learned about Emma Watson’s essay
“I felt really so pleased with myself,” Radcliffe also revealed in a DVD interview for Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. “Rupert hadn’t handed his in and I felt so pleased because I’d done mine, on side of A4, and handed it in. And the next day Emma comes in with all 16 pages of hers!”
Alfonso Cuarón was one of the directors Emma Watson enjoyed working with the most
Much like Hermione, Watson loved the opportunity to do homework. In fact, she stated in a later interview with Cuarón was one of the directors that she enjoyed working with the most. Furthermore, getting to know her character better through the essay would prepare her to work with her next director. Mike Newell, who directed Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, gave the cast a ton of agency. And Waston’s essay inadvertently prepared her for what was to come.
Cuarón helped prepare the cast for future directors
“I think one of the great things about Mike was that he really treated us like adults and he gave us the responsibility,” Watson shared with BBC. “I remember sometimes I would say: ‘Just tell me how to do it! Please just tell me, I can’t do it. I can’t get this right.’ And he was like: ‘I can’t tell you and I’m not going to tell you how to do it. It’s got to come from you.’ He guided and directed us.”
Clearly, the famous Harry Potter essays helped the cast in more ways than one. However, it’s still pretty hilarious that Radcliffe felt a bit competitive about it.