Published July 06, 2011
The cast and crew of the "Harry Potter" movies have been saying goodbye to their characters on the eve of the premiere of the eighth and final film in the magical adventure series.
When they met the press at a valedictory news conference Wednesday, it felt like the last day of school -- a warm mixture of release and regret.
Radcliffe, Watson and Rupert Grint have grown up in the films over the past decade, playing young wizards Harry, Hermione and Ron as they progress through Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, and fight the dark forces of Lord Voldemort.
Watson said was it is still "difficult to process" the fact that she won't be playing Hermione again.
The 21-year-old said she would miss the brave, brainy young witch, who was not just a role but a role model.
"I think of her like a sister," Watson said. "She feels so real to me. ... Of course I will miss the people, but actually I will just miss being her.
"I think she made me a better person, and she made me work harder, just as a result of comparing myself to her every day."
Grint, 21, said he felt bereft that the series had ended.
"I have felt a little bit lost without it, really, not really knowing what to do with myself," Grint said. "It's been such a constant part of my life."
Radcliffe -- who appeared on tape from New York, where he is starring in a Broadway production of "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying" -- said he would miss the cast and crew, and the stunts.
"I don't really have the natural frame and stature of an action hero," the modestly sized 20-year-old actor said. "So it's kind of a gift for a young actor to be able to do all that stuff. ... Bursting out of the water surrounded by a ring of fire: I will never get to do that again."
Scottish actor Coltrane -- who has played the friendly giant Hagrid since the start of the series -- said the films were "the first time in my entire career that I've played a thoroughly good man."
"Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2" has its premiere Thursday in London and opens around the world next week. It brings Harry's saga to a close 10 years after the launch of the first film,
"Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone," and four years after the publication of the final book in J.K. Rowling's adventure series.
More than 20 members of the cast and crew -- from producer David Hayman and director David Yates to assorted Hogwarts teachers and red-haired Weasley siblings -- spoke to reporters Wednesday under the grand neo-Gothic vaults of London's St. Pancras Hotel.
It was a sentimental occasion. Everyone, magic or muggle, paid tribute to their colleagues. Several spoke of the Potter "family" and rejected the idea of the films as a "franchise."
Yates, who has directed the last four Potter movies, said the cast and crew had a strong bond.
"We've all been to the moon together, as it were, and I think that's special," he said.
Evanna Lynch, the Irish actress and Harry Potter fan who was cast, aged 14, as flighty Hogwarts pupil Luna Lovegood, said she had no idea what she would do next.
"I'm distraught that this is over," said 19-year-old Lynch. "I've been obsessed with this book since I was eight, so I don't really know what I was before that or what will come next.
"Apparently they are opening a Harry Potter Experience thing where Leavesden (Studios) was. I am available as a tour guide."
The "Harry Potter" films have been big box office hits, but largely overlooked by the Academy Awards and other major prizes.
Yates said he said he was more proud of the approval of fans, like those camped out in London's Trafalgar Square before Thursday's premiere in "a mini-Glastonbury of people from all over the world who have been camping out in the rain for the last three nights."
"That's more of a compensation than lots of trophies," he said.