CHICAGO (NewsNation Now) — It’s been 20 years since the Hogwarts Express pulled into Platform 9 3/4 and picked up Harry Potter, Ron Weasley, Hermione Granger and the loathsome Draco Malfoy. Over the next decade, the movies would breathe cinematic life into J.K. Rowling’s world.
No doubt the films made the three principals, played by Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson, wealthy in a way that ensures they’ll never need to work again, but they’re young and still have a world to conquer. In fact, almost the entire cast has gone on to more notable work. Let’s take a look at where they’ve gone and what they’re doing.
First off, we’ll get the sad part out of the way. Alan Rickman, who played Severus Snape, the much-hated professor who ended up being one of Harry’s staunchest protectors, died of pancreatic cancer in 2016. Before Potter, he was best known as the villain Hans Gruber in Bruce Willis’ Christmas blow-up movie, “Die Hard.” Also, Irish actor Richard Harris, whose career spanned nearly a half-century and included a vast array of roles, played Dumbledore in the first two films but passed away from Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 2002.
Daniel Radcliffe: Daniel hasn’t exactly stampeded out after new work since the series ended. He did the oddball “Guns Akimbo” and has been on the cast of the slightly bizarre comedy “Miracle Workers” for a couple of seasons.
Emma Watson: Emma took a big turn a year after the series wrapped, joining the ensemble cast of the celeb-filled apocalypse comedy “This Is The End.” She also dipped a toe into fairy tale waters, playing Belle in a live-action version of “Beauty and the Beast,” followed by the requisite role in a Louisa May Alcott adaptation, playing Meg March in 2019’s “Little Women.”
Rupert Grint: Rupert starred with Alan Rickman in one of his last projects, “CBGB,” a chronicle of the famous NYC club, in 2013. He famously bought an ice cream truck and took on various TV roles but no major movie projects.
Maggie Smith: Two-time Oscar winner Maggie Smith played shape-shifting Prof. McGonagall, and before the movie series ended she’d already taken on another shape: the Dowager Countess of “Downton Abbey” fame, a role which earned her a new legion of fans.
Tom Felton: Tom had a bit of trouble shaking off his Draco Malfoy persona, playing a loathsome wildlife park attendant in “Rise of Planet of the Apes” in 2011. He’s since taken on more projects than the other young cast members, popping up in all manner of productions, even doing 17 episodes of “The Flash.”
Robbie Coltrane: As Hagrid, he looked gigantic, but Coltrane’s actually only 6’1″, although he’s built somewhat generously, shall we say. Since the movies, the beloved British comedian has done a good bit of voice work and work related to spin-offs, but in 2019 he picked up a perfect role playing Orson Welles in “Urban Myths.”
In a series this sprawling, there are hundreds of actors who could be discussed, and no doubt Potterphiles will be sending in plenty of notes about cast members we failed to list. Who knows, perhaps we’ll go bigger for the 25th anniversary!