THE INSIDER: BONNIE WRIGHT
Your wand's too measly for Ginny Weasley.
When Bonnie Wright turned 20 this February, she'd already appeared in seven mega-hit movies, five of which required flying on a broom. As the youngest Weasley (and only girl Weasley!) in the Harry Potter franchise, Wright has hexed Helena Bonham Carter, outrun a man-eating snake, and (maybe most adventurous of all) made out with Daniel Radcliffe against a kitchen counter.
This story was published on April 5, 2011.
We figured the London film student had enough excitement in her life, so we went for the calm route, and took her out to tea in Soho...
Can I ask a dorky question first? I promise you, at this point, I've been asked everything. There's no way you'll top some of the interviews in terms of all-out insanity.
Fair enough. Did you and the rest of the cast get the books before everyone else? Unfortunately not! Actually, the most grating thing I've ever seen in a movie is in The Devil Wears Prada, when those two little kids get the Harry Potter books ahead of time. I was like, "Are you kidding? That would never, ever, ever happen!" [JK Rowling] is so guarded, and she always wants everything to be released at the exact same time. Even the international translators would only get the books when they were already on sale, so nothing leaked out. Everybody - I mean everybody, Dan, Emma, everyone - had to wait just like you.
When you got the books, would you skip ahead to try and find the Ginny Weasley scenes? I remember doing that sometimes, but then it would kind of ruin the story, so I ended up just reading as I'd read any book normally. But I remember, you know, so many people would call me or text me the day the books came out. They'd go, "Oh my god, Bonnie, have you read page two-hundred-and-whatever?" And I'm like, "No! Stop! Don't tell me anything!" That was torture!
Not that I'm a huge obsessed Harry Potter fan or anything... [Laughter] No, not at all!
But I can't wait for the part in the last film where your mother yells at Bellatrix, "Get away from my daughter, you bitch!" Oh that whole scene is going to be so good. In fact, what's so great about the last film is that all the good guys bring up their game. They're like, "Actually, we'll really fight now; we're not afraid to cause damage." It's so much fun, and the best part is, we get to destroy Hogwarts!
Cue the crying children. I guess people could think that's sad, but for a lot of us, it was strangely cathartic. Like, "This has been amazing, now let's blow it up." It's kind of like when you build a sand castle and you break it down.
Tell me you looted the Gryffindor common room. Unfortunately no! Everyone kept asking if I have my quidditch shirt, or if I have my wand, and I don't! I have a wand, but it's not the real thing - it's a merchandised one.
Do you also have a Ginny Weasley action figure? [Laughing] No! Bloody hell! But I think my grandmother does. She showed it to me, and I was like, "Oh, uh, that's cool, Grandma." But I've got nothing from the actual set. They kept everything under lock and key. At the end of the day, everyone's wands were literally checked in.
And then you got to go to college... Yes, but it's tricky explaining my coursework in America. In the UK, you apply knowing exactly the direction you're taking, instead of being more general and then picking a major. So I started film school straight away, and it's really amazing. The first year, I was still filming and my mind was kind of everywhere. This year I've found classes much more interesting.
What's your homework like? We just shot a documentary! The chosen subject - Which I did not choose! [Laughing] Make a note, this was not my choosing!
Noted, Bonnie Wright did not pick her documentary subject. It was about female murderers! Basically female criminology and the psychology of criminal murders. I was doing so much research at the beginning. It was very sad and graphic, and I was like, "Oh my gosh, this is horrible." Fortunately, we never interviewed any actual female murderers, but we spoke to a lot of forensic psychologists and we got to have an amazing day at Scotland Yard. We got to go into this room where they have big bags of evidence in bins, and there were maps everywhere with little pins in them, tracking suspects and victims. We had an interview with the Head of Murder at the Metropolitan Police in London. It was so interesting! We have a lot of crime dramas in London, but this was cooler.
Are you seeing any films while you visit New York? I'm actually seeing Dan [Radcliffe] in How to Succeed Tonight! I'm quite excited because he has to sing and dance, and people don't realize he's been practicing for like two years. Anytime he had free time on the Harry Potter set, he'd be singing and dancing. People don't realize when Dan wants to do something, he tries to do it two hundred percent. I'm dying to see the show.
Your parents are jewelry designers, so was it always assumed you'd go into the arts? Yeah. When I was younger, my brother went to art school, just as my parents went to art school. I was brought up in such a crazy environment. We wouldn't ever go on holiday and go to the beach. It would be like, "Okay, now we're going to every museum and every gallery we can find." So I did want to study fashion design, or maybe product design. But then I saw that breaking into fashion is really hard - not like breaking into film isn't, but I had an advantage there.
Are you still drawn to fashion design? The idea that I love is how it connects to so many other things. Like when you're an actress stepping into a character, clothes can help you do that - they can help you create a character even for your everyday life. So I try to pick things that aren't following trends, but that lend themselves a bit more to performance.
This season in London, you were in Katie Eary's fashion show. How'd it go? It was so weird! First of all, she's a menswear designer, and a good friend of the family, so she asked if I'd just come - not be in it, just attend! But when I got there, they were like, "Oh, well Bonnie's already here, let's strap her into this outfit! Very involved hair, makeup, these shoes that were like sneakers but with heels, and giant straps so every time I walked they would rub together. I can't believe I didn't fall. It was actually a lot of fun because it was so weird, until I realized my dad and other family friends were there. When they saw me walk by them on the catwalk, they started cheering! I was like "No! Stop! Please!"
Can we expect you to walk again next season? This was a total exception. Now that I know how scary it is, I really don't think so.
Do you have a stylist for events? No, I always pick my own clothes. I get it from my Mom; we know what we like and what we don't like!
You wore a Louis Vuitton dress to the Harry Potter Exhibition opening on Monday. How'd you get it? They brought some stuff in from Paris for me. I tried some quite pretty ones on, but sometimes you're just not in a mood to be girly and frilly. And I put that dress on; it fit perfectly, and everyone in the room was like, "Okay, the end, you're wearing that one." It was just perfect. And I haven't worn a short dress for ages, because in winter you either go mid-length or with trousers. So this was fun.
How about makeup? I'm obsessed with Bobbi Brown. The best present I've ever gotten was the other week. I was writing a college essay; it was taking all day and I felt like crap. Then this box turned up at the door, and the card said "Dear Bonnie, I adore your look, love Bobbi Brown." And I was like, "Wait, no, actually Bobbi Brown? Like the real person wrote me a note?!" She sent this huge vanity case full of makeup and it absolutely made my day. I have to send her a letter back and say, "You just kept me from screaming because my day sucked."
Is it more stressful to work on a movie set or on a red carpet? You know some people get so nervous for days before something big? I'm the opposite - I'm not nervous until the minute before something happens. So I suddenly step onto the red carpet and I'm like, "Wait a second, oh my god, what am I doing?" But I think in terms of Harry Potter, the attention is just incredible. So that makes it easier. If it weren't for the fans, we wouldn't be here. We love them, and they're great, and it makes the nerves go away much faster.
How do you feel about Wizard Rock Bands? Like Harry and the Pot Heads? I've heard of them!
What?! Are you kidding? That's just the start. We did a Q&A at the Apple store in Soho on Sunday. In the audience, there was the NYU Quidditch team. Do you know there's Muggle Quidditch now?
I saw them practicing in the park once. The NYU team were at the Apple store, and they asked if I'd heard of Muggle Quidditch. I turned it round on them, I said, "Of course I've heard of you, but how do you play when you can't fly?" Quidditch is meant to be quite violent, and they're like, "No we just run." That's quite amazing that you've figured out how to make Quidditch into a real game.
Would you play it? Without a broom? It would be very tiring on your feet!
What's in your iPod right now? Isn't it funny how our parents swore they'd never listen to their parents music, and now that's all we do? I always think about my parents; how I listen to the same music they do. Leonard Cohen, Bob Dylan, Neil Young. Anything easy and nice. My friend is in the Mumford and Sons band so we always go see them - they're really nice and they're good musicians.
You should check out Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes if you like Mumford. Oh and you should check out this guy Labyrinth? I saw him do an acoustic gig of covers and amazing original songs. He had an incredible voice but he mostly collaborates with other musicians and makes remixes for them. I was like, "Why are you not doing this yourself?!" He's so talented, and his dress sense was so dapper and cool. I'm obsessed.
Anything else you want to discuss?
For me, I'm finding it an exciting time in my life. There are new things like school, and I have time to hang out with my friends and time to travel.
Will you soon be chopping off all your hair like Emma Watson? No, I like my long hair!
How about a clothing line and a fragrance line? Eau de Bonnie? No, I think I'll pass on that! I'll just wear other people's clothes and fragrances! Why would anyone buy my perfume? Nobody wants to smell like me!