Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone was released in 2001 which means that it has been seventeen years since the movie first premiered--and it has been twenty-one years since the book was published! In 2001, we were introduced to some magical characters who we watched grow up on-screen while we were growing up as well. Now that seventeen years have come and gone, the actors who portrayed some of our favorite characters have become adults just like us. Though they have since moved on to other projects, it's hard not to associate them to the beloved franchise that made them famous.
For many of us introverted bookworms, the characters in the Harry Potter series felt like better friends than our real-life friends and we would read the books and watch the movies waiting for our owls to arrive telling us that we had been accepted into Hogwarts. Unfortunately, those owls never came (just delayed about fifteen years). But the actors who played Hogwarts students in the Harry Potter movies came pretty close to living our dream of being witches and wizards. Sadly, all stories must come to an end and now the actors who spent a decade filming the movies have left Hogwarts for good.
However, any Harry Potter fan knows that "Hogwarts will always be there to welcome you home" and we can always pick up our copies of The Sorcerer's Stone and dive right back into the wizarding world and relive the story all over again. These side-by-side images of the cast of Harry Potter in 2001 vs. them now will definitely fill you with the same nostalgia.
15 Daniel Radcliffe: The Boy Who Lived
Daniel Radcliffe almost didn't get the role of Harry Potter because they had another actor in mind to play the Boy Who Lived. The only problem was that this particular actor, Liam Aiken, was American and there was a very important rule that the casting director had to follow: "British only." The rule was so strict that they turned down Robin Williams from playing Hagrid! It was also very important that Harry have green eyes (like his mother) and Radcliffe did not have green eyes. However, he eventually won them over and was chosen to play Harry as long as he would wear colored contact lenses to make his eyes green. Unfortunately, he was allergic to the lenses and they liked Daniel so much that they'd rather keep him than find another actor with green eyes. That's how Daniel Radcliffe became the face for one of the most successful franchises in history.
14 Emma Watson: The Perfect Choice for Hermione
Emma Watson won over the casting director almost instantly and he recalled how difficult it was to cast the character of Hermione because she was supposed to be "towards the annoying side at times, but not too annoying." Some actresses were turned down because they would have gotten annoying after awhile but Emma was different. She was just too lovable to ever be irritating. As soon as she auditioned, they knew that she was the one. One of the producers even asked if he could have her under contract until she turned 21! The best part about Emma playing Hermione was that she approached the character by being very Hermione-esque. There are a few scenes in The Sorcerer's Stone where you can actually see her silently mouthing the lines of the costars! She was definitely the perfect choice for Hermione.
13 Rupert Grint: He Can't Enjoy Harry Potter Anymore
Like Emma Watson, Rupert Grint won over the casting director quickly even though there were about five other actors who were in the running to play Ron Weasley. The casting director recalled Rupert's audition and said, "‘Look at that face on Rupert ... That’s Ron. Look at that face." Before being cast in Harry Potter, Rupert had never acted professionally and neither had Emma--Daniel was the only one out of the three who had every appeared in a film. Rupert auditioned for the part after seeing an open casting call and he actually rapped in his audition tape...and was also dressed as his female school teacher. Honestly, that sounds like something Ron would do. Sadly, Rupert recently said in an interview that he can't actually enjoy Harry Potter as a fan at all because he was in the movies. So sad.
12 James And Oliver Phelps: Twinning
James and Oliver Phelps are the identical twins who played Fred and George Weasley in the films and the two actually skipped school exams to attend an open audition even though they had no previous acting experience. That definitely sounds like something Fred and George would have done! After about six auditions, they were cast as the Weasley twins on the condition that they dye their hair and eyebrows red for the next ten years. After they were cast, they weren't exactly sure which twin was supposed to play Fred and which was supposed to play George and they eventually found out that James was Fred and Oliver was George. However, much like their characters, the twins played pranks on set but they never switched characters. Even seventeen years later, the twins are still very close to their costars. Wouldn't it be great if they all hung out together?
11 Bonnie Wright: Ginny Deserved Better
Because Ginny Weasley was ten years old in The Sorcerer's Stone, she didn't get to go to Hogwarts with her brothers so we only get to see her for a few moments before Ron and Harry board the Hogwarts Express. Despite having no acting experience at all, nine-year-old Bonnie Wright was cast as Ginny and she remembers her first time being on set as very confusing. Bonnie ended up going to London’s University of the Arts and earned a degree in Film and Television and majoring in directing. She was briefly engaged to Jamie Campbell Bower who played a young Gellert Grindelwald in the final movie but they eventually broke up. Unfortunately for Bonnie, the Harry Potter movies did not exactly do her character justice and many fans still lament over the fact that she didn't get the attention that she deserved.
10 Matthew Lewis: Neville's Glo Up
Neville Longbottom was the dorky kid who was always getting picked on but he somehow grew up to be a total hottie. Puberty definitely treated him well! Before he was cast as Neville, Matthew Lewis had been acting since he was five years old mostly appearing in small television roles. When we are first introduced to Neville in The Sorcerer's Stone, he's just an awkward eleven-year-old who can't catch a break and then he goes on to be a hero in the final movie after he kills Voldemort's snake which was one of his horcruxes. According to J.K. Rowling, Matthew Lewis is one of "The Big Seven" which also includes Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, Tom Felton, Evanna Lynch, and Bonnie Wright. He most recently appeared in the film Me Before You which stars Emilia Clarke and Sam Claflin and was released in 2016.
9 Juliane Hough: Was She In Harry Potter?
She may not have played one of the main characters but the fact that Juliane Hough was in Harry Potter blew everyone's mind. On the 20th anniversary of Harry Potter, The Dancing With the Stars alum posted a photo on Instagram of two screencaps from The Sorcerer's Stone that she can be spotted in. She included the caption: "Remember that one time when I was 11 and a Gryffindor? Oh and apparently liked flirting with the Weasley twins? #ivealwayslovedredheads". Her role was uncredited but she's seen multiple times onscreen and her brother Derek Hough can also be spotted briefly in the film! In the scene where Ron and Harry are playing chess and Hermione comes in through double doors, you can spot Derek walking past them with an owl and wearing a Ravenclaw uniform. The two may be professional dancers but being in a Harry Potter movie grants you some pretty serious bragging rights.
8 What Happened to Lee Jordan?
True Harry Potter fans will remember Lee Jordan who is the Quidditch announcer who keeps the audience up to speed during the matches. Lee only appears in the The Sorcerer's Stone and The Chamber of Secrets but he makes a lasting impression as the energetic announcer. Luke Youngblood (which sounds like a more Harry Potter-esque name than Lee Jordan) played Lee in the films and he didn't stop acting once the filming for the second Harry Potter film had wrapped He has since appeared in ABC's Galavant as Sid, Queen of the South, and White Famous. Not to mention he was also the life of the part at Greendale as Magnitude on Community who only ever says the words "Pop! Pop!" How is that so many actors in the Harry Potter cast grew up to be so attractive? He's definitely all grown up now!
7 Alfred Enoch: He Got Away With Murder
Speaking of hotties, Alfred Enoch was also blessed by the puberty fairy like many of his costars. Alfred played Dean Thomas, a fellow Gryffindor student at Hogwarts and Ginny's eventual love interest. Dean appeared in all eight movies and we weren't prepared for the glo up! Though he hasn't appeared in any other films, he was cast as Wes Gibbins, a series regular on ABC's How to Get Away with Murder causing many viewers to look at him and wonder where they had seen him before. Harry Potter fans were shocked when they saw the transformation! Not only is he attractive but he also speaks Portuguese and stands at 6'4"! Swoon! He is currently set to star in Troy: Fall of a City produced by BBC One and Netflix which means it will be available to watch on Netflix for anyone who lives outside of the UK!
6 Devon Murray: He Got Personal on Twitter
The first time we met Seamus, he was a Hogwarts student who was always accidentally blowing things up--and now he's all grown up! Though he played one of Harry Potter's best pals, Seamus Finnigan, in the movies, Devon Murray revealed that his life wasn't as glamorous as you might think. Devon started acting when he was six years old and he landed the part of Seamus just a few years later. In 2016 the Harry Potter actor opened about his struggle with depression that started when he was just a teenager. He addressed his Twitter followers, writing, "I've been battling depression in silence for ten years & only recently spoke about it and has made a huge difference #worldmentalhealthday". In response to his tweet, he received an outpouring of positive messages from fans who supported and commended his honesty. This year he will star in Damo & Ivor: The Movie.
5 Harry Melling: He Was Almost Recast!
Nobody likes Harry Potter's spoiled cousin Dudley Dursley because he's basically just a bully who picks on Harry. However, Harry Melling is not like Dudley at all and doesn't want to be associated with the character. Harry comes from a family of actors and his grandfather the second Doctor on the Doctor Who. The actor appeared in five of the eight movies and he was almost recast in The Deathly Hallows Part 1 because he had lost so much weight that he had become unrecognizable. However, he was fitted with a fat suit and went on to reprise his role one last time. According to Harry, he likes the fact that he can live his life without being recognized as Dudley: "I can now shed the child actor thing, like the fat, and start a new career, because no one sees me as Dudley." Harry has recently appeared in The Lost City of Z the BBC's The Musketeers.
4 Tom Felton: Everyone's Favorite Villain
Draco Malfoy may be another one of Harry Potter's bullies but Draco is a much more sympathetic character than Dudley. When we first meet Draco, he's an entitled rich kid who think he's better than anybody and in the end you can't help but like him--or at least feel sorry for him. Before he was cast as Draco, Tom Felton tried out for the part of Harry but now he's glad that he didn't land the role saying, "I'm very grateful I am in the film at all, but even more grateful that I got the character of Draco." Emma Watson has since said that she once had a crush on Tom while they appeared in the movie together but nothing ever came of it--though he probably wishes something did! Tom has managed to stay busy with various roles, most notably as Julian Albert on CW's The Flash and this year he appeared in Ophelia alongside Daisy Ridley.
3 Josh Herdman: Goyle Is An MMA Fighter
Gregory Goyle was one of Draco Malfoy's Slytherin friends and he appeared in all eight of the Harry Potter movies. After the last movie wrapped, Josh Herdman decided he was done with acting for a while and went down a different career path...as an MMA cage fighter. He says that he still loves acting but it was so unpredictable that he compared it to "playing the lottery for a living." Considering that many of his costars haven't been able to further their acting careers after Harry Potter ended, it's a pretty accurate comparison. Josh still has an agent and occasionally goes to auditions, and said he's "passionate about both acting and fighting" but it's probably a good idea to have something else on the back burner. Draco's other sidekick Vincent Crabbe was played by Jamie Waylett and he and Josh became very close friends after ten years of filming. Also, according to Josh, he's a good rapper too!
2 Sean Biggerstaff: He's a Keeper
We may not see Oliver Wood much in the movies after The Sorcerer's Stone but he plays a very important part in the first film: he teaches Harry Potter how to play Quidditch. He was also (probably) one of your childhood crushes because he's adorable! Oliver is the keeper and the captain of the Gryffindor Quidditch team and he appears in the first two films and makes a brief appearance in the last film. Sean Biggerstaff played Oliver when he was 17 and he has been acting professionally since he was just seven years old. Before he was cast in Harry Potter, he auditioned for the part in a play, The Winter Guest, that starred Alan Rickman. Though he didn't get the part, Professor Snape himself put in a good word for him at a talent agency and a week later, he was cast as Oliver Wood. Rickman also cast him in the movie adaptation of the same play that he originally tried out for just two years later.
1 Chris Ranking: Nobody Likes Percy
Percy Weasley, Ron Weasley's older brother, played by Chris Rankin, is one of the most irritating characters in Harry Potter because he's a self-righteous brown-noser who eventually worked for the Ministry of Magic and disowned his family after the ministry turned against Dumbledore. Even worse, he made his mother cry when he sent back his Christmas jumper that she had made for him! So sad! Percy appeared in the first three movies and doesn't reappear until Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix and then disappears again until Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1 and Part 2. In 2008, Chris announced that he was going to retire from acting and focus on his education saying, "I love acting but I've discovered that doing it as a job means that I'm not enjoying it as much as I used to." He recently worked on The Bastard Executioner as assistant production coordinator.