When the Harry Potter series arrived in cinemas back in 2001, no one could’ve predicted the level of success the films enjoyed. Across eight films and ten years, the series grossed nearly $8 billion worldwide and launched the careers of some hugely talented British youngsters.
Or did it? Not everyone who starred in the series has gone on to greener pastures. Some have prospered, while others have plummeted in the projects they have garnered in the intervening years since graduating from Hogwarts.
In the brief period of time since the Harry Potter series wrapped, Watson has become the yardstick by which all other former child-stars should be measured.
Her career choices following Potter have been creative and diverse, and she’s worked with some of the biggest directors in the business; she headlined Sofia Coppola’s critique of teen culture in 2013’s The Bling Ring, parodied herself in Evan Goldberg and Seth Rogen’s post-apocalyptic comedy This Is The End and even journeyed back to Biblical times with the help of Darren Aronofsky in Noah. However, her best performance post-Potter comes in the form of Stephen Chbosky’s heartfelt coming-of-age drama, The Perks of Being a Wallflower; if you haven’t already seen it, definitely scout it out ASAP.
For someone who has only just recently turned 26, Watson has done a lot to broaden her horizons outside of acting also; she’s a passionate and vocal women’s rights activist, spearheading the HeForShe campaign as part of her role as a United Nations Women Goodwill Ambassador.
What does the near future have in store for Watson? Oh, nothing major – just the starring role in Disney’s live-action adaptation of Beauty and the Beast.
“Wait, Domnhall Gleeson was in Harry Potter?” I hear you cry. Indeed he was; Gleeson played Bill Weasley, the eldest brother of Ron who was viciously mauled by a werewolf at the end of Half-Blood Prince.
Since helping to defeat Lord Voldemort in Deathly Hallows Part 2, Gleeson has gone on to become one of the hottest young actors working today; in just the last 12 months, Gleeson has starred in Ex Machina, The Revenant, Brooklyn and Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which between them racked up 22 Academy Award nominations this February. Not too shabby!
Besides that, Gleeson also starred in the widely underappreciated Frank, Richard Curtis’ sugary time-travel rom-com About Time, Angelina Jolie’s WWII drama Unbroken, alongside his father in Calvary and opposite Karl Urban in Dredd. Simply put, the dude has been seriously busy!
Robert Pattinson’s first feature film came in the form of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, and after Lord Voldemort struck him down in the final graveyard duel (oops, spoiler alert), the dashing Brit went on to forge a successful career in further young adult adaptations and smaller independent fare.
Of course, Pattinson is most well known for making tweens weak at the knees in the Twilight series, but his best work has followed that; two collaborations with David Cronenberg (Cosmopolis, Maps to the Stars) have showcased his range as an actor, and he most recently starred as T.E. Lawrence in Werner Herzog’s Queen of the Desert. However, it was his performance in David Michôd’s Australian post-apocalypse drama The Rover that showcased his longevity as an actor beyond Harry Potter and Twilight.
Without wanting to sound overly harsh on Daniel Radcliffe, his best contribution to the cultural zeitgeist since graduating from Hogwarts undoubtedly comes in the form of dank memes, rapping to ‘Alphabet Aerobics’ and drunken karaoke nights.
His recent filmography has been less than stellar; Radcliffe has dabbled in horror (The Woman in Black), rom-coms (What If) and schlocky fantasy (Horns) to mixed results. Worst of them all was his starring role alongside James McAvoy in a direct-to-DVD version of Victor Frankenstein.
That being said, there may be brighter things on the horizon for the actor formerly known as The Boy Who Lived; his role in the bizarre Swiss Army Man has drawn acclaim from audiences at Sundance whilst his supporting role in franchises like Now You See Me 2 (though a gimmicky casting choice) could signal a shift in fortune for the talented actor.
In the five years since Deathly Hallows Part 2, Rupert Grint has struggled to broaden his filmography beyond the Wizarding World. Unfortunately, Grint has been hamstrung by supporting roles in independent films like Charlie Countryman, CBGB and Into the White that, while they have kept his IMDb page ticking over, haven’t done much to raise his profile or distinguish him from his role of Ron Weasley. His most notable credit post-Potter comes in the form of the Postman Pat animated film from 2014, but even that received mixed to negative reviews.
Bonnie Wright played Ginny Weasley in all eight Harry Potter films, but since the series wrapped it’s been a struggle for the young actress to land an acting role sizeable enough to separate herself from her non-Muggle alter ego. Even scoring roles in little-known films such as The Sea and After the Dark has taken a back seat in recent years; Wright tried her hand at theatre in 2013, but more importantly has taken to moving behind the camera as director and screenwriter on multiple short films and music videos. She might not enjoy the same notoriety of someone like Watson or Pattinson, but her on-going work in the industry showcases an eagerness to broaden her talents beyond acting.
Images courtesy of Roadshow Films