Behind The Scenes, Making 'Harry Potter' Was Just As Awkward As High School

The story of J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter is one of adolescence and responsibility. It's the tale of a young man who is suddenly thrown into a world he doesn't understand, then becomes the central figure in all of its major, magical events. Similarly, the children cast to play the characters in the Harry Potter films found themselves in a strange, new world they didn't understand, yet it all revolved around them.

Growing up on the Harry Potter set made for an unusual childhood. Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, and many other children effectively grew to adulthood through the filming of the franchise, and their experiences - while atypical for kids their age - still managed to mirror the awkward experiences all kids go through as they attend school.

There were a ton of interesting and awkward things going on - mostly positive, but a few downsides as well - while the cast and crew were bringing Rowling's world to life. Many stories have trijckled out over the years. Check out the more interesting stories that came from the production.

  • Alfonso Cuarón Used Radcliffe's Crush On Cameron Diaz To Get A More Realistic Reaction Out Of Him

    Alfonso Cuarón Used Radcliffe's Crush On Cameron Diaz To Get A More Realistic Reaction Out Of Him
    Photo: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban / Warner Bros.

    When Daniel Radcliffe showed up on the set of Prisoner of Azkaban, he was still very much a novice actor, and a young man to boot. Because Alfonso Cuarón was new to the franchise (having taken over from Christopher Columbus), he found himself in charge of a group of young actors who didn't know how to work with the new director.

    For Radcliffe, Cuarón found he needed to use a unique motivation to get the right reaction from the actor. Essentially, he had to appeal to the young man's interests. In one scene, Harry was meant to look shocked, so Cuarón told him to simply imagine Cameron Diaz in a G-String. When the take worked perfectly, it seemed Cuarón had found a way to relate to the young actor. As he explains:

    I don't believe in being very precious when you are dealing with kids... Kids hate to be patronized. They just want to be treated like anybody else. They know if I have an argument with someone, it’s just adults having a stupid argument, you know? That is the relationship I had with them, it was just to be very straight.

  • Emma Watson Considered Dropping Out To Focus On Her Education

    Emma Watson Considered Dropping Out To Focus On Her Education
    Photo: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets / Warner Bros.

    Emma Watson was perfectly cast to play the young bookworm, Hermoine Granger, as there are aspects of the character's personality - like her love of learning - that ring true for the young actor. Like everyone else involved with the eight-movie franchise, Watson had to contend with her schoolwork while filming. This requires a splitting of time, and it can make for arduous work.

    By the time she turned 16, Watson's schedule was difficult, and she considered dropping out of the franchise altogether. She complained that she felt "trapped" by her long schedule, and she was looking to alleviate her stress. She almost came to the decision to leave while filming Deathly Hallows: Part 1 due to an increased shooting schedule for the numerous outdoor scenes. She explained:

    I have such a structure when I’m working on Potter. I get told what time I get picked up. I get told what time I can eat when I have time to go to the bathroom. Every single second of my day is not in my power.... This has definitely been the most intense, grueling period of film-making I’ve ever done.

    Fortunately, she continued the work and made it through the filming of all eight movies. After her time in the Harry Potter universe, Watson attended Brown University, where she earned her bachelor's degree in English literature.

  • Daniel Radcliffe Started Drinking During His Senior Years

    Daniel Radcliffe Started Drinking During His Senior Years
    Photo: Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince / Warner Bros.

    Acting at a young age often elevates a child to celebrity status, which can be difficult to handle. As a result, these actors may act out in various ways and occasionally travel down a dark path of illicit substances and alcohol. Daniel Radcliffe was able to get through his childhood acting days and become an incredibly talented adult actor, and while he didn't get involved in scandals, he did have a drinking problem.

    When he was still a senior in high school, the actor says he would drink to excess - managing to black out almost every time he drank. He would often come to the set still inebriated, but fortunately, he recognized that he had a problem. He became so concerned about his behavior in public that he became a recluse, often drinking alone at home.

    Radcliffe discussed his drinking problem in an interview with Heat magazine, in which he admitted, "I have a very addictive personality. It was a problem. People with problems like that are very adept at hiding it. It was bad. I don't want to go into details, but I drank a lot, and it was daily - I mean nightly." He continued to explain how it impacted his time working on the Harry Potter films:

    I can honestly say I never drank at work on Harry Potter. I went into work still drunk, but I never drank at work. I can point to many scenes where I'm just gone. Dead behind the eyes.

    Fortunately, the young actor overcame his addictive nature and now refuses to even touch alcohol out of fear he will develop alcoholism.

  • Emma Watson Had An Immediate Middle School Crush On Tom Felton

    Emma Watson Had An Immediate Middle School Crush On Tom Felton
    Photo: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban / Warner Bros.

    Working together for as long as the Harry Potter actors did, it's not unusual for a crush or two to develop. After all, the kids saw each other, day in and day out, and they formed close bonds. Emma Watson said she never developed romantic feelings for either of her leading co-stars. "The whole 10-year period, I never so much as pecked either one of them [Rupert Grint or Daniel Radcliffe] on the cheek," she says. "It was pure friendship."

    Of course, that may have been true of the main cast, but she had different feelings toward the young man who played Draco Malfoy:

    Between the ages of 10 and 12, I had a really terrible crush on Tom Felton. We love a bad guy, and he was a few years older, and he had a skateboard, and that just did it really. He used to do tricks on it. He was so cool. He totally knew [I had a crush]. And the thing is, he’d turn and go, "Oh, I see her in a younger sisterly way." And it just broke my heart, still does.

    Her schoolgirl crush doesn't seem to have carried into adulthood. While the two actors are often seen together, and rumors of their romantic liaisons persist online, both have stated that they are just good friends, and aren't romantically involved.

  • A Head Lice Outbreak Allegedly Delayed Filming On 'Chamber of Secrets'

    Remember those lice checks that held up a day of school many years ago? That sort of thing still happens with young children, and it seems head lice don't take the day off because a group of kids are working on a movie. Magical schools are still susceptible to lice infestations, and one came along to screw up the schedule for Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.

    At the time, the children were about 12 to 13 years old, and almost all of them came under attack from lice. Nobody wants to film a scene while constantly scratching their heads, so to keep that from happening, Chamber of Secrets was put on hold for some time before anyone could return to work. All filming and production efforts were stopped until 100% of the cast and crew were lice free.

  • Rupert Grint Might Have Spilled A Milkshake In Alan Rickman's Car

    Rupert Grint Might Have Spilled A Milkshake In Alan Rickman's Car
    Photo: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets / Warner Bros.

    Considering how well cast Alan Rickman was as Severus Snape, there's little doubt he intimidated the kids on set. As it happens, most of the people who worked with him toward the end of his life described him as a lovable grouch, and he was incredibly friendly around the children.

    Of course, there is a rumor about his relationship with Rupert Grint and Matthew Lewis (Neville Longbottom) that makes it seem like Rickman may have had a very Snape-like reaction, and it has everything to do with the man's car. 

    According to the rumor mill, Grint and Lewis were playing around inside his car, and Grint spilled a milkshake inside. After that happened, Rickman became a tyrant about letting any of the kids anywhere near his car. This became especially true when he bought himself a new BMW.