It’s Been 20 Years Since Harry Potter Was Released – And The Cast Are Barely Recognizable Today

The Harry Potter movie franchise is 20 this year. Happy birthday guys! The new Fantastic Beasts films are carrying the torch now, but let’s go back to where it all began. Here’s what 40 of the original HP cast members looked like then, as compared to now. Prepare yourself though ‒ some are virtually unrecognizable.

40. Daniel Radcliffe – Harry Potter

If there’s one HP actor who needs no introduction, it’s Daniel Radcliffe who played the titular Harry Potter. We watched him grow into adulthood over the course of the movies, and his career has matured with him. DanRad has starred in horror movies, biopics, romantic comedies and even a controversial stage show where he appeared naked. Expelliarmus!

39. Chris Rankin – Percy Weasley

Chris Rankin’s biggest role in front of the camera was arguably Percy Weasley in the Harry Potter movies. But he’s also tried his hand at things behind the scenes. Chris is a production coordinator behind seven episodes of TV’s Downton Abbey and eight episodes of A Discovery of Witches. Now that’s a step-up from Head Boy.

ADVERTISEMENT

38. Rupert Grint – Ron Weasley

Rupert Grint loves his on-screen persona Ron Weasley. According to IMDb he said, “The truth is that Ron is my hero. He’s always there for his friends ‒ sometimes belligerently, but there nevertheless. He’s also the comic relief in stressful situations.” And just like Ron, Rupert has arachnophobia. Apparently he still can’t watch the Aragog scenes from Chamber of Secrets properly.

37. Scarlett Byrne – Pansy Parkinson

ADVERTISEMENT

Scarlett Hefner, née Byrne, played the Slytherin witch Pansy Parkinson in the last three Potter movies. It wasn’t the last time she was in a Sci-Fi series, either: she was in the alien invasion series Falling Skies. And she didn’t suck in the role of Nora Hildegard in the hit TV series The Vampire Diaries. If her new surname intrigues you, it’s because she married the son of the late Playboy magnate Hugh Hefner.

36. Emma Watson – Hermione Granger

Although Hermione Granger was a wallflower, her actress Emma Watson is anything but. Emma’s renowned for her beauty, hence her role as Belle in Disney’s 2017 live action Beauty and the Beast. Nevertheless, the actress isn’t too dissimilar from her on-screen HP character. Just like Hermione, Emma’s well-educated. She’s a campaigner for equal rights too, though Emma’s cause is women’s rights rather than those of house elves.

ADVERTISEMENT

35. Luke Youngblood – Lee Jordan

ADVERTISEMENT

Lee Jordan, portrayed by Luke Youngblood in the HP movies, appeared in the first two films. As a Quidditch commentator, Lee used his voice to reach a larger audience, much like Luke. Since his tenure on Harry Potter, Luke’s been a voice actor for various video games and animated TV series. Sounds like he found his calling.

34. Tom Felton – Draco Malfoy

Tom Felton won awards as the villain Draco Malfoy, the bully everyone loves to hate. So what’s Tom like in real life? “If young children boo me, that makes my day,” IMDb reported him as saying. But in reality, Tom couldn’t be more different to Draco. In 2017 he told a young HP fan, “Do you wanna hear a secret? I’m nice in real life, it’s only Draco that’s mean.”

ADVERTISEMENT

33. James and Oliver Phelps – Fred and George Weasley

ADVERTISEMENT

In true-to-character fashion, James and Oliver Phelps who played the Weasley twins skipped school for their Potter audition. But perhaps their most memorable scene in the movies was Fred’s death scene and its aftermath. According to the HP wiki, the scene was an emotional one for Oliver. “I took one look at James on the stretcher and burst into tears,” the actor said. “I can’t even imagine how it would feel to lose him.”

32. Josh Herdman – Gregory Goyle

Josh Herdman portrayed Draco’s goon Goyle throughout the HP series, after which his career took some twists and turns. Josh took up Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) in 2016, yet he remained enchanted with acting. These days he does both. Notable roles include 2018’s Robin Hood British Drama Marcella and 2020’s Alex Rider.

ADVERTISEMENT

31. Alfie Enoch – Dean Thomas

ADVERTISEMENT

While Alfie Enoch’s character Dean Thomas wasn’t one of Harry’s inner circle, he appeared in most of the movies. Enoch told Entertainment Weekly in 2016 that he appreciated Dean’s grounding presence. He said, “I always felt Dean was quite funny, he’s like an ordinary guy.” Alfie’s other memorable performances include a little show called How to Get Away with Murder. Maybe you’ve heard of it?

30. Jamie Waylett – Vincent Crabbe

Jamie Waylett, otherwise known as Vincent Crabbe, was one of Malfoy’s goons for most of the movies. But a string of arrests and legal troubles cost Jamie his role in the Deathly Hallows part 2. Instead, Blaise Zibini (played by Louis Cordice) replaced him. It also seems to have spelled the end for Waylett’s career, at least thus far. He hasn’t acted since.

ADVERTISEMENT

29. Frank Dillane – Teen Tom Riddle

ADVERTISEMENT

If you’re a fan of Fear the Walking Dead, this may come as a surprise. Frank Dillane, who plays Nick, is actually teen Tom Riddle from The Half-Blood Prince. Both those characters are part of history now, but you can still get your modern Dillane fix in 2021’s The Girlfriend Experience.

28. Harry Melling – Dudley Dursley

Coincidentally, Harry Potter’s mean cousin Dudley was played by someone also called Harry. But did you know the actor dropped so much weight during filming that he nearly lost the role? Thanks to special effects, though, Melling continued to play Dudley and even found new roles he attributed to weight loss. He played Harry Beltik in 2020’s The Queen’s Gambit in case you didn’t recognize him.

ADVERTISEMENT

27. Miranda Richardson – Rita Skeeter

ADVERTISEMENT

Miranda Richardson appeared as the manipulative Rita Skeeter in two HP movies: The Goblet of Fire and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1. Following the end of the franchise, she told Behind the Lens that the Potter series is timeless. “I think it’s a great thing to be part of,” Richardson elaborated in 2011. “I think it’s something that’s gonna last even though special effects move on at pace.”

26. Hugh Mitchell – Colin Creevey

Remember little Colin Creevey who followed Harry around with a camera in The Chamber of Secrets? He’s all grown up! Since Colin’s untimely demise, his actor, Hugh Mitchell, was in the 2006 Da Vinci Code as young Silas. He’s also popped up in a ton of TV series and his life’s began to imitate art. You see, much like his HP counterpart, Hugh’s a keen photographer! You can check out his work on Instagram.

ADVERTISEMENT

25. Jamie Yeates – Marcus Flint

ADVERTISEMENT

You might recall Marcus Flint, the Slytherin Quidditch player with the prominent teeth, from Chamber of Secrets. Well his actor, Jamie Yeates, had to wear dentures to get that distinguishing look. His reputation took an ironic turn since those days, and he’s since gone the other way. According to radio website Heart, Jamie’s a model and a good-looking one at that.

24. Katie Leung – Cho Chang

Katie Leung AKA Cho Chang has branched out since playing Harry Potter’s romantic interest. Her roles have mostly been empowering to her Chinese descent, including a part in The Foreigner alongside Jackie Chan. “Just because they have been race specific doesn’t mean that I’m playing this one-dimensional character,” Katie informed Newsbeat in 2016.

ADVERTISEMENT

23. Clémence Poésy – Fleur Delacour

ADVERTISEMENT

Clémence Poésy only had a small part in the Potterverse as Fleur Delacour, but she certainly made an impression. The quarter-Veela captured hearts on-screen and must have captivated talent scouts, too. She’s now a successful actor on French television. Clémence fans can see her in TV series The Tunnel, Genius and in 2021’s En thérapie.

22. Maggie Smith – Professor McGonagall

Now we’ve seen Maggie Smith as Prof. McGonagall, it’s hard to imagine anyone else in the role. But Maggie felt like she wasn’t acting so much as just being herself. She told website Insider in 2019 that her part “wasn’t what you’d call satisfying.” Nevertheless, she graciously praised her opportunity, and said the part increased her bond with her five grandchildren. Aww.

ADVERTISEMENT

21. Shefali Chowdhury and Afshan Azad – Parvati and Padma Patil

ADVERTISEMENT

Harry Potter regulars Shefali Chowdhury and Afshan Azad played witchy twins Padma and Parvati Patil respectively. If you’re familiar with the fashion scene, you may know that Afshan is a model and influencer these days. As for Shefali, she’s had roles in a number of short films in recent years, including I Am the Doorway and Odilo Fabian, starring Downton Abbey’s Hugh Bonneville.

20. Bonnie Wright – Ginny Weasley

From a bit-part in the HP movies to (spoiler) Harry Potter’s wife, Ginny Weasley’s importance to the story grew. Likewise, Bonnie Wright hasn’t just done acting since HP. She’s done modeling, and she’s even been behind the camera as both a director and producer for short films.

ADVERTISEMENT

19. Domhnall Gleeson – Bill Weasley

ADVERTISEMENT

Harry Potter was something of a family affair for Bill Weasley’s actor Domhnall Gleeson. He starred alongside his father Brendan Gleeson who portrayed Mad-Eye Moody. Domhnall was no stranger to the big screen before his HP debut, but that’s what helped put him on the map. And he went on to play General Hux in Star Wars: Episode VIII ‒ The Last Jedi and The Rise of Skywalker.

18. Jason Isaacs – Lucius Malfoy

Before Harry Potter, Jason Isaacs already had a string of unforgettable roles under his belt. Playing the detestable Lucius Malfoy just added to the magic. And after his audition Jason got so into the HP books ‒ which he called “crack” ‒ that he read four of them consecutively. With that kind of passion, it’s no surprise he made such a convincing villain.

ADVERTISEMENT

17. Jessie Cave – Lavender Brown

ADVERTISEMENT

Harry’s fellow Gryffindor student Lavender Brown, played by Jessie Cave, featured in the last three Potter films. In addition to acting in various TV shows, Jessie is now a successful stand-up comedian. Coincidentally, she’s also voicing a character named Belinda Potter in an upcoming animation called The Potters. Funny old world, isn’t it?

16. Gary Oldman – Sirius Black

Oscar-winning Hollywood veteran Gary Oldman played Harry’s unforgettable (and tragically doomed) godfather, Sirius Black. Gary told Balitang America in 2016 how he felt about the role. “Being part of Harry Potter is a great thing,” he explained. “It’s a cinematic phenomena and no one will ever do anything quite like it again. Or come close to it.”

ADVERTISEMENT

15. Devon Murray – Seamus Finnigan

ADVERTISEMENT

Devon Murray portrayed Seamus Finnigan, the Irish wizard known for blowing up a lot. He’s only acted in one film since: an uncredited role in 2018’s Damo & Ivor The Movie. Nevertheless, Devon’s Instagram shows he’s currently enjoying life as an animal enthusiast and family man. “You have made me the happiest person in the world,” Devon wrote on Instagram in February 2021. Who was he referring to? His newborn son.

14. Robbie Coltrane – Rubeus Hagrid

Hagrid’s popularity reaches beyond the Potter books. Sci-Fi website The Portalist shortlists him as one of the most beloved fantasy characters, according to its 2019 feature. Robbie Coltrane portrayed the gentle half-giant perfectly on screen. In 2009 he told Watchginotv that he didn’t recognize himself after the makeup team had finished. Robbie’s reaction to seeing his reflection? “Good God, who’s that!”

ADVERTISEMENT

13. Pam Ferris – Aunt Marge

ADVERTISEMENT

Aunt Marge didn’t have the biggest role in the Potterverse, but it was memorable. She was the terrible aunt who insulted Harry until he turned her into a balloon. Since HP, actress Pam Ferris has kept busy with TV shows. For example, she played Sister Evangelina in Call the Midwife. She does have another link to fantasy, though – Pam portrayed Mrs. Faulkner in the 2019 Tolkien movie.

12. David Bradley – Argus Filch

Despite hating David Bradley’s character Argus Filch, we’re glad his cat Mrs. Norris wasn’t turned into a purrmanent statue. As for David himself, he’s been in a lot of things. He appeared in Captain America: The First Avenger, horror series The Strain and even played Walder Frey in Game of Thrones. David does voice acting too, so you might have heard his vocal talents and not even realized it.

ADVERTISEMENT

11. Imelda Staunton – Dolores Umbridge

ADVERTISEMENT

Few villains inspire hate as much as the one-time Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher, Dolores Ubridge. In fact, actress Imelda Staunton hates Umbridge just as much as Potter fans. “I think she’s a monster and to be played as such,” Imelda informed Entertainment Weekly in 2016. Additionally, she’s been cast ‒ thankfully free of garish pink outfits ‒ as Queen Elizabeth II in 2022’s The Crown.

10. Sean Biggerstaff – Oliver Wood

With a wand-based name, Sean Biggerstaff was destined to play the young Quidditch captain, Oliver Wood. Oliver was mostly a background character in the Sorcerer’s Stone and Chamber of Secrets. He also had a short cameo in the Deathly Hallows part 2. Since his Potter days, Sean’s been in a lot of TV shorts. His next big role, though, is in a mysterious upcoming thriller called Hector and Himself.

ADVERTISEMENT

9. Shirley Henderson – Moaning Myrtle

ADVERTISEMENT

You know Moaning Myrtle, the creepy 14-year-old ghost girl who hung around the Hogwarts restrooms? Well, she was actually played by Shirley Henderson who was 36 at the time she appeared in the Chamber of Secrets. No wonder she looked flushed! Shirley recently voiced Babu Frik in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. She played Saucy Nancy in 2020’s Worzel Gummidge TV series, too.

8. Ralph Fiennes – Voldemort

The evil Lord Voldemort didn’t just leave a lasting impression on fans. He also had an impact on established actor Ralph Fiennes. In 2019 he lightheartedly told BBC Newsnight that he wouldn’t want anyone else playing the role. “I feel a kind of affection for Voldemort,” Fiennes explained. “So if there was a world in which Voldemort came back, I would be very possessive about wanting to reprise that.”

ADVERTISEMENT

7. Ian Hart – Professor Quirrell

ADVERTISEMENT

Ian Hart got ahead of the game when he played Prof. Quirrell, the host body for Lord Voldemort. So what’s he doing when he doesn’t have the personification of evil attached to his skull? Well Ian’s starred in several British TV series. 2020’s acclaimed alternate history series Noughts + Crosses and crime drama Tin Star are among them. But Netflix’s Viking drama The Last Kingdom might be the most famous.

6. Michael Gambon – Albus Dumbledore

After the tragic death of Richard Harris, Sir. Michael Gambon stepped up to play Albus Dumbledore in his stead. In 2015 Future Movies asked Michael how he found easing back into the role as Hogwarts’ headmaster for Fantastic Beasts. He said, “Well, I don’t have to play anyone really. I just stick on a beard and play me, so it’s no great feat.”

ADVERTISEMENT

5. Natalia Tena – Nymphadora Tonks

ADVERTISEMENT

Natalia Tena has a talent for playing beloved characters. Her metamorphing witch alter ego Tonks is a firm fan favourite. Osha, her wildling character in Game of Thrones, was popular, too. Can she repeat the process in her mysterious 2021 series, Wolfe? Time will tell, but considering her acting abilities are akin to Tonks’ own chameleonic skills, we wouldn’t be surprised.

4. Evanna Lynch – Evanna Lynch

Many fans adored Evanna Lynch’s performance as the eccentric Luna Lovegood. This included youngsters with autism who felt a strong connection to the character. “I always get a lot of letters from people with autism who relate to Luna a lot,” Evanna told Insider in 2020. “Obviously, everyone’s very different and every case of autism is different. But I think that they see that Luna is somebody who doesn’t quite fit in.”

ADVERTISEMENT

3. Stanislav Yanevski – Viktor Krum

ADVERTISEMENT

Bulgarian actor Stanislav Yanevski, who HP fans may know better as Viktor Krum, changed. A lot. Probably because he really got into gym workouts. And Yanevski is still acting; he starred in horror movie Hostel II and 2011 British film Resistance. He’s also taken to producing some upcoming projects, though he occasionally still Instagrams Potter-related posts. What a dude.

2. Christian Coulson – Young Tom Riddle

This one might surprise you. Remember the child who played young Tom Riddle in the Chamber of Secrets? Well that was Christian Coulson, and here he is, all grown up! Since then, Coulson’s been getting regular work on TV series both in the United Kingdom and America. You may most recognise him, however, for playing music video director Damien George in Nashville.

ADVERTISEMENT

1. Matthew Lewis – Neville Longbottom

ADVERTISEMENT

Matthew Lewis stunned fans with a topless shoot for Attitude magazine. His transformation from unassuming teenager to muscular stud even inspired a phrase: Neville Longbottoming. “I never thought in my wildest dreams that one day I would have coined a phrase,” Matthew told HelloGiggles in 2018. Since his HP days, Matthew’s been a regular on British TV series, including Ripper Street and classic All Creatures Great and Small.

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT