From the shy little girl briefly glimpsed in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone to the daring witch in Deathly Hallows Part Two, watching the character of Ginny Weasley grow up over the course of 10 years and eight films was truly amazing. Actress Bonnie Wright began her “Harry Potter” career as a 10-year-old. Now 28, she has a growing film career, both in front of and behind the camera. Here are eight things you didn’t know about Bonnie Wright, before, during, and after becoming Harry Potter’s one true love.
She owes her lucky break to her brother
Born in London, Bonnie was the second child and only girl in her family. And like Ron watching out for Ginny, her older brother was the one who suggested she audition for the part.
“He’d already become a fan of the books and obviously he saw me as his younger sister, his Ginny,” she told the audience at Dallas Fan Days in 2015. “And we heard they were doing these auditions and they were going to make these books into films. He was like, ‘Oh, you should go and audition for the role of Ginny.'”
She was only nine when she got the nod for the role, and though the first film’s part was very small, she made a big impression.
Her Harry Potter experience inspired her to get a film degree
Bonnie’s role expanded over the course of the films. Though her first appearance was short, she became a major player as Ginny’s relationship with Harry developed.
But even when she didn’t have the most screentime, she used her time on set as a learning experience. “I constantly asked the crew ‘What does that button do?’ or ‘Why did you paint the sky green?'” Bonnie explains on the website for her production company BonBonLumière. “I’m now so thankful I did — it was the beginning of my education and my passion.”
She even spent quiet moments on the set imagining how she would direct the scenes differently “or pre-empt maybe what a director was going to say,” she told The Tab in 2019. It was clear Bonnie was headed for a career in directing.
By the time the final two films were rolling, she began studying at the University of Arts London College of Communication. She graduated in 2012 with a bachelor’s degree in Film and Television Production Management.
She’s moved beyond Ginny Weasley
Harry Potter fans can be, well, intense. The love shown both Ginny Weasley and the actress behind her was very strong, first as the only Weasley girl and then later as the Chosen One’s chosen one. Even though her character was one of author J.K. Rowling’s “big seven” (those being Harry, Hermione, Ron, Ginny, Draco, Luna, and Neville), she also had the benefit of being mostly in the background until her true role was revealed, taking everyone by (pleasant) surprise. She still appears at conventions from time to time, but for the most part, when it was over, she left Ginny behind.
“It was one of those things that even when we finished it felt quite surreal. Because there were always gaps between the productions so it always like when we finished it was just another gap,” she told The Cambridge Tab in 2019. “So then when we really did never go back, it was a strange sort of reality that it was over.”
She’s not looking for mega stardom
Unlike the three main child actors in the series, Bonnie Wright had enough distance from her character to be able to move past forever being Ginny Weasley. With her film degree and her decade in the industry, she was able to segue into short film production and commercial acting. She is a director, producer, and screenwriter. She is not letting the grass grow beneath her feet!
She is far more interested in the art and the craft of screen production than in being a big name. She saw how post-Potter fame has treated Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint quite differently and is glad that she was not the main focus of the series.
“I feel very lucky and pleased that when we were filming Harry Potter, social media didn’t really exist,” she told The Telegraph in 2016. “That was an incredibly lucky thing. I wasn’t a nine-year-old with a Twitter account. I’m thankful.”
She directed several of her ‘Harry Potter’ co-stars in short films
Believe it or not, Bonnie formed her production company BonBonLumière way back in 2012 when she was just 21 years old. Her first short film, which she wrote and directed, premiered that year at the Cannes Film Festival. Called Separate We Come, Separate We Go, it featured her Harry Potter co-star David Thewlis (Professor Lupin) as a widower who befriends a young girl.
Since then she has directed several more short films and music videos. Bonnie has had great luck casting some of her old Harry Potter castmates in her short films. In addition to Thewlis, she’s directed Christian Coulson (Tom Riddle) in 2014’s Know Thyself, and Jason Isaacs (Lucius Malfoy) in 2018’s Medusa’s Ankles.
She spends much less time in front of the camera than she does behind it, but that hasn’t stopped her from taking the occasional acting role, such as A Christmas Carol (2018).
She moved to Los Angeles for an unusual reason
It seems like the ultimate cliché, moving to Hollywood to become part of the film industry. But Bonnie did it backwards. She already had her film credentials and studies before she left for sunny California in 2016. Why did she relocate then?
“I don’t think I chose to make the move for career purposes—in reality, I think I just wanted more space. I very purposefully chose to live somewhere completely different than where I grew up,” she told Into The Gloss in 2017. And so far she had been happy with the result. “I think I get more done here.”
She’s committed to social causes
Away from the camera, Bonnie has other passions. She is devoted to environmental causes like reducing plastic in the oceans. In 2017, she spent time as a volunteer deckhand on a Greenpeace vessel, the Arctic Sunrise, to trawl for plastic and raise awareness.
She also started a swimsuit line in 2019 with Fair Harbor to raise money for the ocean charity Heal the Bay. But these are not just any swimsuits — these are made from recycled plastic!
She has also worked with OxFam and was an ambassador for the Global Poverty Project. She spent a week living on just £1 a day to bring attention to urban poverty issues. She is also a part of FilmAid, a global refugee project. Needless to say, Bonnie has used her fame to support important issues!
She’s about to make her feature film directing debut
Bonnie’s film production experience is about to pay off as she embarks on her first full-length movie in the director’s chair! And she’s combining her two passions, environmentalism and filmmaking, for her first feature, a thriller monster movie.
“The monster is essentially representative of pollution and I guess like all monster movies, in the end it’s about the fact that the humans are really the monsters,” she told The Tab. And she recently revealed to Luna Lovegood herself, actress Evanna Lynch, on Lynch’s podcast ChickPeeps, that the working title of the film is Unearthed.
One thing is for sure, even though Bonnie is making a monster movie, it’s sure to have emotional depth.
“Now as a director, I want to make films which make the most fleeting moments and intimately felt emotions universal rather than lonely,” Bonnie writes on BonBonLumière. “I want to reveal emotions and beliefs which lie obscured by the barriers we put up, from fear of being judged or abandoned.”