The Harry Potter movies were one of the most anticipated releases between 2001 and 2011, bringing our favorite characters to the big screen and amassing $7.7 billion worldwide, combining the box office numbers of all eight movies.
With all the time it takes to produce each movie, it’s inevitable to see changes between the characters as the series ends.
We watched Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint grow up in the spotlight from barely tweens.
Other beloved actors dedicated a significant part of their careers to the series.
but how old were the cast of harry potter compared to their fictional counterparts?
hard to believe that the three main actors of harry potter will already be 30 years old in 2022!!
harry potter and the philosopher’s stone age
Once Warner Bros confirmed that they got the rights to film Harry Potter, production for the first movie happened between September 2000 and July 2001, led by Chris Columbus.
In Philosopher’s Stone, all students starting their first year at Hogwarts are between the ages of 11 and 12, set in 1991.
Daniel Radcliffe’s birthday is July 23, 1989, so he was 11/12 years old when he was cast as Harry Potter in Philosopher’s Stone. we meet harry potter when he is 10 years old and we are with him on his 11th birthday when he finds out he is a wizard.
rupert grint, born august 24, 1988, was 12/13 years old when he played ron weasley for the first time. Ron was 11/12 years old.
As her birthday was April 15, 1990, Emma Watson is the youngest of the golden trio at 10/11 years old during Philosopher’s Stone. hermione was 12/13 years old, which ironically made her the oldest of the three.
bonnie wright made her first single scene appearance alongside ron’s family when she was only 9/10. Ginny would have been 10/11 years old at the time, so she did not have a more prominent role in the film.
Mathew Lewis was born on June 27, 1989, making him 11/12 years old when he first acted as Neville Longbottom. neville was also 11/12 years old.
the oldest of the big seven is tom felton, who was 13/14 years old when he filmed his performance as draco malfoy, presented in the series as an 11/12 year old boy.
Starring in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone changed the lives of child actors and led to a decade of bonding with their characters, as we’ll continue to explore later in our list.
harry potter and the chamber of secrets
For the second installment in the series, production ran from November 2001 to July 2002.
chris columbus remained as director of the chamber of secrets, and with a budget of 125 million dollars it reached 878 million dollars at the box office.
here we get a better look at voldemort’s past and the strange incidents that occur within hogwarts.
As production moved quickly from the first film, the actors consistently stay close to the ages of the characters they play.
in 2002 daniel radcliffe was the same age as harry they were both 12 years old in most of the chamber of secrets movie as harry’s birthday is always one of the first things that happen in every installment of harry potter.
rupert grint is still a year older than his character. the actor was 13/14 years old during filming while his character was 12/13 years old.
Emma Watson remains a year younger than her character during the filming of Chamber of Secrets. Emma is 11/12 years old, while Hermione is already 13 at the beginning of the school year because her birthday is in September.
tom felton is two years apart from draco as he is 14/15 years old during production while his character is only 12/13 years old.
Since he belongs to Harry’s generation, Neville Longbottom is 12/13 years old for Chamber of Secrets. and like daniel, matthew lewis was also 12/13 years old during production.
ginny weasley takes on significant plot relevance in chamber of secrets. Bonnie Wright was a year younger than Ginny, as Bonnie was 10/11 years old during filming, while Ginny is supposed to be 11/12 years old.
An interesting fact about the cast of Harry Potter is that Myrtle, who is supposed to be the ghost of a 14-year-old girl, is played by a 37-year-old woman. She her name is Shirley Henderson, and she reprises her role in Goblet of Fire at age 40.
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
The third movie was filmed between February and October 2003, while the theatrical release was in May 2004.
So, as the actors aged consistently with their characters during filming, fans had to wait a little longer to enjoy the film.
this time, chris columbus resigned as director and worked as producer, with alfonso cuaron as his replacement.
The story is set in 1993 and most of the student characters are in their third year at Hogwarts.
daniel radcliffe was already 13 years old when filming began on prisoner of azkaban, so he is the same age as harry potter, who is supposed to be 13/14 years old in 1993, when the film takes place.
rupert turned 15 while filming prisoner of azkaban, which makes him more than a year older than ron, who is only 13/14 in the film.
Emma is two years younger than Hermione during the filming of Prisoner of Azkaban. Hermione turns 14 before the start of the school year, on September 19, while Emma Watson was only 12/13 years old during filming.
tom felton is still the oldest of the main cast and turned 16 while filming his scenes. on the contrary, draco is only supposed to be 13/14 years old in this movie.
matthew lewis turned 14 in 2003, which means he was the same age as neville longbottom, who is 13 and 14 during the events portrayed.
bonnie wright turned 12 during the production of prisoner of azkaban, while her character ginny is 12/13 years old during the events of the film.
This version also stars new dumbledore actor sir michael gambon, who replaced sir richard harris after his death in 2002. other beloved characters like sirius black, played by gary oldman, make their first appearance in this movie.
harry potter and the goblet of fire
Filming on the fourth movie began in June 2004 and finished in March 2005, ready for a November 2005 release. It was directed by Mike Newell, making him the first British director for the series.
With an estimated budget of $150 million, it ended up grossing almost $900 million at the box office worldwide.
we get to see harry deal with the triwizard tournament, where we get robert pattinson’s memorable performance as cedric diggory.
The age differences begin to be a little more noticeable between characters and actors.
Daniel Radcliffe turns 16 while filming Goblet of Fire, making him two years older than his fictional counterpart, who is 14/15 years old. but daniel is not yet old enough to legally participate in the triwizard tournament.
rupert came closest to becoming a legal wizard when he turned 17 during filming. In contrast to his character, he is already 3 years older than Ron, who is 14/15 years old.
Emma Watson, 14/15, is still a bit behind Hermione, who turns 15 at the start of the school year portrayed in Goblet of Fire.
tom felton was already a legal adult at 18/19 during filming when draco malfoy should have been 14/15 for goblet of fire.
matthew lewis was 15/16 years old in 2005, making him barely a year older than neville in the scenes he portrays, who is assumed to be 14/15 years old.
bonnie wright catches up with her character ginny as she is 13/14 years old during filming.
in this movie, we also get to see ralph fiennes as voldemort for the first time. she would continue to reprise the role of her for the rest of the series.
harry potter and the order of the phoenix
The fifth movie in the Harry Potter cinematic universe was filmed between February and December 2006 and released in July 2007, the same time as the release of the seventh and final book.
this time, the director switches to david yates, who would direct the rest of the films until 2011. he managed to gross $942,172,396 worldwide during his entire theatrical run.
Harry’s fifth year at Hogwarts, just after Voldemort’s return, sets the darker tone for the golden trio’s fifth year at Hogwarts.
We also saw the introduction of characters like Luna Lovegood by Evanna Lynch, who even helped create some fashion accessories for her role.
daniel radcliffe was 17 when the order of the phoenix production began filming scenes and turned 18 during filming. Therefore, she is now a few years older than Harry, who is supposed to be 15/16 during the events of the movie.
in the fifth movie, ron weasley is 15/16 years old, but rupert grint is already 18/19 years old during the fifth movie.
hermione granger is older than the rest of the students and turns 16 a few weeks before the start of the school year. emma watson is one of the youngest actresses and she was also 16/17 years old while filming.
tom felton is the first actor of the big seven to turn 20, unlike his character, who is still 15/16 years old.
matthew lewis was 17/18 years old while shooting his scenes for this movie, which makes him a year older than neville, who is 15/16 years old.
evanna lynch was cast as luna lovegood and filmed her scenes when she was 15/16 years old, making her a year older than her character luna, who is 14/15 years old.
bonnie was 15/16 years old during the production of order of the phoenix and is a year older than ginny, who is 14/15 years old.
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
The sixth movie in the Harry Potter saga started filming in September 2007 for a 2009 release, and David Yates reprises his role as the director.
almost doubled its Order of the Phoenix budget to $250 million, grossing $934 million worldwide.
Harry finds a mysterious book of potions from the self-proclaimed Half-Blood Prince in this release. She continues his training with Dumbledore to find out more about Voldemort and how to defeat him.
The long production times required for these darker, more complex films mean that the age gap between the actors and the characters they play begins to widen considerably for older actors like rupert grint and tom felton.
daniel radcliffe was 18/19 years old while filming Half-Blood Prince, while his character is 16 years old for most of the film.
rupert grint was already 19/20 years old while filming the movie, while his character should also be only 16/17 years old.
hermione granger is 17 years old in half blood prince, and emma watson was also 17/18 years old.
tom felton was already 20/21 years old to be a half blood prince when draco malfoy is only 16/17. that made him 4 years older than the fictional character.
Bonnie Wright and Evanna Lynch both turned 17 during the filming of Half-Blood Prince, while their characters were still supposed to be 15/16 years old.
While it’s not uncommon in the film industry for older actors to play younger characters, the difference is barely noticeable on screen.
harry potter and the deathly hallows (part 1)
The much-anticipated ending for the saga was initially thought of as a single movie. However, the production split Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows into two parts.
The films were shot simultaneously between February 2009 and June 2010.
part one was released in november 2010 and covered the last book up to chapter 24, when voldemort retrieves the elder wand.
Although many fans criticized the decision, almost all the actors supported splitting the film into two parts to correctly present the final arc without speeding up the pace or leaving out essential scenes.
daniel radcliffe was 20/21 years old when he was filming his scenes for deathly hallows. In contrast, Harry became an adult in the wizarding world at just 17 years old, near the beginning of the film.
rupert grint was 21/22 years old while shooting his scenes for this movie, which makes him 4 years older than ron, who is 17/18 years old.
Emma Watson is only a year older than Hermione right now. emma is 19/20 years old, while hermione is 18/19 years old.
draco was supposed to be 17/18 for the first part of the final book, but tom felton was already 22/23 when he was filming his scenes.
neville longbottom is also 17/18 for the deathly hallows book, while matthew lewis is 20/21 when filming. That makes him three years older than his fictional counterpart!
For Deathly Hallows, Evanna Lynch and Bonnie Wright are some of the few actors under the age of 20. they are 18/19 years old and play characters who are 16/17 years old.
harry potter and the deathly hallows (part 2)
Finally, the eighth release wrapping up the Harry Potter saga was released in July 2011.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 earned $1.342 million in box office receipts and was nominated for Best Makeup, Visual Effects and Art Direction at the Oscars.
According to various interviews, the last day of filming was to film Daniel, Rupert, and Emma during the aftermath of the Battle of Hogwarts.
Since the filming of the two Deathly Hallows films occurred simultaneously, the actors were the same age when they filmed both parts.
fun fact, j.k. Rowling dubbed these seven actors the Big Seven, given their pivotal role during the finale.
daniel radcliffe was 21 when the final film was released, though he turned 22 just a week later. In the film, before the final chapter, Harry is a little shy of his 18th birthday during the final events.
rupert grint was 22 years old when the last installment of the films was released and also turned 23 shortly after the release. Ron was 18 years old at the end of the movie.
emma watson turned 21 in april 2011, ahead of the film’s release in july. her character was 18 years old for most of the final film.
tom felton was 23 years old when deathly hallows part ii was released, as he had not yet had his birthday. However, he was 15 years older than Draco Malfoy, who is 18 during the final events of the film.
Since the film was released in July 2011, Evanna Lynch was still 19 years old when the film was released, while Bonnie Wright had already turned 20. Both characters were 16/17 years old during the events portrayed in the film.
matthew lewis was already 22 years old at the premiere of the last film, but his character was due to turn 18 on the same day as harry.
fun fact, only fourteen actors appear in all eight films:
- daniel radcliffe (harry potter)
- rupert grint (ronald weasley)
- emma watson (hermione granger)
- tom felton (draco malfoy ) )
- matthew lewis (neville longbottom)
- bonnie wright (ginny weasley)
- james phelps (fred weasley)
- oliver phelps (george weasley)
- robbie coltrane (rubeus hagrid)
- alan rickman (severus snape)
- warwick davis (filius flitwick / griphook the goblin)
- devon murray (seamus finnigan)
- josh herdman (gregory goyle)
- geraldine somerville (lily potter)