Kelly Macdonald Talks Playing Helena Ravenclaw and “Goodbye Christopher Robin”

Harry Potter fans know Kelly Macdonald as Helena Ravenclaw or the Gray Lady, the ghost of Ravenclaw Tower. Now, with her latest film, Goodbye Christopher Robin, just released, she spoke to the Los Angeles Times about her various roles over the course of her rising career.

Macdonald’s first film role was in Trainspotting at the age of 19, which she remembers made her very nervous. Her fellow actors all seemed “so intimidating and charismatic and young and cool,” so she had a habit of hiding in the bathrooms! She has since had roles in projects such as Gosford Park, No Country for Old Men, Brave, and Boardwalk Empire, generally preferring period pieces to contemporary work.


Kelly Macdonald and Will Tilston in “Goodbye Christopher Robin”


In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2, Macdonald appears as the Gray Lady when Harry questions her about the diadem Horcrux during the Battle of Hogwarts. Apparently, for the filming of her side of the scene, she had only a cardboard version of Harry to work with!

I flew over to be there for Daniel Radcliffe’s side of the filming, but I felt really daft because I was playing a ghost, but I wasn’t really in a ghost costume. I was having to be spooky around him while he was in costume.

And then when it came to shooting my end of things it was all after they’d finished the film, so I was on my own. But they did, very sweetly, make a cardboard cutout of Daniel Radcliffe for me to work with.

Now Macdonald is appearing in Goodbye Christopher Robin alongside another Harry Potter alumnus, Domhnall Gleeson (Bill Weasley), who stars as author A.A. Milne in the story about the creation of Winnie-the-Pooh. Macdonald plays Christopher Robin’s nanny, Olive.

It was a just lovely project to be involved in. The character is a kind and good person, so that’s nice to play a good guy. With Simon [Curtis] at the helm and the actors involved and the writing – sometimes you have to pinch yourself with these jobs that come along.

Watch the trailer for Goodbye Christopher Robin below:


Catherine Lai

I have been a fan of Harry since 2000, a fan of MuggleNet since 2005, and a MuggleNet team member since 2013. I believe in the power of stories to bring people together, and nothing does that quite like Harry Potter. I live in Toronto, Canada.