Chris Rankin Discusses “Potter” Memories and Life After the Franchise
As Harry Potter fans celebrate the 20th anniversary of the franchise and look forward to the long-awaited reunion in which its stars will reunite in celebration of 20 years since Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone was released, Chris Rankin (Percy Weasley) has reflected on his life-changing role within the film series.
Rankin was just 16 years old when he sent a letter to the BBC’s Newsround asking for an audition to play Ron’s older brother Percy.
The first movie was filmed when he was 16, and he had just turned 18 when it was released in theaters, before going on to play the role for 11 years. In the last 20 years, “literally everything” he has done “has been, in some way, linked to Harry Potter.”
I don’t think it’s unreasonable to say Potter changed, shaped, my life – it’s crazy. If you’d have asked me 20 years ago if I thought I’d still be talking about Harry Potter on a daily basis, I think I would have laughed in your face.
I’m literally sharing my memories of that first film, the first time we were on set together, to crowds of people all around the place – I’m very lucky.
Rankin recalled his first day of filming, which took place at a railway station in North Yorkshire, England, doing the Hogwarts Express scene at Hogsmeade station.
I remember being on that train with a tiny little Dan [Radcliffe], a tiny little Rupert [Grint], and a very tiny little Emma [Watson] and all of us going ‘this is really weird. We’re all dressed up as wizards and this is happening’.
You’d go into the Great Hall [at Hogwarts] and be surrounded by some [of] the greatest film acting talent in the world – Alan Rickman, Dame Maggie Smith, [Sir] Michael Gambon, [Dame] Julie Walters – they are incredibly fun, incredibly fond memories.
Since the franchise ended, Rankin has starred in panto all over the United Kingdom, discussed Potter on the global convention circuit, and worked in TV production, including on Downton Abbey, which stars fellow Potter actors Dame Maggie Smith (Professor McGonagall) and Imelda Staunton (Dolores Umbridge).
Now 38, Rankin is currently touring across Europe with a full orchestra presenting The Magical Music of Harry Potter, and he runs Brecon Little Theatre, which is “a community arts charity in mid-Wales [and] an ally to the LGBTQ+ community.”
Discussing what the magic of Harry Potter really is, Rankin believes the franchise is “as big now as it ever has been” and that it will remain this way.
There’s something in it for everybody, I think people pick up on that message of love and acceptance, which is what I got out of it.
He described Hogwarts as “a welcoming place any [sic] for anybody,” and fans have expressed its appeal with him.
I speak to a lot of fans [who] say ‘Hogwarts is somewhere that I felt safe. I’d be OK; I can get away from the troubles or worries in the real world’ and for me, that is so important, and it’s a huge privilege to be let into that.
As Rankin discussed, the deep-rooted message in the Potter series is that love conquers all, and he thinks that the morality and simplicity within the franchise means that it can be enjoyed on many different levels and everyone will somehow find a connection to it.
That’s why it’s still around, and that’s why it’s still magical.
We’ve got to agree with Rankin on that one. We love hearing about how the Potter actors view the franchise two decades after the first film was released, and we can’t wait to discover even more magical memories from the rest of the cast who are taking part in the 20th-anniversary special.