“Hermione is not so vulnerable anymore”


Before the premiere of “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child”, Harry and Hermione reveal what they do as wizards on stage.

“I’ve never had to wait that long for a premiere”: “Harry Potter” actor Markus Schöttl talks about the “shock” he experienced at the beginning of 2020 in an interview with the news agency spot on news. In March, the play “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” should be in the Mehr! Theater am Großmarkt in Hamburg celebrating its German premiere. The corona pandemic got in the way. On December 5th, the time has come for the play to premiere.

Schöttl, who bridged the time with voluntary work in his home country Austria, embodies a now grown-up Harry Potter in the play. Now he’s happy to be back on stage. Together with the Berlin actress Jillian Anthony, who plays Hermione Granger, he reveals what the audience can look forward to.

What is it like for you to slip into the cult roles that have accompanied millions of fans since childhood? Do you feel any special pressure?

Markus Schöttl: To embody such a big role, a cult role that has almost iconic traits, is definitely something special. In fact, I don’t feel any pressure at all. I was selected very carefully in an application process that took a long time. The whole process took almost half a year and three rounds. I noticed relatively quickly after the rehearsals started how much access I had to the character as it is written today.

The fact that 20 years have passed doesn’t necessarily put the pressure on me to conform to any ideal, like Daniel Radcliffe for example. Because we change when we age and gain new experiences and insights. I consider it a great gift that I can portray him now. I find it really exciting that I am able to present this grown-up Harry to the fans and to bring his inner troubles, his thoughts and his points of view closer to the audience through my presentation.

Jillian Anthony: I think it’s wonderful. I am very honored. I am happy to be the one who slips into this role of Hermione Granger and I am happy and hope to inspire the audience.

The two characters are very closely related to actors Daniel Radcliffe and Emma Watson through the great success of the films. What does that mean for you?

Schöttl: Daniel Radcliffe mainly portrayed the young and adolescent Harry. My job now is to play the most believable adult Harry possible. Because I’m 43 myself, actually exactly the age Harry is in the play, I think that I have a very good level of experience. They had their time, if you will, and now we have ours. At least that’s how I try to see it.

Anthony: The nice thing is that I could see the characters, especially Hermione, growing up. In the seven parts she has grown very dear to my heart. And now, 19 years later, to play the piece on stage yourself is a great honor and a great pleasure. I don’t even want to compare with others. This is what is happening right now. And I see myself as that role and as Hermione Granger.

When did you personally come into contact with the “Harry Potter” books and films for the first time?

Schöttl: I started reading the books when it was clear that I would play the role. At the time the books came out, I was just about to start my acting studies in Vienna. And then I just had completely different reading material on my bedside table. I already knew some of the films, but I never really watched them consciously. I did that in preparation and research for the piece and the role. Meanwhile I know my way around the “Harry Potter” cosmos.

Anthony: I haven’t seen all of the films before. I hadn’t read the books. At the auditions, the invitation to the casting, I then dealt intensively with it and went through everything, processed and read everything.

What is the biggest difference between Hermione and Harry from the seven books and eight films – and the characters 19 years later in “The Cursed Child”?

Schöttl: The biggest difference is that they are adults and have children of their own. What happened to them as children and adolescents comes across to them in a certain way in the play. Sometimes things from the past are called into consciousness from the subconscious. It’s like in reality: When we go through the process of going from children to adults and then bringing children into the world ourselves and seeing the next generation grow up, we ask ourselves questions. How do we want to raise them? What values ​​do we want to pass on to them? How was my childhood and youth? What are the values ​​that were important to me? Which people were mentors or enemy images?

In terms of age, they are now at the point where they take stock of their lives for the first time. Both have held relatively successful positions in the administration of the wizarding world. Hermione Granger is the secretary of sorcery and Harry heads law enforcement. At the same time there is private life. It is common knowledge that success at work does not necessarily mean happiness in life in private. It’s about finding this balance, finding your way into these roles, being a good father and still pursuing your job. And also to ask yourself: What do I want to pass on to this child? What else do I have to work through before I can give advice?

Anthony: Hermione has become a grown woman. Hermione is a lot more confident. She is not so easily intimidated anymore. She is no longer so sensitive and vulnerable. She is still the smart woman who has her fighter heart in the right place. But she has made an incredibly great development.

There is a lot of magic in the play, there are illusions. How much is the magician in you in demand on stage?

Schöttl: Theater always enchants the audience in a certain way – even if the plays are not set in a magical world. He forgets where he is. He dives into the cosmos of history. He identifies with the characters. That’s something magical. In this respect, I am not entirely unfamiliar with creating an illusion, theater always does that.

When it comes to the technical skill to perform a magic trick, we are of course all very challenged, sometimes very much thrown back on ourselves. Because it’s actually about manual dexterity and about learning certain movements, but also very deliberate deception maneuvers, just like magic works. There are some illusions that happen with great technical effort. It is also important that safety is paramount, that everyone knows exactly what they are doing at all times so that there are no accidents and injuries. So I am certainly very challenged as a magician with my magic skills.

Anthony: I have my wonderful wand, which I have to pull out a few times and every viewer who watches the performance can now form their own wonderful picture of the magical moments on stage.

Do viewers need to know the seven books of the original story in order to fully enjoy the piece?

Schöttl: You can really enjoy yourself if you know the books. Then you understand the little hints, the built-in little bon mots and the jokes. This is something that the attentive reader and “Harry Potter” connoisseur will understand more than someone who has not yet been able to process and digest the topic for himself. In fact, the piece offers enough help and also takes into account that we also have viewers with us who don’t know what a Patronus or a time-turner is. All of this is always briefly touched upon in order to provide enough food for those who have not read the books, have not seen the films.

Ultimately, however, I find it a great motivation to watch the films again or to try my hand at the first book. I can only say from my side: These books are absolutely addicting. It is a pleasure to read. It’s quick because they are written very well and cleverly. Aside from whether you watch the piece or not, they are an incredible asset.

Anthony: The piece stands on its own. It’s a stand-alone play. Of course there is something for every fan. He will find a lot of recognizable features, but still you don’t have to read it yourself or have seen the films. It’s so spectacular and wonderful entertainment and good staging too. The story is told, sometimes there are reviews, it is explained what it is about. Anyone can and should come by.

That’s what the piece is about

“Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” had its world premiere in 2016 in London, and the play has enjoyed great success since then. Other venues were added, including New York and Melbourne. The two-part play by JK Rowling and Jack Thorne is directed by John Tiffany. In Germany it will now be shown for the first time as a non-English language production.

“The Cursed Child” takes place 19 years after the end of “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows”. Harry lives with his wife Ginny and they have three children. Harry works in the Ministry of Magic – and has his problems especially with his son Albus Severus, who is just coming to Hogwarts. Albus and his new friend Scorpius Malfoy are messing up the magical world – and bringing back dark forces too.



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