Wright is best known for playing Ginny Weasley in the Harry Potter film seriesThe Cambridge Union

I was very excited for this interview. Bonnie Wright played one of my favourite characters in Harry Potter. The Weasley family are one of the bravest and most respected wizarding families. They are the Quidditch players, the Ministry workers and the owners of Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes, all united by their ginger glory. But it can undoubtedly be difficult to stand out in the Weasley family, as they all share the same shade of ginger. Even Molly Weasley needs a Weasley Clock to monitor each of their whereabouts and often confuses George for Fred.

But Ginny, the youngest Weasley child stands out effortlessly. For Harry Potter fans, Wright will always be Ginny: the brave, strong-willed and talented Quidditch player who won the heart of Harry Potter, but sitting before me is Wright, a diligent young director.

Having spent a decade while filming the Harry Potter franchise in front of the camera, Wright has decided to take a step back behind the lens and pursue more directing. “The reason why I love the film industry as a medium is because it’s incredibly collaborative. I definitely work best when collaborating with other people.” One of Wright’s directorial projects last year was Medusa’s Ankles, a short film based on Medusa’s Ankles by A.S. Byatt. It stars Jason Isaacs, who played Lucius Malfoy in Harry Potter, as the hairdresser with whom Susannah, played by Kerry Fox, has a quarrelsome relationship.

“As a director you have to have a quite lateral way of thinking. It’s almost like you’re conducting an orchestra”

“I think as a director you have to have a quite lateral way of thinking. You have to sort of think about all the different departments. It’s almost like you’re conducting an orchestra. You need everything to come in at the right time and for each person that is the head of a department to feel like they’re being heard and listened to. And I think it’s always striking that fine balance as well between listening to the fellow people you’re making the film with and hearing what their input is and then also knowing when you have to sort of make the bold decision.”

The Harry Potter franchise spanned eight films, with a total of four directors. Each brought their own directorial style to the Wizarding universe. The first two films, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone and The Chamber of Secrets, were directed by Chris Columbus. Columbus encapsulates the excitement of children exploring the magical world. Having directed family movies such as Home Alone (1990) and Mrs. Doubtfire (1993), his ability to capture the innocence of children made him a fitting choice to introduce the franchise. Alfonso Cuarón directed Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, where there is notable darkening, both thematically and aesthetically. Mike Newell directs Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire and there is a stark difference from Columbus’ approach as themes of maturity are explored. David Yates directed the last four films. Yates’ style of work includes social and political themes, which is fitting as the last Harry Potters are political, though not with a capital P, as they explore the thematic issues of the abuse of power and insurgence.

I ask whether Wright was inspired by any of their directing styles. “Before I went to film school a lot of the techniques I learnt, and just really understanding the methods of storytelling and the craftsmanship behind storytelling, was definitely from my experience in Harry Potter. [It] made me very much respect the meticulous detail that go into all elements of filmmaking.

“I think it definitely set a bar for me in terms of the amount of detail that I wanted in the films that I then went on to make.”

Ginny’s character development was the most transformative out of all the characters in the series. At aged 11, she is left awestruck in the presence of The Boy Who Lived and is commonly referred to as ‘Ron’s little sister.’ By the time she is 15, her fierceness is evident. She is an important member of Dumbledore’s Army and a talented Chaser for Gryffindor’s Quidditch team. Having spent a decade playing Ginny, Wright says that she has “spent so long with her that [she] feels like at times the lines were pretty blurred.”

“She was very much a tomboy and I was too. She likes Quidditch; I was right into sports. She’s quietly brave rather than super outspoken and chatty, and that’s something I always admired in her character.”

Harry Potter has resonated with an entire generation and continues to inspire children and adults alike as they return to the books and films. “I think the beauty of Harry Potter is it exists in a parallel magical world. I think it can transcend time in the sense that it isn’t of a certain time: it’s not outdated.

“I think J.K. Rowling’s mind is so richly layered, the world that she created at Hogwarts and the whole magical world just had so many avenues. It’s so steeped in her interest in astrology, mythology and herbology. I think that really has made it last. It’s not just another story with one layer, there’s just so much depth to the world.”

Instead of using her social media platforms as a space to simply post aesthetically-pleasing photographs, Wright recognises the need to reject the polished sphere of our media and instead use it as a political space in which to have crucial discussions. Recognising it as an “interesting space to navigate,” she continues: “I think we’ve got a lot of choices as to how we want to use social media.”

“I think the beauty of Harry Potter is that it exists in a parallel magical world”

This choice relates to us all “in a personal sense”, but for Wright, “knowing I sit in a position where people are kind of listening, I think you have the choice to sort of openly share your opinions and have an opinion.”

“I think there’s been a long time of people sitting on the fence of things.”

Indeed, Wright’s comments are symptomatic of a time where social media is transforming the way in which we engage with politics. Social media platforms can now be used as tools to mobilise and inform users. “I’m constantly inspired by the generation much younger than me, that has had social media their entirety of their life. I feel like I’m straddling that generation of not having had it when I was younger.

“I think it can be incredibly beneficial. I think it can connect you to people that you never would kind of hear and understand. And I think it can help with just transcending language and space.

Alongside her directorial work, Wright has been actively involved in environmental activism, which she shares via social media. “I’ve been so amazed and excited by people’s response to those issues,” she comments.

I have one final question. What project are you currently working on?


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“I’m actually working on what will be my first feature film. I’m hoping hopefully shooting at the end of this year.” Wright’s debut feature film will marry her creative and environmental work as “the first film of mine that will bring in my interest in the environment.

“So, it’s kind of pulling it together, which is cool - to be able to sort of bring that experience in and to use narrative storytelling to tell that story. Often it is led through a documentary, but it’s nice to be able to tell it through an actual fictional story.”

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