We checked in with a variety of musicians and actors (some from the films, some not) to see what they thought about the boy wizard and how he's impacted their lives. We thought we might get laughed at — after all, a lot of these folks were walking the red carpet at the VMAs and probably had something far more glamorous to attend to. But mention Harry Potter, and some people just light up.
Here are a few of them:
Keira Knightley: "I've read all the books. I haven't seen the films, except the first one. What's the alley where they get the wands from? [Diagon Alley.] That's an amazing image. Harry, he's pretty cool. He's got a good scar."
Jeremy Davis (Paramore): "Hell, yeah, I love 'Harry Potter'! I feel like 'Harry Potter,' the books and the movies, went above and beyond any other series. It would be a tough series to compete with. I would hate to try to compete against it."
Kellan Lutz ("Twilight"): "I love 'Harry Potter.' I actually wanted 'Harry Potter' as competition for 'Twilight,' because you'd be seeing the wizard side of fantasy and then jumping into the vampire life. Everyone I talk to is so obsessed with it. I always wished I had powers. I always wished I had a stick and a broom! It's a great story. It's so well-written. I think 'Harry Potter' hit everything. It set the precedent, that peak of Mount Everest, and we all want to climb that mountain. I just wish there were as many books to make movies of in 'Twilight' as there are in 'Harry Potter.' "
Robert Pattinson (Cedric in "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire," Edward in "Twilight"): "Does it make me a traitor? 'Harry Potter' was what made me become an actor. I credit 'Harry Potter' with everything else that's come since for me. I didn't know what I was doing before that. I hadn't read the books before doing the movie, so at first I read it just as an acting exercise. But I really enjoyed it! But I think Edward would kick Cedric's ass, to be honest."
Lupe Fiasco: "I'm a spectator of the entire phenomenon, you know what I'm saying? The entire phenomenon inspires me. I love Harry Potter [he points to his own specs] because of the glasses."
Kaycee Stroh ("High School Musical"): "The character I relate to the most is Hermione, because she's a bit of a spitfire and she always saves the day. I step into her shoes when necessary. I love her and relate to her. I think the series has a wonderful message about how every kid has that struggle of not fitting in, and it's very inspiring to realize through the hero of the story that that's not all that matters. The reason I love it is because it teaches us to use our imagination and our hearts. We're never too old to have fun."
Paul Wall: "The first two movies were a little too childish, but as Harry grew up, as he's growing up, he's getting a little more gangsta. It's getting a little more intense and action-packed, so I like it even more now. I don't have a favorite character, and if I did have a favorite, my wife and my sister [who are even bigger fans] would roast me for that."
Jonathan Davis (Korn): "I just like the whole 'Harry Potter' vibe — about a kid becoming a magician, going to wizarding school. I think the movies and the books, everything I've seen, is really cool. I definitely like Harry, because he's the underdog. He's always getting picked on. He's always down and out, but he just comes back, and I think that's cool. And it's pissed off a bunch of Christian people, and that made it even better for me."
Ralph Fiennes (Voldemort in the "Harry Potter" films): "I think the great thing about 'Harry Potter' is that J.K. Rowling has created a myth for our time. I know it sounds cliché, but to keep reinventing the dynamic between good and evil in an accessible and dramatic way is fantastic. I think the high-octane drama of those movies is great for keeping filmmaking alive. There's an energy and an inventiveness and an originality to what she's done."
Shirley Manson: "I have two connections with 'Harry Potter.' One is that J.K. Rowling came from my city, Edinburgh. But more importantly, my dog, my rescue dog, is named after a character, a kind of being, in 'Harry Potter': Veela."
Marcia Gay Harden: "[My 10-year-old daughter] Eulala has read all seven books, and this past year, she asked me to read them with her, because her whole world is 'Harry Potter.' For her birthday, she wants a wand, a crystal ball, a potion-making kit, that's all she wants — not any 'Hannah Montana.' So I read it, and it's brilliant. Each chapter, J.K. Rowling leaves a breadcrumb, and you have to read on. You can't stop! It's affected our lives on so many levels, from reading together to playtime — a lot of playtime is about 'Harry Potter' — to other books and wondering if the writing will be as good or the imagery as great. Rowling says, 'Jump on and go on this ride,' and it's fantastic. I would have loved to be Professor McGonagall. Eulala is Hermione. It's another way of looking at the world, which I really love."
Autumn Reeser ("American Mall"): "I had a 'Harry Potter' lunchbox — I kept art supplies in it. The kids who I went to elementary school with would say I'm a Hermione. I was a little bit of a know-it-all. I just liked school, which isn't always cool. I discovered that in junior high. But I think 'Harry Potter' reminds me of my childhood, of that fantastical time childhood is. I would have liked to go to Hogwarts. I would have had wizard parties. There is actually a whole book on how to throw wizard parties, and I considered doing that, you know, making food that looks like funny things like frogs. Your guests come as wizards. I would probably have to invite 10-year-olds and not my actual friends."
Verne Troyer: "I was actually in the first 'Harry Potter' film, and it was fun, but the only thing was, I had to go through over five hours of makeup. A new 'Harry Potter' film is going to be coming out soon, and they have my character [Griphook] coming back, but they somehow didn't call me and have me be a part of it. What's up with that?"
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