The Tab talks to Bonnie Wright

Being Ginny Weasley, sustainability and feature films on the horizon

bonnie wright bonnie wright activism bonnie wright at the cambridge union bonnie wright director bonnie wright environmentalism Cambridge Union ginny weasley greenpeace single use plastic

Best known for her role as Ginny Weasley in the Harry Potter film series, Bonnie Wright visited the Cambridge Union this week and The Tab sat down with her to talk about what is was like to be in those most iconic films as well as what she'd been doing in their aftermath.

The Tab: So, how do you like Cambridge?

Bonnie Wright: Well, I literally just got here at 5:30 from London on the train but I have been here before because I've had friends that studied here and I do love it.

Always good to hear. And well, I guess we should start with Harry Potter. What's your favourite memory of working on those films?

Ooh fondest memory, I guess it's hard to condense 10 years. I guess like the super early experiences, like my first day on set that was at platform 9 3/4 at King's Cross. It was such a new world that I was stepping into. I mean, I didn't know anything technically that was happening before me. I didn't know what we were meant to do, or where we were meant to stand and how we were meant to be.

And even from that moment it was such a warm environment to be in. It was so welcoming and I was made to feel like I knew what I was doing and not patronised. And I think that was a good thing for all of us. We were all so young and yet we were respected in the fact that we were acting and working too. I think that really enabled us to grow into ourselves and be confident.

And then, as you've moved on what's the hardest thing you've found about leaving them behind?

Since finishing, I guess it was such a family on the film sets and all of the sets were just so beautifully built and all the people that went in to making that world how it was were all so talented and lovely. I just miss being simply on them and around so many people.

It was one of those things that even when we finished it felt quite surreal. Because there were always gaps between the productions so it always like when we finished it was just another gap. So then when we really did never go back, it was a strange sort of reality that it was over.

Since the films you've made more of a move into directing and producing, instead of acting, why particularly? What do you love about it?

Well, directing and producing my own films suits me quite well; I'm not very good at sitting still and waiting for things to happen. So, I like independent film because you very much have to take on a producer role in order to make it happen.

Even when I was on all the Harry Potter sets I was always fascinated. If I ever had a quiet moment, like just watching people, I would imagine how I would direct the scene differently or pre-empt maybe what a director was going to say. I was always interested in how you have to look at the film set as a whole and rally everyone together. Especially getting the balance between giving someone freedom but also directing them.

So I guess it all stemmed from there. And I knew I wanted to study. Partly as a right of passage and also because I could meet my contemporaries – like the people I'd actually end up making films with.

Cool. On to social media: in your Twitter bio you describe yourself as an 'Environmentalist for the Oceans', which I love. But why the ocean in particular?

I've always loved the ocean as an environment, I've pondered a lot of my ideas by the sea. There's something, like the colour and changing tides, something about it that means it is so important to so many people. And where I live now I surf a lot, so have seen first-handedly seen the amount of plastic sadly floating in our oceans and littering our beaches. Even more so when you travel you see just how inundated with waste we really are.

Then, the first trip I went on with Greenpeace about a year and a half ago was the beginning of my activism around that. I think for me, it's something I believe we can actually do something about. There are sadly so many causes in this world that we're paralysed in helping – like a civil war in a country or people being forced out of their homes – there's only so much we can do. I mean, we can donate for aid but we can't personally change those things. Whereas single-use plastic and protecting our oceans we can.

Students and the youth are very much proving that now, with the strikes that are happening on Fridays and next week. I think it's really important that we address it now. Obviously the clock is ticking and I hope social media is a tool we can use to help things move faster.

Finally, looking to the future, would you want to use your directing skills to help promote the sustainability cause?

The next project I'm doing is very much that. It's my first feature film that hopefully I'm going to make at the end of this year. That's all about pollution, but in a very different space to the ocean. It's going to be a thriller, monster movie.

Oh wow, didn't expect that!

Yeah no it should be really fun. It's interesting to see how we can differently tell the story. We see shocking images all the time of like the reality but now I'm spinning it. The monster is essentially representative of pollution and I guess like all monster movies, in the end it's about the fact that the humans are really the monsters. I'm really excited, should be a good year.

This interview was facilitated by and held at the Cambridge Union. Featured Image Credit to Ming Kit Wong.