As American fans prepare for next week's premier of “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” , IrishCentral is celebrating the movie’s Irish star, Evanna Lynch.
Lynch plays Luna “Looney” Lovegood in the epic “Potter” series.
The 17-year-old, a Termonfeckin, County Louth native, has been named a “standout” in the “Potter” films, and is a huge Harry Potter fan herself.
The young Irish actress’ father, Donal, brought her to an open audition in London in 2006 for “Harry Potter And The Order Of The Phoenix.” Lynch beat out over 15,000 girls to land the coveted role of Lovegood.
Diehard ‘Harry Potter’ fan
Lynch is such a huge fan of the original “Harry Potter” books that the casting directors almost had no choice but to pick her for the role.
As a child, the Irish actress often wrote to author J.K. Rowling, and in one letter wrote about how she’d love to act in a “Harry Potter” movie, but doubted this would happen because lived in this sleepy little place called Termonfeckin, where nothing ever happened.
Rowling wrote back: “Don’t be too hard on Termonfeckin; it does have a brilliant name! And I come from a very sleepy place.”
According to the Evanna Lynch fan site, when the novel “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix” was published in 2003, the 11-year-old was in the hospital, and was devastated that she would miss the release, so much so that the hospital allowed her out for the morning and head to a local bookstore that arranged for her to receive a copy of the book autographed by Rowling.
Lynch arrived at the bookstore dressed in a Harry Potter t-shirt, donning painted-on black Harry Potter glasses, with “I love Harry Potter” scrawled on her arms and her nails painted blue with “Harry Potter” written on them.
“Sometimes I'm stressed and I'm sick of things and I need to forget about them for a while, so in ‘Harry Potter’ you're taken to this wonderful imaginary world where everything is so different. But also the main characters are completely real and modern so you can relate to them,” Lynch has said.
Now that’s a diehard Potter fan.
Lynch as Lovegood
In the role of Luna Lovegood, one of the most beloved characters in the whole Harry Potter universe, Lynch is a natural. Her slightly otherworldly face and manner are the perfect compliment to the eccentric character she plays.
“Luna doesn’t change but her position changes in this new film. Most people are aware of her reputation for being crazy. She’s certainly picked on by the other students,” Lynch told the Irish Voice newspaper and IrishCentral.
“As in any school people are reluctant to be close to that kind of person. Or to be seen to be close to her. But Harry is a lot more comfortable with himself in this film. He’s not as conscious of what people think of him or he just doesn’t care now.
“He accepts Luna and he calls her a friend and she’s thrilled. She helps Harry to see sense when he gets caught up in his struggles. She reminds him who he is.”
In the latest “Harry Potter” film, considered to be Rowling’s darkest chapter, Lynch’s character remains steadfast as both a defender of the wizarding world and as a comfort to Harry in his darkest hour. Lynch says the new film remains faithful to the book and her character.
“Luna seems small and young and not noted for being brave, and yet she is. She’s really calm though, she doesn’t get surprised by anything, and she accepts people’s differences,” she said.
“In fact J.K. Rowling told me as a character she’s the most adjusted to the idea of death in the whole series. That cuts out a lot of fear for her. She tries to impress it on Harry. She’ll take it as it comes.”
Life on the ‘Potter’ set
Lynch said it was an adjustment getting used to acting on set with the amazing “Harry Potter” cast.
“It was this feeling the whole time like I shouldn't be here among all these stars and professionals. I was trying to keep my distance because I wanted to watch everyone,” she said.