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At 17, Irish actress Evanna Lynch is already famous for two things -- for starring in the epic Harry Potter films, and for being such a huge fan of the original books that the casting directors almost had no choice but to pick her for the role of Luna Lovegood.
Since being cast in the Warner Bros. blockbuster films, her life has been a rollercoaster ride of filming and red carpet openings. This month she left her hometown of Drogheda, County Louth to promote the latest Potter film (“Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince,” which opens around the world next month) across all the main hotspots of Europe. Is she anxious?
“No, I can’t wait! I think I’ll attend premieres in Italy, Switzerland, Denmark, Poland and other places,” Lynch tells the Irish Voice and IrishCentral, her voice brimming with enthusiasm.
“I’ll be traveling with Bonnie Wright (who plays Ginny Weasley) and Matt Lewis (who plays Neville Longbottom).”
Wise beyond her years
Stardom, when it comes early, can turn a young person’s head, but Lynch sounds remarkably collected and wise beyond her years.
“My life really hasn’t changed as much as you’d imagine. I mean, more people recognize you, and in Ireland that’s especially true because it’s so small. Over there everyone knows you,” she says.
“But people in Ireland enjoy their famous actors, their claims to fame, but I don’t think they get too fazed by it, you know? My family and friends are exactly the same as they were, and life is normal. I’m still working away, still doing my Leaving Cert (high school finals) and all that, you know?”
In case anyone’s under the impression that filming the biggest movie of the summer is just an endless lark, Lynch has news.
“We have school tutors on the set and we have to do three hours a day minimum with them. Everyone in my school thinks that makes me lucky but it’s not true at all,” she says.
“It’s one to one tutoring, so it’s quite intense, and they really make sure we get our tutoring in. It’s kind of hard to combine the tutoring with the film work. It’s hard to focus on both sometimes.”
A natural as Luna
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 says.
“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.”
The darkest chapter of "Harry Potter"
“Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” is without doubt the darkest chapter of the whole J.K. Rowling series, and in it Luna 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,” Lynch says.
“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.”
As for her own future post-Harry Potter, Lynch is resolved she wants to continue to act.
“I’m completely fascinated by the theater. I love going to the West End to see the shows. It’s acting without all the hype attached to it. Actors are given more fee reign, you know?” she says.
“I just love watching one person on a stage holding the whole audience captivated. Whereas in film you’re very protected, you can mess up, you have that freedom and you can always ask to do it again.”