Harry Potter's biggest Irish star has spent the last five years playing Luna Lovegood, a top magic student in Hogworts. But now the talented Irish actor is replacing her magic books with Leaving Certificates textbooks as she prepares to do her final year state exams back home in Ireland.

"I'm supposed to be starting today in the Institute, but I had to call and explain that I needed another week for work," the Louth native told the Irish Independent last September.

The 19-year-old admitted that she found it hard to focus on her studies during filming and so decided to repeat her exams once filming had ceased.

"I decided to repeat the Leaving Cert because I was so distracted with these films. I knew I wasn't studying hard enough. We'd be on set, having a laugh in the green room, and I'd be saying to myself: 'I should be studying.' But then I thought: 'I can re-sit the exams -- I can't re-sit Harry Potter.' Besides, there'll be no more filming this year, just a bit of press, so now it's all about the exams."

Since finishing her role in the “Harry Potter” films, Lynch admits that she is now taking the time to do normal things she missed out on in the past few years.

"I'm doing things now that I should have done a few years ago, like getting braces on my teeth, and learning to drive a car, and being with friends in one place for a fixed set of time."

The Termonfecki native's last day of shooting was earlier this summer and she says it was an emotional goodbye.

"It didn't really hit me until I was going into the producers to say goodbye and thank them that I felt this big rush of emotion. I couldn't contain it.

“But I felt like it had come full circle: my first encounter with Harry Potter was going into the producers' office to introduce myself and explain why I was suited for the role."

The Irish acting star got her first break in Harry Potter in 2006, when she attended a casting call in London for “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix”. Only 14 at the time, after completing a screen test with Daniel Radcliffe she was selected from 15,000 other young girls who auditioned for the role.

"My best memories from all four movies are ones that involve the young cast," she said. "It's like school, though they're probably not the people I'd sit with in school. They'd be way too cool for me, and I'd be one of the weird people.

'”But those scenes are just so much fun. We played jokes all the time. Like in the Hogwarts train scenes, they have this odd food that looks nice but tastes horrible. We'd convince new actors on set to try it -- one girl drank this tomato juice thing that had been out on the set for about three weeks. She spat it all over the place. You forget you're on a job and it's just fun."

Lynch insists that the three main stars of Harry Potter, Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, and Emma Watson never expected special treatment during filming.

"When I first came on set, I expected to be told 'You can't talk to or approach them', but it wasn't like that. They're not precious about themselves. They are like normal people, and the people around them treat them normally too.

"Rupert has a great laugh with everyone, while Daniel (Radcliffe) is just a cool guy. There's no pretension with him, when it comes to careers and things like that.

“I really admire Emma for going to university in New York. She's doing that, even though she doesn't need to. She's realised that she doesn't know enough about the world or herself so wants to study more."

After completing her Leaving Certificate State exams, the teenager says she doesn’t have an interest in attending drama school.

"I think drama school is not for me personally. I know some girls who have experience in movies who then audition for these places and they're picked apart for every move they make. They're told 'Sorry, you've learned all these bad techniques from film', and I don't like that. It's good for some people, but I'm critical of myself enough already. I don't need that."

The mature Irish actress seems very focused on her studies for now and admits she is willing to put the hard work in to make it to the top in the future.

"A lot of young actors are trying to have it all. They think: 'I want to go to college, have a career, have a life.' This year will just be about studying. It's not like I'm going to be off the radar because the second film comes out in July and I'll be finished my exams then.

"After that, I might take a year out and try acting. You have to pursue it. You can't just be sitting on your ass crying over the phone because your agent isn't ringing. You have to be quite pushy."

Whatever lies in store for this talented Irish actress, we can be sure she has a bright future ahead of her.


Evanna Lynch