Bonnie Wright: Ginny Who?

Bonnie Wright: Ginny Who?

Cerebral, stylish and self-effacing, Bonnie Wright is so much more than her flagship role. Now residing in New York City, the 24-year-old is embarking on a new adventure behind the camera as a writer and director.

been well over a decade since a young Ginny Weasley warmed
hearts across the globe – the shy, ginger beauty who grew up before
our eyes and became a bold, fearless young woman and keeper of
Harry Potter’s heart.

The same can be said for
Bonnie Wright
who, at the tender age of 10 and with little
acting experience, made her debut in one of the most important
cinematic adaptations in history. For 10 years Bonnie was married
to the role of Ginny, and over the course of the Harry Potter
franchise came of age under a global spotlight. It’s safe to say
she has taken this in her stride and has navigated the film world
with grace, effortlessly avoiding the typical pitfalls of childhood

Cerebral, stylish and self-effacing, Bonnie Wright is so much
more than her flagship role. Now residing in New York City, the
24-year-old is embarking on a new adventure behind the camera as a
writer and director. In one of Manhattan’s trendiest coffee shops,
SUITCASE sat down with the multi-talented starlet to talk about her
craft, life in the Big Apple, her philanthropic pursuits and, of
course, Destiny’s Child…

It’s never a good thing when the subject of your interview makes
it to your meeting place before you do. In the land of celebrity,
things usually run on the star’s time and waiting is the game of
journalists. As I learn over the course of our meeting, Bonnie
Wright’s punctuality is one of the many reasons she is not your
average world-famous actress.

I find her tucked away in the corner of La Colombe and after a
few pleasantries, we launch immediately into a conversation about
her foray into writing and directing. Bonnie describes her
consistent effort “to set that self-discipline” – making sure that
each day reflects a proper day’s work. Currently in the process of
writing her first feature film (she has already written and
directed a short film) Bonnie’s new, self-appointed gig is a whole
different ballgame from learning lines in a trailer. She is keen to
emphasise the dedication and self-regulation required to create her
own work.

That said, her decade spent in the Harry Potter franchise has
not been a bad education. Working with some of the greatest British
talent, including world-famous actors, directors and producers, has
afforded Bonnie a solid understanding of what goes into creating a
great film.

“Because I started acting at such a young age,” she explains, “I
had no idea where the journey was going to take me. As a curious
kid, on all the Harry Potter films, I became interested in
filmmaking in its entirety.”

In the evolution of her craft, Bonnie hasn’t limited herself to
one side of the camera. When I ask her which part of the world of
cinema she prefers, she explains how intertwined acting and
directing really are.

If you’re not a team player in the film industry it becomes very hard to share your message

“Often, I’ll be writing and the idea of walking onto a film set
in front of the camera throws me. And then sometimes the other way
around, when I’ve been acting I’ll be like ‘Oh God, I don’t want to
go back to my desk to write!’ But they inform each other so much.
It is a collaborative medium and the boundaries between jobs often
cross. Especially when you’re an actor and you’re working so much
with the director. For me, that’s the funnest thing about being an
actress: working with the director and working with their

She goes on to emphasise the importance of synergy when creating
a successful film. “If you’re not a team player in the film
industry it becomes very hard to share your message – and what’s
the point of sabotaging your own work? It’s interesting to see the
methods of different people, in the same way that it’s fascinating
to watch another actor and see how they run a scene.”

If all of this sounds erudite, it’s because, well, Bonnie’s a
pretty intelligent gal – and she perceives the world of acting
through a particularly academic lens. No surprise, then, that her
acting heroines appear in intellectual dramas rather than
box-office rom-coms.

“I’ve always loved Cate Blanchett, Michelle Williams and Gaby
Hoffman,” she says.

Hoffman is a particularly interesting choice. The actress, who
you’ll probably recognise as Adam’s manic sister in GIRLS, is known
for her compelling but rough-around-the-edges presence. “There’s
something that really draws you in with her performance,” Bonnie
muses. “It’s something accidental. She has such an open and giving
face that you can’t help but want to be pulled in by her.”

I ask Bonnie whether it’s a coincidence that so many of her
roles have been in literary adaptations. According to IMDb, she’s
currently filming A Christmas Carol and back in 2013 she starred in
The Sea, a British-Irish drama based on the novel by John

“No, no – it’s coincidental,” she laughs. “But I’m about to do
my first adaptation of a short story into a short film, which is a
new thing for me. It’s by an author called A.S. Byatt and it lends
itself so neatly to film; the description, the dialogue, the pace
are all so easily transferable. So it’s going to be a joy to adapt.
But at the same time, it’s a different realm of directing someone
else’s idea or vision. How close do you stay to the material? How
much do you want to put a stamp of your own on to it?”

The current feature film that she’s working on, according to
Bonnie, is going to present even greater artistic challenges.

“Anyone can write 10 pages,” she says jokingly. “Writing a huge
script that has so much to do with plot, specific screenwriting
techniques and devices is a whole new world to me. Even at film
school all the work we did was short-form. We obviously studied
feature film, but we never got to make one over the course of a
three-year degree, so this has been really interesting.”

As a curious kid, on all the Harry Potter films, I became interested in filmmaking in its entirety

As she ventures down this new career path, Bonnie has
appropriately adopted the nomadic lifestyle of the writer. Having
recently relocated to New York, she is happy to go where the winds
take her as she wraps up various projects, and LA may be next. That
said, she’s making meaningful connections as she goes, and explains
how surprised she was to be so readily embraced by New York’s film

“I think it’s the American mentality of being forward,” she
says. “When I made my first short film in New York, I managed to
create this amazing group. They were all so giving, so great at
their jobs and so enthusiastic. I think anything is possible

Having done the rounds in Hollywood, however, Bonnie is equally
cautious of those who are all talk and no walk.

“You also need to take it with a pinch of salt. People can
promise you the world, but you can’t start celebrating too

With this on the table, she goes on to discuss the culture of
self-promotion that’s so ubiquitous in the United States –
certainly not a quality that the average self-deprecating Brit

“When you’re having to speak up for your own work, you have to
sell yourself in a way. Especially when every project is a new
project, you’re having to find collaborators, you’re having to
pitch your project all the time.”

As if writing, directing, acting and discovering New York
weren’t enough to keep Bonnie busy, the Renaissance woman also
devotes a significant amount of her time to the causes she cares
most about. She helped promote the Global Citizen Festival in
Washington DC back in April this year and she continues to work
with Oxfam, an organisation that is dear to her heart.

“I first went on a trip with them to Senegal when they were
doing a whole push about the food crisis in West Africa,” she
recalls. “They decided they wanted to push the story before it got
to a level that would be a hundred times more expensive to save. So
I travelled with them and through that trip they asked me to come
on board long-term as an ambassador.”

When you’re having to speak up for your own work, you have to sell yourself in a way

“Even though the focus there was on agriculture and food
shortages,” she goes on, “I’m now working with them on education
and women’s rights because of the audience that I have. I know that
I can connect with people on that topic.”

Bonnie has also acted as a mouthpiece for the Global Poverty
Project, writing articles and appearing on TV for their campaign
Live Below the Line, which challenges people to live on the
equivalent amount of money on the extreme poverty line for five

Bonnie remembers her first attempt last year in New York: “I
literally bought pasta and bread and had no energy and awful
headaches all week. It really makes you realise that in a city like
New York or London, you can’t just sit down in a nice warm place
and buy a coffee. You realise just how much it segregates you and
how alienating it is.”

Needless to say Bonnie is one of the more down-to-earth
actresses I have had the pleasure of meeting. When I ask her what
she misses most about London she steals the
answer I almost always give.

“I miss Sundays in London. I miss hanging out at friends’
houses, cooking and watching TV. People never cook here! People
never sit at home and have those leisurely days. I miss that.”

But it’s Bonnie’s response to my final question that makes me
wonder whether I may have just found my kindred spirit. What’s the
craziest, most exciting thing that’s happened as a result of Harry
Potter stardom?

“I got to meet Destiny’s Child when they were still together and
dance on stage with them. That was pretty fun.”