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Prepare to fall in love with new characters, says Cursed Child actor Paul Thornley

Cursed Child actor Paul Thornley
Actor Paul Thornley

Pottermore caught up with actor Paul Thornley to talk about the enormity of playing Ron Weasley, and keeping the show’s secrets even from his own kids.

It’s clear why Paul Thornley was cast as Ron Weasley in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Parts One and Two.

Even in conversation his comic timing simply shines through. On top of his extensive work in theatre, TV and film ( A Midsummer Night’s Dream, A Chorus of Disapproval, London Road to name but a few), there’s something cheeky, something grounded, something very… Ron about him.

Paul took time out of rehearsals to talk Pottermore through playing a grown-up version of such a beloved character. We wanted to know how it felt to play Harry Potter’s best friend, work on such a vast production, and, even more importantly, what it’s like being married to Hermione Granger.

‘It’s massive. It’s the biggest thing I’ve ever been involved in, probably for all of us,’ Paul said. ‘I don’t know if I was aware of the enormity of the world of Harry Potter.’

Cherrelle Skeete, Noma Dumezweni and Paul Thornley rehearsing a scene from Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
L-R: Cherrelle Skeete, Noma Dumezweni and Paul Thornley rehearse a scene from Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Parts One and Two.

Peering into the rehearsal room, it was wonderful to see that Paul and Noma have fantastic chemistry as Ron and Hermione. So, after 19 years, is the spark between Harry’s two best friends still alive and well?

‘Their marriage is pretty strong,’ Paul assured us. ‘I think she despairs of his rather scattergun approach to life, and he doesn’t really worry about anything. It’s a good balance between the two of them, between someone who’s slightly more focused and someone who’s more relaxed.’

This time, the story isn’t just about Harry, Ron and Hermione. There’s a new generation of Hogwarts students about to go off on a new adventure, including Ron and Hermione’s daughter, Rose Granger-Weasley, Albus Severus Potter and Scorpius Malfoy.

‘The old guard still knock about,’ Paul laughed. ‘But it’s a beautiful mixture of following your old mates but then also falling in love with a few new characters.'

Actors Paul Thornley, Noma Dumezweni, Jamie Parker and Poppy Miller
L:R actors Paul Thornley, Noma Dumezweni, Jamie Parker and Poppy Miller rehearsing a scene from Cursed Child.

His own children are eager to know more about the story, but Paul told us he was determined to keep the play’s secrets until they see the show for themselves.

‘I’ve read [the Harry Potter books] with both my children,’ Paul explained. ‘I’ve got an older one who’s read all of them and an eight-year-old who’s beginning to get into it.

‘It’s so exciting for both me and the children, but I don’t want to tell them anything about [the play] because I want them to experience it when they see the show. I keep being peppered with questions when I come home from work!’ 

Cursed Child writer Jack Thorne, with actors Poppy Miller and Paul Thornley
L-R Cursed Child writer Jack Thorne, with actors Poppy Miller and Paul Thornley.

Far from being daunted, Paul seems to be taking the scale of the production in stride and told us he was excited to play his part in the eighth story.

‘There’s some amazing things, with the magic and the illusions in the show – you feel about eight. I know how it’s done, but even when you watch it you go “how do they do that?” And I’m a small part of it. That’s really exciting.’ 

And you can hear more from Paul Thornley in this new video from the production:

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Parts One and Two is a new play by Jack Thorne based on an original new story by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany. It is the eighth Harry Potter story and the first official story to be presented on stage. The play opens at the Palace Theatre on Saturday 30 July.

Now available
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Script eBook