It was posted, by the newspaper London Evening Standard, a new interview featuring Bonnie, where she talks about her relationship with Simon, the event she hosted with her mother for Oxfam’s Mother Appeal, a bit of Harry Potter and some other things.
Plus, you can find two new pictures from the article in Photogenic.
Ginny Weasley grows up: Bonnie Wright interview
Bonnie Wright is a bit of a hippy. For hardened J K Rowling fans she will always be Ginny Weasley, the girl with auburn hair and round blue eyes who married Harry Potter, but sitting before me is a conscientious 23-year-old director and actor wearing a floral bomber jacket and gold earrings made by her jeweller parents; talking about everyone banding together. Over peppermint tea at Maison Bertaux in Soho, she is telling me how she wants to go to the Burning Man festival in the Nevada desert this summer: “There’s real community spirit there, joining up with different people and sharing. You need serious energy to go, though. I’m not good with hot climates.” Her boyfriend Simon Hammerstein, 35, is a regular at the festival so will show her the ropes.
Hammerstein runs nearby nightclub The Box — a “theatre of varieties” where louche decadence rules and Prince Harry, Kate Moss and Emma Watson are regulars.
“Going to The Box comes with being with Simon,” says Wright. “It’s quite a crazy world but good fun. I like going out dancing. What’s increasingly hard when socialising is trying to find something to pin it around. I think that’s why he started it. [Going to The Box] is not being out for being out’s sake and shall I go home now? It has a two-act show that happens in the middle of your experience. I think people want to get involved and interact, which is why events like Secret Cinema and Punchdrunk are popular.”
The couple met in London at a friend’s dinner party last year. “We got on really well. That’s why we’re still together. London’s such a melting pot that you can always find lovely people. It’s nice being with someone who respects the arts so we talk about everything together.”
What about the age difference? “No one comments. Every age you’re a different person but I’ve worked for so long that … everyone’s at different stages.”
Hammerstein is the great-grandson of Oscar Hammerstein, of “Rogers and” fame. “He’s immensely proud of that,” says Wright. “And I know every song from the Sound of Music.”
At the moment, he is in New York working on the branch of The Box there but Wright visits regularly. She lives in Clerkenwell with a musician friend in a flat that’s full of instruments but made the short film she’s working on now at The Gunks, north of New York, where Hammerstein does rock climbing. “He’s showed me how to do it but I climb two metres up and say, ‘Can I get down now?’ ”
When I ask about Hammerstein’s ex-wife Francesca Zampi, Wright is tight-lipped. Zampi was creative director of The Box and separated from him last year. Wright also won’t speak about her own ex, actor and former Burberry model Jamie Campbell Bower. They met on the set of the Harry Potter films and were engaged between April 2011 and June 2012.
But back to the reason we are here — “Bonnie and Sheila’s get together” breakfast, for Oxfam’s Mother Appeal. Wright and her mother Sheila Teague are encouraging people to host an event and raise money to help mothers worldwide lift themselves and their families out of poverty for good. Every penny raised up to a total of £5 million will be doubled by the UK government.
Mother and daughter are perfect hosts, offering advice on whether to go for the exciting filled croissants or the plain ones, with Teague offering endless mugs of coffee and Wright interrupting, “or herbal tea. Not everyone wants caffeine.”
It is a huge success. Amber Atherton, late of Made in Chelsea, has brought her mother along, who is concerned about Oxfam helping causes over here too. It does.
Wright went to Senegal with Oxfam in 2012, travelling to regions so remote that the people there hadn’t heard of Harry Potter. “I went during the West African water shortage and food crisis. They were in a preventative stage, about to face a mix of drought and flooding.
“You know you’re making videos to share their stories but to feel they’re going to be helped long-term is difficult. The main hospital was oversubscribed, all these people needed help but it was too late. That was the hardest thing — you wanted to give them hope but at the same time their situation was so desperate.
“I met a woman called Dianasa and her husband, who come from generations of farmers. These floods meant her husband had to go to town and find other work. I saw how one person is forced into an unknown environment and their morale is completely pulled down. That stuck with me.”
Did she get angry? “I think so. We’ve got a long way to go but help is not impossible.” Oxfam asked her to become an ambassador when she returned. Events like today, supported by the Government, “are good because life can be quite solo”.
She mentions community again, “people miss getting together”. “And Government support makes people go ‘wow’, we have to support it. What’s important is it shows the government’s respect for those who are trying to raise money even in a time where things are financially difficult for people.”
She is committed to encouraging more people to host fund-raising get- togethers. Later, when we are talking about the mega popstar Prince, whom she recently saw at Shepherd’s Bush, we hatch a plan. He should host one. “Our appeal logo is purple, Prince loves purple…”
The concert was “amazing”. “Prince wore light-up trainers, flares and a yellow polo neck and everyone there loved the music. London is amazing for live events.”
Another charity project Wright has been involved in is Sport Relief. She was on The Great British Bake Off last month. “Paul Hollywood said one of my biscuits went soggy. I’ll have to rectify that.”
Did she succumb to his famous charm? “I don’t get it. I didn’t fall under his spell although he has got those piercing blue eyes women seem to take a fancy to.”
Wright grew up in central London and went to the private, liberal King Alfred School in Hampstead, “the school with two goats”. It was her older brother Louis, now a 26-year-old fine artist, who started her career. “He told me I remind him of Ginny. You believe everything your older brother says. We asked my mum and she didn’t know how to go about getting me an audition but being a driven mother she called up Bloomsbury, who gave her the number for the casting director.”
Harry Potter is “10 years of good memories”. “I know any step I go on to now is thanks to that and I’ll never forget it’s been part of my foundation.” She even kissed Daniel Radcliffe — “It was unusual. We’d known each other eight years. I was 17 so it wasn’t my first kiss. It becomes mechanical in front of lots of people but it’s better than it being a stranger, someone you’ve never met.” Radcliffe is: “an incredibly hard working guy who never does anything by halves or loosely”.
And as for the recent remarks from J K Rowling that Harry should have ended up with Hermione, she says: “Ginny would have dealt with it. She’s a capable, independent woman.”
Next month Wright will be seen starring in the film adaptation of John Banville’s novel The Sea, alongside Natasha McElhone. She is also finishing two films she directed, and acting in another that must remain under wraps for now.
She sees her future in London, or at least a city of its size. In our interview she mentions all the things she does here, including a talk at the ICA tonight about how to find peace in art (see, a hippy). “You’re spoilt growing up here with so much to do. What I find is you travel, come back and fall in love with it again. It’s a good sign of knowing you love your city.”
With one last mention of how everyone should support Oxfam, the 23-year-old heads downstairs to say goodbye to her mother and work on editing her latest film. “She’s very good,” says Teague. “She just gets on with things.” Wright on.