HBO Max dropped the Harry Potter 20th Anniversary: Return to Hogwarts special on Jan. 1, and the event was definitely a bittersweet look back at a franchise that has meant so much to so many, particularly those involved with making it. One part of the special was to remember those who had passed away since making the films, including actress Helen McCrory, who lost her battle with cancer in April at the age of 52.
McCrory played Narcissa Malfoy in the Harry Potter films, and in the special, Tom Felton, who played her son Draco, remembered what a light she was to be around on set. "She taught me a lot. See? I can't even say it," Felton said, getting visibly emotional. "She had this ability, yeah, just to sort of show such empathy in her eyes. It was a real treat to work with her."
Jason Isaacs, who played McCrory's husband Lucius in the films, also said some kind words about his onscreen spouse during the special. "I said, 'I think I've just met the best actress I've ever seen in my life,'" he remembered. "I feel lucky to have worked with her and just shared just so much frankly adolescent laughter with on the set."
Both men previously spoke about McCrory's death following the news of her passing. Felton posted a heartfelt tribute to his movie mother on Instagram. "So sad to say farewell so suddenly – I never took the chance to tell her , but she helped shape me as a person so much – on & off screen," Felton wrote.
"She was always relentlessly herself- razor sharp wit – silver tongued – kind & warm hearted – she suffered no fools yet had time for everyone," he continued. "Thank you for lighting the way forward & holding my hand when I needed it xx."
Isaacs shared the same photo as Felton as he remembered his friend and colleague. "Decades ago Helen and I auditioned together for a film. I came home and said to Emma ' think I've just met the greatest actress I've ever seen.' After years of watching her mesmerize audiences, I don't think that anymore...I know it," Isaacs wrote.
"Luckily, I eventually found out that she was also scabrously funny, shockingly naughty, and with an empathetic heart the size of a planet," Isaacs concluded. "As continually starstruck as I was on the Harry Potter films, being screen-married to and giggle with the great Helen McCrory will always be a highlight. Her proudest achievement, though, was building and loving the family that was her bedrock. They've lost so much and I send all my love to Damian [Lewis] and the kids."