Everyone is so proud of Rob..'
PUBLISHED: 12:41 09 July 2009 | UPDATED: 16:55 25 August 2010
A YOUNG actor will be looking down from heaven with a huge smile on his face, said a friend, as stars from across the globe attend one of the most eagerly awaited film premieres in years, writes Martin Sawden. Tom Hopkins, 19, of Corbylands Road, Sidcu
A YOUNG actor will be looking down from heaven with a "huge smile" on his face, said a friend, as stars from across the globe attend one of the most eagerly awaited film premieres in years, writes Martin Sawden.
Tom Hopkins, 19, of Corbylands Road, Sidcup, paid tribute to his friend Rob Knox who plays Marcus Belby in the West-end blockbuster launch of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.
He was with the 18-year-old actor, from Swanley, on the night he was stabbed to death defending his younger brother Jamie outside the Metro Bar in Sidcup on May 24, 2008, just four days after completing filming.
All the Harry Potter actors, including Sir Michael Gambon who lives in Meopham, Kent, were expected to wear a white ribbon or wristband as a mark of respect for their colleague and friend. Mr Hopkins said: "It's a really nice, touching gesture. Rob will be looking down with a huge smile on his face knowing that everyone has acknowledged him and his achievement.
"The film is the biggest attraction in London, people have come from all over the world to see the actors, most of whom are no older than Rob when he died. A lot of teenagers don't have their sights set on anything. Being in Harry Potter was a huge break for him, he wanted to achieve something and it's tragic he can't be there with everyone else. I've read all the Harry Potter books and seen the films, I can understand why it has such an influence on people across the world."
He said watching the latest film will be hard and added: "You have to let the positivity take control over the anger of him not being there to see his finest moment.
"If he was alive I would tell him everyone is so proud of you. You have such a nice family. Only someone like you could bring so many friends together. I didn't know you for very long but I know what a special person you are. I have nothing but respect for you."
Knox's parents attended an emotional screening of the film last weekend put on especially before Tuesday's world premiere.
Bonnie Sullivan was Rob Knox's manager from the D&B Performing Arts School of Performing Arts in Bromley, where his brother Jamie still trains. She missed out on the private screening due to the school rehearsing for their end of year showcase, which will raise money for the Rob Knox Memorial Fund to raise awareness of knife crime. She said: "We were invited by Sally and Colin Knox but were disappointed we couldn't make it because of our showcase.
"I am so excited about seeing it myself. I know Rob will be great in the part. The directors and producers were so thrilled with his performances they offered a contract for the new film so I know that he was exceptionally good. They were even going to make the part slightly bigger for him. I know all the students will want to go as soon as possible. We support Jamie 100 per cent and through our showcase at Greenwich Theatre this weekend, all the students will be raising money for the Rob Knox Memorial Fund. Rob would have loved every minute of the world premiere, he would have been just fab, suited and booted and in his element."
She said it was a "lovely" gesture that the stars are wearing white ribbons and added: "To be honest, the whole Harry Potter team has been incredibly wonderful from the moment we got the terrible news and extremely supportive, so it didn't surprise me, I knew they would do something in his honour."
Daniel Radcliffe, who plays Harry Potter told reporters; "I won't pretend that I knew Rob incredibly well or was one of his best friends on set, but I knew him, I liked him.
"What happened to him was obviously tragic and awful."
Bonnie Wright, who plays Ginny Weasley, said the cast wanted to help the Knox family through what will be a "traumatic experience".
She said: "It will be difficult for them to see the film. As a mark of respect we wanted to wear a white ribbon, not only for his life but for other families who have been victims of knife crime."
They were joined by the film's producer David Heyman, who said Knox's death had "cast a shadow" and added: "Anybody who came into contact with Rob liked him. He was a good guy," Heyman said. "It makes us realise how lucky we are and to live every moment as best we can."
David Yates, the film's director, added: "The thing you get with Harry Potter is this tremendous energy and passion for work. You are surrounded by young people all day long who bring a great commitment to what they do, and Rob was no different.
"He came in and wanted to do brilliant work. He put his heart and soul into it and you just think, what a terrible waste."
Rob Knox's mother, Sally, told of her mixed emotions at watching her son on screen. In one scene, he sits around a dinner table at Hogwarts with Radcliffe, Watson and Grint.
She said: "Seeing the film made me feel immensely proud, but at the same time there's an underlying sense of sadness at Robert not being there to see it for himself.
"It would have been the pinnacle of his career - but at least we have a memory that will last forever."
Karl Bishop, 22, was sentenced to life in prison after being convicted of Knox's murder on March 4. Rob Knox died from a fatal stab wound to the chest as he tried to protect his younger brother Jamie, 17, who Bishop had already threatened with a blade.