Lewis, 27, said Emma Watson invited him along with a handful of other Harry Potter stars to the world premiere of the live-action Disney remake in Los Angeles on Thursday — and the actor jumped at the chance to show his support for his former costar.
“We had like a WhatsApp group, and she invited a whole bunch of us all over the place,” he told PEOPLE. “So I said, ‘Yeah, I’ll come over.’ “
He also reflected on watching Watson grow up in the spotlight, and how she’s used her passion for feminism and women’s rights to influence her characters on screen.
“She was in the public eye so young and sexualized so young. People try to pigeonhole young actresses and tell them what they should and shouldn’t be doing,” he said. “Emma was always very keen to do whatever the hell she wanted to do, and I think she’s done that.”
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He continued: “She’s hoping to use her experiences to try and help people, and I think that’s absolutely fantastic. I think that she’ll do it with Belle — Belle won’t be a damsel in distress.”
Lewis walked the red carpet with his fiancée Angela Jones. And though the two got engaged in November, the actor revealed that they haven’t started planning their wedding yet.
“At some point in the future [we will start planning],” he said. “A little busy at the minute. She’s American, so we’ve got quite a lot of things to discuss about location and whatnot before we get anywhere.”
Beauty and the Beast hits theaters March 17.
- Reporting by ABBY STERN