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Hey all, we had the pleasure of a very quick glimpse of the new Harry Potter exhibition in New York City’s Discovery Center.  We zipped through on our way to chat with some of the stars of the Harry Potter film franchise at a press conference celebrating Warner Brothers’ release of a lovely DVD/Blu-Ray/Digital combo pack for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part One.  Here are my queries to Dumbledore, Hagrid, Lupin, Tonks, Professor Flitwick, the films’ producers and various Weasleys.

Dig it!


Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 DVD/Blu-Ray release


The Lady Miz Diva:  What was it like to know that Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows would be the last time you would all work together as an ensemble after a decade and six previous films?

David Heyman {Producer}:  It’s been an amazing journey.  For me, I’ve been working on Harry Potter since 1997 and it’s been the most incredible journey.  Speaking for myself, so much more than I could have ever imagined when I commissioned this unpublished manuscript back then.

Mark Williams {Arthur Weasley}:  When you started, did you think-- cos it’s your fault, as it were -- did you ever imagine that it was gonna go this long?

DH:  Not a clue {Laughs}

MW: {Laughs} I knew that!  Would you have started off if you knew?

DH:  Ummm...  God, let me think about that one. {Laughs}  Somebody in my office gave me the book.  I have three shelves at work; there’s priority, medium priority and low priority, and it was on the bottom low priority shelves.  My secretary who’d read it recommended I did.  So I took it home, started reading and I fell in love.  I had no idea that it would become what it became.  I thought if I was lucky at the very, very best it might become Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.  So for me, it’s the end of an era.

Michael Gambon {Albus Dumbledore}:  What year was it when you first read it?

DH:  Sorry, the interview’s taken over. {Laughs} Well, Mr. Gambon…

MG:  How many years to the day is it?

DH:  It was 1997, so it was 14 years.  So, for me, the last day of shooting, I knew it was going to be strange.  Even though I had another year of post-production, but it was a really emotional day and there were a lot of tears shed.  And what we did on that last day; it was typically a green-screen shot from the first film when Harry, Ron and Hermione dive through into the fireplace.  Afterwards, we sat down and we played the trailer for Part 1 and then Jamie Christopher, who’s our first assistant director, did this thing called the “Golden Board” where sometime during each day, we filmed a different person, actors, crew, visitors.  So, he’d put all that to Robbie Coltrane playing air guitar and intercut that and the last bit of it was {director} David Yates getting into his car and driving away out of Leavesden and at the end of that, everybody was bawling.  We were blubbering messes.  So for me, it’s frankly very sad, because we have become over this period a family; new members come in and the family grows.  So it was really sad, we aren’t coming back and doing this again.  At the same time, after 14 years, I’m really excited to be doing something else and looking forward to new adventures.

Oliver Phelps {George Weasley}:  Yeah, I mean it’s amazing really to think that it’s gone 14 years and since we were asked to be a part of it.  But also I think it’s cool that it shows the scope of the whole thing that here we are.  That we filmed it in a studio just outside of London, yet we’re in New York.  James and I have been fortunate to travel around with the exhibit to Toronto and Chicago and the response has been absolutely fantastic.  So to be here with everyone else from the cast and to see the buzz about the whole place is really exciting.

Robbie Coltrane {Hagrid}:  I was terribly, terribly upset, actually.  And I think if we’re all honest, we all were.  It was very, very sad. {Sniffles loudly}

David Barron {Producer}:  Don’t set him off.

RC:  {Sobbing loudly} And the fire in the castle… *sniff*

DB:  No, it was very emotional.  I thought for David Yates, Heyman and myself, because we were literally dying the death of a thousand cuts, cos we had a year in the editing room, I would find it particularly sort of okay, ‘Oh, it’s a bit sad, but I’ve got a year to go.’  But it was very emotional.  We filmed a very simple scene of Dan, Rupert and Emma jumping onto a green screen bag for an element where they jumped into the Ministry of Magic in Part 1.  We deliberately kept it simple, not a big dramatic scene because it wouldn’t be fair for them to have to do that and then say {weepily} ‘Oh I’m finished.’  But at the end the assistant director had put together a reel of the “Golden Board”; cos it was such an immensely long schedule, different people held up a clapperboard with day 1 or 6 million, or whatever it was on there, so he cut together a little reel and played that and it just left everyone in tears.  It was extraordinarily emotional.

Warwick Davis {Professor Flitwick}:  Yeah, it was surprisingly emotional.  I was there that day, as well.  I was doing a shot with another unit and walked in to see the scene that David described being finished, and then watching these video clips of the past year and half to 2 years flashing before us in 10 minutes was really moving.  You know, it kind of sounds a bit strange sitting here talking about it in that way, but when you’ve been working on something for 10 years…  No project I’ve ever been involved with has gone on that long.  It was like working on a soap opera in a sense of that regular sort of work and getting to know this huge family of people amongst the cast and of course the crew and then becoming very familiar with the studios at Leavesden, as well over the years and to be saying goodbye to all of that, even though we all see each other at events like this and it’s nice to get together again.  It was sad and I’ll certainly miss it, even though it was sometimes painful to be under all that makeup and stuff, you know, I certainly look back with great fondness of the whole experience and feel really honoured to have been part of it.  Now it’s just gonna be great to sort of have that legacy to hand down to generations on DVD, Blu-Ray and whatever else they care to invent in the future.


LMD:  Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is the final act in a saga which has grown increasingly dark and now that world is in an all-out war.  What was it like to film the action in this chapter?

DB:  Action is challenging and it’s one thing presenting action where the people have weapons of mass destruction and guns and things that blow things up, but when you have a wand, it’s actually quite difficult.  I’m sure everyone would agree, it’s quite difficult to stage action in a way that feels suitably strong and aggressive, so a lot of thought was put into that.

Natalia Tena {Nymphadora Tonks}:  Shouting swear words while you’re using the wand helps, to really get that essence of that.  Number 6 {Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, 2009} was really, really weird because me and you {To David Thewlis} were stuck outside, do you remember?  Really, really cold outside the Weasley’s house.  And they’re like, ‘Right, so there’s big fire snakes and you’ve gotta fight them,’ and there’s nothing there.  You feel a bit like an idiot, really.  It’s 3 in the morning and you’re like “Whoooah! Snake!” {Laughs}

David Thewlis {Remus Lupin}:  You’ll always feel an idiot with a wand, you know?  Treating it like it’s a magnum and holding it like that and it’s a chopstick, really.  That’s the hardest thing in the whole film for me is fighting with the wand.


LMD:  And Mr. Coltrane, what was it like to be action Hagrid on the motorcycle in Deathly Hallows?

RC:  Well, the insurance people wouldn’t let me on it, sadly.  That was a stunt double.

DB:  Not when it was flying.

RC:  Not when it was flying … Spoilsports!  Upside down in Dartford Tunnel, what a lovely day that would’ve been.  But there ya go.  It was a lovely bike, though, wasn’t it? They’d made that from scratch, you know?  The tecchy guys, the guys who build all that stuff - you cannot believe – they had to build a motorcycle that was 75% of the size of a real one and until you touched it you wouldn’t know it wasn’t.  It’s just a staggering quality of work.  I was thinking yesterday, looking at all those exhibits; all those little bits of jewelry and knick knacks, they’re all made as well as if they’re going to be in Faberge’s bloody window.  They’re so well done.  I used to go down to the tecchy shed cos they’ve always got something to show you.  Because when you think about it, if you’re making a Hippogriff, you don’t just go down to Pep Boys and say, ‘I’d like a Hippogriff ball joint, please, for an upper leg,’ you’ve gotta start from scratch.  They studied horse movements, they filmed horse movements, every single feather was put on by hand and hand-dyed.  When you were there, it looked absolutely real. {To David Barron} Do you remember the first one they had that could twitch?  Do you remember that wee boy, this poor wee kid, I think a spark went up and it moved like that and he just leapt into the air.  Fantastic.


~ The Lady Miz Diva

April 4th, 2011




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