Harry Potter and his army of witches discuss the making of their latest Hogwarts adventure
The theatrical rock show that is Harry Potter is about to begin again for the fifth time in six years. For the devoted, book-devouring brethren that eats every single word of the novel series as gospel, Order of the Phoenix serves as a cinematic overview. A visual text for dummies that catches the reader up to date and gives them a set esthetic to apply to their imaginations while reading the upcoming seventh chapter (which is being released everywhere July 21st).
It's near impossible not to think of Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, or Rupert Grint while perusing the various Harry Potter novels. With Order of the Phoenix, director David Yates has constructed another strong entry of this seven part witchery franchise.
For the casual viewer, the film stands on its own as a superbly crafted sci-fi action-adventure for both kids and adults. This past Monday, it's three stars descended upon the Four Seasons for a little Q&A. They had a lot to say about their upcoming fifth entry into the HP series entitled Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. Here's their very candid conversation...
Daniel, you've already been naked on stage...How does your first kiss on film in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix compare to you being naked on stage in Equss?
Daniel Radcliffe: I did the kiss first. I think the reason that it wasn't a problem or a worry was because in the back of my mind, I knew I'd be naked on stage in six months. I knew I had to get over this. If this kiss was a worry, I knew that being naked with a bunch of blinding horses would be an even greater worry. The kiss was more of a big deal for everyone else, but to me it was like doing any other scene. Really. Which is very disappointing for people to hear, but unfortunately that's how it was.
Daniel, we've heard that you are a big punk rock fan. Did you use your knowledge of the punk movement as an inspiration for the rebel that Harry becomes in this fifth film?
Daniel Radcliffe: I love all of the rebellion stuff that has to do with Harry in this film. Director David Yates kept referring to Dumbledore's Army as being like the French resistance, which was a metaphor that appealed to me. Also, Harry as a leader and a teacher was able to show off his Wizarding skills. Showing off stuff was really, really fun to do. I don't think I brought a tremendous amount of punk music into those scenes. It didn't seem to require it. I think it was me listening to Radiohead that affected my character in this film. Someone asked me yesterday if there was one album that could be Harry's soundtrack during this film, and I said, "I think it would be Okay, Computer by Radiohead. Which tells you all you need to know about his character.
(Rupert is wearing a black t-shirt that has a picture of the royal crown on it followed by the words "Keep Calm & Carry On".)
I just noticed your t-shirt. How have the events of the last week, as far as the bombs being found in England, affected you? Also, are you excited about David Beckham's American debut?
Daniel Radcliffe: Is he starting? Than, yes! I'm very excited. But in regards to England, I don't know. I think that's what is remarkable and sort of defines English spirit. We saw all of these people being interviewed directly after the car bombs, and they were like, "Oh, it's fine. We will carry on. We can't hold this over us." And that's sort of it I suppose.
Emma Watson: About David Beckham trying to save the Los Angeles Galaxies? You have to think, "Poor guy." He's got a lot of pressure on himself.
Daniel Radcliffe: To say the least.
Emma Watson: He is a bit of a hero, so I am looking forward to seeing how he does.
Can all three of you discuss growing up over the course of these films?
Emma Watson: It's a bit out of context when you are doing it on screen. Especially with the earlier films. Dan and Rupert have both grown a couple of inches. They would be a bit bigger by the time one of the films was released. I remember the second one, I was still losing teeth. That was interesting. One scene I had a full set, then I would turn around and be missing...
Daniel Radcliffe: Not a false, but a full set of teeth? It was one tooth. It wasn't like the whole mouth.
Emma Watson: I had a full set of teeth, and then, in the next scene, I would lose one.
Daniel Radcliffe: Oh, okay. I thought you said you had a false set of teeth.
Emma Watson: Oh, my god! No! I didn't have false teeth. But the filming process made the whole growing-up process run smoothly. We had to do it without anyone really realizing. You don't really think about it. I haven't grown up any other way, so I don't know. This is the way it's always been. We've been doing this since we were so young, I don't really remember what life was like before we started doing these films. That's just the way it is.
Rupert Grint: For me, it feels like one long experience. It's when you look back on the first ones that you realize how much you've grown. It's been really fun, though. I have enjoyed nearly every minute of it. It has been really cool.
Daniel Radcliffe: I don't think you realize that you are growing up. Its one of those things that just sort of happens to you. Someone shows you a picture of yourself at age ten, and you recoil in horror. To us, we've just grown up. We don't think about the fact the we've grown up on screen. It's been great. Its been really good, and we've met some of the people that we are really good friends with through these films. We probably wouldn't have had a chance to meet them had we not done this. It's really quite fantastic.
You guys are going to have your footprints set in cement in front of the Chinese Theater as soon as this junket is over. How does that feel?
Emma Watson: I was amazed that they asked us, because it is such a big deal. I was really, really flattered to be doing it.
Daniel Radcliffe: When you see those other names, you can't believe it. It's amazing. It's absolutely fantastic. I think we are all a little bit in shock that we've been asked. Its amazing.
Daniel, do you think your part in Equuas proves that there is a life after Harry Potter, or do you even consider what you are going to be doing with your future at this point?
Daniel Radcliffe: No, I do give it a lot of thought. That question was asked of me in a rather more brutal way the other day. I think what they meant to ask was, "Is there life for you after Harry Potter?" But what they said was, "Will you live after Harry Potter?" Which was on the red carpet. Hmm. I don't know what they are planning for me. But Potter is something I would never want to distance myself from, because I am extremely proud of it. It's given me the most amazing opportunities, and I have met some of the most fantastic people. And I have worked with all of these brilliant actors. But, naturally, I want to establish myself on my own right, rather than just be the actor who plays Harry Potter. It's just as much, if not more, to prove to myself that I can do it, as well as the audience. There will always be these people that see us as our respective characters no matter what we do. But ultimately that is more their problem than ours. They are not the people who are going to be stopping us from doing other, different things.
Over the years, you have all talked about your fan encounters, but I'm not sure if you guys have ever gotten to work with a fan. Evonna Lynch, who plays Luna Lovegood, claims to have been a big fan of both the films and the movies before coming on to this. How was that working with her?
Emma Watson: It's really funny. The fifth time around, you aren't as in awe of the sets and the things around you. We've had a giraffe, we've had...
Daniel Radcliffe: We did? There was a giraffe?
Emma Watson: We've had all kinds of crazy animals. Maybe not a giraffe. We've had goats, and bats, and armadillos. You go past them, and you are like, "oh, yeah, yeah, yeah..." We've all gotten past the stage of really being like, "Wow!" This stuff doesn't affect us. A giraffe could go buy and I wouldn't notice.
Daniel Radcliffe: That obviously happened. We've become so adjusted to that we didn't even notice.
Emma Watson: Anyway, the point is that when you step onto these amazing sets, you kind of take it for granted at this point. Then you see Evonna Lynch's face every time she steps on set, that feeling comes to you again and it makes you realize just how amazing the whole experience is. It stops you from taking it for granted. It was really nice to have someone who's so genuinely, completely excited. She was in ecstasy every time she saw something new. It was really nice.
Daniel Radcliffe: We did have one moment where it was very, very hard to present an idea to David Yates. Especially if Evonna was standing next to you. If you said something and it was even slightly wrong from the technicality of the book, you would be in deep trouble. So you'd sort of have to be quite careful. Whenever I talked about the wording of the prophecy and she was there, I'd just be like, "Where's the book?" It was fantastic to have Evonna around because she is such a massive fan of the books and the films. It was lovely to have that enthusiasm.
Emma Watson: I remember, after watching the film, the person I was most nervous about finding out their opinion was Evonna. I went up to Evonna and asked, "What did you think?" It was really, really scary. But she loved it so I was like, "Okay, as long as she likes it, we're good. We're all good."
Did David Yates about how dark this film had to be?
Daniel Radcliffe: David was fantastic. David Yates was just incredible throughout the film. What was remarkable about David was that he had the same enthusiasm on the last day of filming as he did on the first. Which, on a ten-month shoot, is quite an achievement. Working with David was fantastic. I can't think of any specific notes that he gave me in terms of how he started this. I just remember him coming up with very real, accurate directions the whole time. For instance, there was one scene very early on in the film when Harry's asleep and he's having nightmares. He wakes up suddenly. I was doing a lot of that sort of movie type of waking up. David just says, "Dan, no one does that. Just open your eyes." Yeah, you're absolutely right. You do see it in films a lot of the time when people are lying straight down in bed and they suddenly bolt upright. If you try and do that, it's incredibly difficult, let alone while you're half asleep. Also, working with Gary Oldman in terms of the scenes concerning his death. Sorry if I spoiled that for anybody. You've all read it. In terms of those scenes, he was just a fantastic person to be around. There was this one bizarre bit where he said to me, "Dan, in this next one, do you mind if I do something a little more physical." I was thinking, "Maybe he's going to give me a hug" or something like that. But he grabbed me and shook me violently for thirty seconds while screaming at me. And then he sort of backed away slowly. I suddenly regressed and I just started to cry. It was this really weird thing, but he obviously knew it would work. I don't know if he's done it to people in the past but certainly it worked then. He was amazing.
Are you guys excited about the release of the seventh book?
Rupert Grint: Yeah, it's quite exciting. Particularly this one because there's so much hype about it and everyone's got their own little theory of who's going to die. That's the big question. I don't know really. I'm really looking forward to it.
Do any of you have a theory as to who is going to die?
Rupert Grint: (Looking at Daniel) I believe it could be you, actually.
Daniel Radcliffe: Oh, man. I do think there's always going to be that hype around it. The thing is, with the books and the films, it's not just hype. It's deserved because they do get better and better and more exciting. My favorite book is the fifth and my favorite film is the fifth as well. To be able to say that five movies into a franchise is quite rare. I don't know how the book releases affect us. I think we're very, very anxious about what's going to happen. I don't think we get totally distressed by it, do we really?
Emma Watson: I get a bit distressed.
Daniel Radcliffe: Do you?
Emma Watson: I get really stressed. I've always just been convinced that Hermione's going to make it. Apparently this hacker has been claiming that she's going to die. This interviewer sat down and she was like, "Well, this hacker is claiming what's going to happen and she's not going to make it and she's the one." I was just like, "No, no, no. You don't understand. She's meant to be with Ron and she's meant to just..." I have all these ideas in my head about what was going to happen. It was just all weird and horrible, but I guess from an acting point of view it would be good to have a death scene. I mean, we obviously have hugely invested interests. Mostly we're really big fans ourselves.
Daniel Radcliffe: Yeah, exactly. We are looking forward to finding out with the rest of the world as well. We certainly don't get any inside information. When I saw Jo at the premiere the other day, I asked, "How many people worldwide have read the book?" Under ten people have read it, which still is pretty incredible. Could you imagine being one of those people? How fantastic would that be? My God.
You guys got to use your magic more this time around. Was that exciting?
Emma Watson: Yeah, definitely. Ron and Hermione kind of took a backseat on the last one, watching Harry do all the tasks and stuff. It felt really nice to be back in the action again. It was nothing major. We had a couple of stunts to do, a couple of harnesses and that sort of thing. That was really fun. We actually had a dance choreographer come in. All the different spells had different choreographed specific movements that went with them. So, we had a couple of classes like that which were really good fun. This is the first one where you really see the craft behind the magic. You get to see the craftsmanship. It looked really impressive.
What sort of difficulties did you encounter?
Daniel Radcliffe: I found the dance lessons quite tricky. I was getting really frustrated with myself when I couldn't get the moves right. It was good. A brilliant idea that David had was to actually make it so that, whereas before, it's just been point at something, say the word. Now he was starting to build this sort of art just to show a distinction. When it came to the film, we didn't really do a lot of the stuff that we learned in the class. It just made it so that there was actually a distinction between the adults and the young kids in terms of skill. It was fun. One of my favorite lines in the film is when Gary says, "Get away from my godson!" Then he punches Jason Isaacs in the head. Me and Gary, we were Butch and Sundance on that day. It was just fantastic. I had a lot of fun, definitely.
Rupert Grint: In the last one, Ron's been a bit of a wimp and he's sort of stayed away from the action. This time, it was quite cool that he got to be a bit tougher. And he got to fight. It was kind of neat.
Have you guys seen the version of the film that is in IMAX 3-D?
Daniel Radcliffe: I haven't seen it that way. I have heard about it. It's going to be fantastic. It's going to be terrifying.
Emma Roberts: I was about to say, it's scary enough as it is.
Daniel Radcliffe: There's one scene where Voldemort sort of appears and he comes from the side of the screen. He sort of pushes forward and suddenly appears. That's gonna scar people. That's going to be hysterical. It's great. I've not seen it though, no.
Emma Watson: People will jump. Honestly, people will be jumping out of their seats.
In the sixth book, Ron gets a girlfriend?
Rupert Grint: Yeah, Ron does get a girlfriend in the next one. I think it's a little bit intense, so I don't know. I did a little kiss. I did another film called Driving Lessons, and there's a little kiss in that. It was quite an uncomfortable experience to be on this tiny set with all the crew watching. I didn't really enjoy it too much. We have to wait and see. It's going to be interesting.
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix opens July 11th, 2007.