One of the most anticipated set visits this year was Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows since these last two films mark the end of the long-running franchise. When ComingSoon.net got the invite to fly to London and hang out with the cast one final time, we were more than happy to pack our bags and make the trip across the pond even though it was in the dead of winter.
Danielle Radcliffe was not shooting the day we visited Leavesden Studios–in fact it was his day off–but the Harry Potter star came in and talked to us for over 30 minutes anyways, which was more than appreciated.
At the time were we there, director David Yates did not know how the two films were going to be split, but everyone we spoke with talked a little about moments from both movies.
Unfortunately at this time, we can not run the material that we now know will be in the second part and we can not describe the scene we saw being filmed until a later time. However, we do have the green light to post parts of our interviews with Radcliffe, producer David Barron, Matt Lewis, and David Yates.
We’re kicking it off with Radcliffe and you can find a link to the other interviews at the bottom!
Q: These two films Part 1 and Part 2 if you had to explain what the key differences are between the two, because when you’re going to be out talking about them, how are you going to explain Part 1? And then, how are you going to explain the difference?
Daniel Radcliffe: They’re very different films. The first part is kind of like a… it’s a very strange sort of road movie in a way. I mean, it’s first of all, people will be seeing the kids outside of Hogwarts for the first time which is a big deal actually because we’d started filming seven by the time we were doing all the premieres for six. And when I was going into them, I was watching it I was just thinking, “My God, how different the seventh film is going to be,” because to see these characters outside of what has become such a familiar environment is hopefully going to make people see in a very different way. Also, the first film is about the gathering of information and getting all the information in place and all the things we need to go towards the final battle. And the second film essentially is the final battle, I mean, from start to finish. Actually, no ’cause we don’t know where it starts off yet because it’s changing. It starts off not at Hogwarts, like presumably quite a way before that still, but I mean, once you get into it, it’s nonstop. I mean, it is. And it does, I think, if it’s right, it should have a very, very good balance. The action sequences are pretty relentless in the second part, you know, it’s very, it’s nonstop kind of action to a degree. But, that shouldn’t, and I don’t think will, overpower either the characters or the story, those are still the main two things that will be the focus hopefully.
Q: How do you figure out what Harry should be doing or feeling, and then what David still brings to the table and how you guys figure that out?
Radcliffe: I think to a large extent I come to the scene knowing what Harry is feeling and I’ve got quite solid ideas generally on what the point of the scene is and where Harry is in the scene and how it should be played. Very often, David, when we start to rehearse it will say well, just kinda stop me and go, “I think that’s” it’s just a conversation really. It’s not a process so much. I mean, we have meetings occasionally. If a very big scene’s coming up, we’ll obviously sit down the week before and talk through it. But, mainly it’s kind of on the day you just sort of knock about ideas and yeah, and the thing that David’s very, very keen for me to do is to show less and less. I mean, ’cause I don’t think my instinct is ever to be over the top at all, but it is to be expressive as people are, you know? I think David wants the character of Harry to be quite internalized and not to project all that emotion outwards necessarily which I think is quite a… for somebody who has been through what Harry has, it’s kind of quite an understandable course.
Q: Is it particularly upsetting time, or a joyous moment to be done?
Radcliffe: It’ll be very odd and it’s not far away now at all. It really is a very real prospect, the fact that one day I’m gonna come in here in a few weeks and go into the makeup rooms for the last time. That will be quite, not upsetting, it won’t be upsetting, but yeah, it’ll be a moving kind of emotional day in saying goodbye to a lot of people. But no, it’ll be exciting to go onto other things and see what’s out there and that’ll be great. But, equally, I’ll miss the crew and the sense of family that we have here is something that it will be very hard to recreate on other films. I think it’s possible, I don’t think it’s that I’ll never be on a set this close again, but there’s people here who I have, as you say, I’ve known for 10 years and I’m very, very close to, so it will be a sad day.
Q: Did you have a favorite movie?
Radcliffe: I haven’t well, so far, the fifth. Hopefully, that will be over taken by seven: parts 1 and 2. But, at the moment, the fifth. I was actually quite relieved in a way that it remained my favorite after the sixth because I was so tired of kind of every year when you guys would interview me and it was just, “What’s your favorite film?” “Oh, coincidentally, the one that’s just come out.” (Laughs) But, it was always the truth. So, when the sixth film came out, I was, “Oh, I can actually seem genuine when I talk about the fifth and say” it was an exciting moment for me.
Q: What happens with Ginny? Do Harry and Ginny have their moment?
Radcliffe: Yeah, absolutely, very much so. There’s a couple of kissing scenes. There’s even a kiss in the heat of battle at one point.
Radcliffe: Yeah, which was, I have to say, was my suggestion. (Laughs) But, it’s done in not so much like it’s done in a much less dramatic way than that where it’s kind of, “Okay, we’ll okay, (Makes Kissing Sound) okay, bye.” It’s like you’re just going out the door in a rush. It was sort of more like that it ended up. But, it was good and that was my suggestion actually because it’s one of those moments when it’s potentially the last time they see each other and they don’t have long. If I was in that situation I would kiss almost anyone if I thought the end was coming. So yeah, I think the Ginny relationship does blossom and of course, eventually she is my wife, yes, which is very exciting.
Q: Do you know much about the epilogue filming?
Radcliffe: We’ve done some tests on makeups and things, and we haven’t shot it yet. And, I mean, it looked great to me, but I don’t make the final judgment on that one. But, yeah, I mean, the makeup, prosthetics that they did I didn’t see either Emma or Bonnie, but I saw some stuff they did on Rupert which is very funny. They’ve yeah. They’ve gone down the route you want them to go down with him I think.
Radcliffe: Yeah, (Laughs) absolutely.
Q: Mr. Weasley, the father?
Radcliffe: Yeah, he’s not missed too many lunches. (Laughs) But then actually, that’s the only version I’ve seen so far. By the time we get to filming it could be totally changed. But yeah, I mean, the version I saw on me, it was great. And I looked up my dad bizarrely, yeah, ’cause I look actually more like my mom.
Q: That’s makeup, not CG? Or, it’s like a mix?
Radcliffe: Well, at the moment we just did the makeup tests and there’s all kinds of things I imagine they will do to that part of the film. I imagine it’ll end up being a mix I think.
Q: They’ll make it look good.
Radcliffe: I think they’ll make it look good, yeah, ’cause it was one of those things I was quite nervous about because it was quite a divisive part in the book. I personally liked it, but I know quite a lot of people that really didn’t. And I actually thought she put it in just so that if you skipped to the back page you sort of didn’t get the full ending, that was my theory on the book. I’m probably wrong. But, yeah, so I was very nervous about it because if you are going to put it in, it would be a shame if the aging thing didn’t work and that’s the last image that we go with, that people are left with. But, I think so much preparation has gone into it that I think it really can work and that’ll be up to me and Rupert and Bonnie to make it, sell it.
Q: You said that you always know where Harry is in a scene, was there a point where you thought that, “Harry is a man now,” along his entire journey throughout the film, or in the series?
Radcliffe: That’s what I think’s very important is that he’s not at any point really. He’s still a 17-year-old boy. I mean, he grows up hugely in this film no more so than at the end when he makes the decision at King’s Cross Station with Dumbledore and rather than going on, he makes the decision to go back rather than dying the death he has already suffered and going onto a peaceful afterlife, he decides to go back. I mean, at no moment more than that is he close to being a man I suppose. But, that he is still a boy and that’s what makes it so effective and so awful when Voldemort is trying to kill him. He really beat the seven bells out of me. He does and it makes it more upsetting if it’s a fight between a man and a kid.
Q: I feel like these last movies are a real kind of who’s who of the entire series and a lot of throwbacks to the older movies. Is there a particular like, fan service moment or like, “Hey, that guy,” or something that you liked, or something that we’ll actually be surprised by that may not have even been in the book? Or, people who show up?
Radcliffe: Oh God. Who’s coming back?
Q: Everyone’s coming back.
Radcliffe: Everyone comes back basically. Everyone is involved in some way. I don’t know to be honest. So much of the really cool stuff is put in later in visual effects. Because what I love in films I love in the sixth film, Robert Knox actually I believe it was, reading a book in the library, and from the angle of the camera you can see that he’s got like, some sort of wizard’s version of a dirty book in the middle of it that he’s actually looking at. It’s in the bottom corner of the screen and it’s nothing pornographic you understand, (Laughs) but this is not like what was the film? Was there some animated film where they don’t realize that the animators have put a lot of quite obscene?
Q: So you do revisit the films?
Radcliffe: I see every film on average about, generally about three or four times, but never after the premiere. So I see it once before the premiere and then I might see it again with my parents so they have a look. And then…
>Q: They can approve.
Radcliffe: Yeah, exactly. And then approve me as their son.
Q: He’s still in the family.
Radcliffe: (Laughs) Yeah, exactly. Well, one of my favorite “Simpsons” lines is when Bart’s in a golf tournament and he’s against Ned Flanders’ son and as Homer packs him off he goes, “Remember son, if you lose, you’re out of the family.” That’s always been a favorite line. And then, I see it once at each premiere and then that’s it.
Q: So you haven’t been back like, ’cause the first one just came back on Blu-ray. You haven’t been back to look and look at yourself in high definition?
Radcliffe: Well, that’s I guess how I’m seeing myself now. But, yeah, so it’s not something I do particularly go back to. I see, occasionally, clips of them, and that’s more than enough to put me off. So I’ve seen ‘em, yeah.
Q: Can you talk a little bit about the nude scene that you had to do?
Radcliffe: It is not really a nude scene. I’ve done a nude scene. But no, I mean, there’s a fair amount of stripping off in the things, but it’s only down to the pants really, at the very most I think. There’s one scene where I had to kind of because I’m jumping into a pool of ice and crack the ice, and I’m jumping into this icy pool and yeah, obviously I had to be in my pants for that. Ron saves me at the last minute and I dress in a hurry. But yeah, I mean, it doesn’t really worry me anymore particularly. (Laughs) I mean, it’s fine and this time around, they even heated the water which was really nice. So you’re quite cold out of the water, but when you’re in it, it was very nice. But, there was one day on this film when me, Rupert and Everett and it was a Friday and not how you want to spend a Friday. We were outside and it was the only time that I’ve seen myself and Rupert actually kind of like, we sort of had to stop filming for 15 minutes because the shot was, we just dropped off the dragon’s back into this lake and we’re coming out of the lake explaining a load of story. And, as we’re explaining it, me and Rupert are stripping off our clothes and changing into dry clothes. And, Emma wasn’t obviously changing in the shot, so she had a dry suit on underneath her costume. But, because me and Rupert were changing in this shot, we couldn’t, so we were starting toward it and we were absolutely and we don’t like, me and Rupert, we don’t like, let it bother us. It was fine. But then, we actually got pulled out of the water because Rupert particularly had turned purple. It was one of those really cold. It was cold man. It was Black Friday. But other than that, it’s been fine and we’re very warm normally. That’s not required of us often, so it’s absolutely fine while we get the extra.
Q: Can you talk a little bit about recently with Dumbledore on King’s Cross?
Radcliffe: Yeah, I mean, we filmed that quite recently and it’s a really interesting scene. I mean, it’s one of my favorite scenes in the book and it was another one of those scenes where I sort of was heaping the pressure onto it before I was there because I sort of knew what an important scene it is in the film.
Q: What did you do to prepare?
Radcliffe: I mean, my preparation is mainly just knowing the lines and getting in and just knowing where your character is. I mean, there was nothing great. I don’t know what even Daniel Day-Lewis would necessarily do to prepare for a scene in the afterlife. I don’t know how you’d do that even if you are the most Method of Method actors, which I am not. So, the preparation is mainly to start going through the scene and knowing it, and not just knowing it in terms of the text, but knowing what it’s about and having ideas that you can put in on the day. And the whole point of the scene for me and the place that I played it from was the fact that actually this is quite nice. You know, so playing it from the point of view that he actually doesn’t want to go back and he’d quite like to stay and just be absorbed by the divine sort of light that is around him. But, it obviously doesn’t happen. He goes back, otherwise we’d lose 20 minutes of film.
Q: Have you started thinking about post-Potter things besides like, a really long vacation?
Radcliffe: I don’t want a long vacation at all.
Q: You want to go back to work?
Radcliffe: No, I want to keep working immediately.
Q: Are there projects that you’re thinking about, or maybe want to play?
Radcliffe: There’s loads of stuff I’m thinking about yeah, there’s nothing confirmed yet. No, nothing confirmed yet, but hopefully sort of, I should start to know more sort of within the next sort of month or so hopefully.
Q: What kind of stuff do you hope to do? More wizarding?
Radcliffe: I can’t get enough. No, I have to play a wizard and with glasses. Every character I do seem to play seems to have glasses.
Q: Why is that?
Radcliffe: I don’t know. I’ve got perfect eyesight.
Q: So the next one’s not gonna have glasses?
Radcliffe: Actually, the next one will potentially. I’m just talking to myself, you don’t know what I’m thinking. (Laughs) But, I’m thinking about if he would have glasses, probably not, no.
Q: Would that be the Dan Eldon project?
Radcliffe: I mean, I’m still very much attached to that, but that’s not happening in the next little while unfortunately because that’s still something that I definitely want to pursue. So, that one, we have to wait for. But, fortunately with that one, we do have a little bit of time to play with as I’m still sort of a few years younger than Dan was, so we’ve got a little bit of leeway there which is very, very nice.
Q: And is working outside the actor’s sphere like, producing and directing something you’re ever interested in?
Radcliffe: I mean, I’d love to direct something at some point, definitely. I’d be very, very excited and yeah, and I believe I’d really enjoy it, I do think that. So, it’s just about finding the right script and the right time. I’ve got a little way to go. I’ve got quite a way to go in terms of, I think, having enough confidence and feeling that I know enough, my way around a film set enough to although, as a film school goes, you sort of can’t do much better than being here for 10 years. It’s pretty nice.
Q: Could you talk a bit about the moment where there are seven Harry Potters on screen?
Radcliffe: Yeah, absolutely. That was one of the most sort of daunting scenes to do because it was a highly technical visual effects scene. A lot of it’s more just painstakingly slow than it is complex, but in terms of basically how we did it, I mean, there was one shot which was 95 takes. Yes, you may well recoil (Laughs) because basically if I’m here in the scene and that’s the real Harry, then we filmed say seven or eight takes of me playing the scene as me and then keep the camera, so it’s a motion controlled camera, so it’s controlled by computers so it can recreate exactly the same move, exactly the same time every time. And so, I stand there, we do the take with just me standing there and then the camera continues it’s move which was panning around. And at this point it’s panning around just an empty space. And then we do the next take and the camera goes through the same move, but instead I’m standing here and pretending to be Fleur or whoever mid-starting to take the drink and then to transform. And the camera pans around us all. And so, basically we filmed it each time sort of in seven different places. That’s how it’s done, but at the end of the day we were then shown a very primitive version of what it was going to look like eventually. And after 95 takes you’re kind of crawling up the walls anyway. And it was the most gratifying thing to see how good it looked because it really does look great because you know how normally in films if there’s a scene with one person playing two people you’re sort of aware that the screen’s been split and that they’re always like, this far apart, you know? But, in this scene, it’s great because everyone’s overlapping and it’s all arms and hands and it should be really effective and it did take a long time to get right because if I stood one inch too far to my left, then I was in fact standing on the feet of the me that was then going to be visual effects in later. So, yeah, it was a tricky scene to do, but ultimately very, very gratifying, and fun to be able to do the kind of impersonations, some of them are very sort of there was no middle ground. They either were almost so subtle that you will have no idea which character it’s supposed to be, or so caricatured and exaggerated that you can be in absolutely no doubt which character I’m playing. I didn’t manage to find particularly a middle ground on that day, but it’ll be very obvious which one’s Mundungus.
Q: Is it with a French accent perhaps?
Radcliffe: No, I didn’t, but because I don’t think they’re going with my voice.
Q: Is this one of the hardest scenes you’ve ever had to shoot in terms of time? You said you had to shoot 95 takes.
Radcliffe: 95 takes is the most I’ve ever done, yes.
Q: For one scene?
Radcliffe: Definitely, for one shot. For one shot.
Q: Is there anything that you’re gonna ask for to take as a keepsake?
Radcliffe: The glasses, definitely. I’d really like the glasses, and hopefully the lenseless ones because they’re the ones I wore most. So, I’d like them more than the proper ones. Yeah, definitely them. Even the wand is not such a big deal to me because the wand was different in the first two films. So even that hasn’t been a constant through all seven. So yeah, it’s the glasses would definitely be the keepsake for me I think, yeah. I’d like a pair from the first film as well, but I found my script from the first film the other day, all highlighted up, yeah, it was good.
Q: The first six films are sort of a study in sacrifices because you’re turning these big books into two-and-a-half hour movies. This you now have two films. Are we going to see a film that’s much more faithful to the book?
Radcliffe: We’ll have to sacrifice some stuff, but the point of doing it over two is so you cannot take the whole story in over one film. You can’t because in all the other films, the things we have sacrificed have generally been things that are subplots and things, they don’t drive the story along. But in this, there really are no subplots, and if there are subplots, they’re equally important of the plot as the main plot. So, there really is so little you can cut that in fact that was the reason we knew we had to do it in two. So hopefully, we will have allowed ourselves to be even more thankful to the books, yeah.