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Filming an anti-war film

Today the village Hjelle in Stryn has looked back 72 years in time. Famous Norwegian, British and German actors film the closing scene of the blockbuster Comrade.

Nordfjord municipality has had visits from stars the past two weeks. Rupert Grint, known as Harry Potter’s best friend Ron Weasley, has the lead role in the film which is based on a true story from the days of the war. In an air battle over Strynefjellet, English and German pilots shot each other down. The enemies find their way to the same hunting cabin. Isolated from the outside world they have to fight to survive the Norwegian winter, and gradually a friendship develops between the soldiers from either side of the conflict.

A large part of the filming has taken place at Grotli on Strynefjellet. Since Thursday of last week, Hjelle in Oppstryn has been taken back to the days of war spring 1940. It is here that some of the film’s closing scenes are shot today, the film is expected to be released next spring.

Petter Næss, best known for “Elling,” is the director of an impressive team of actors. In addition to Grint, one of the most famous German actors of today, Florian Lukas, is playing the German pilot. On the list of actors, are also well-known Norwegian names such as Knut Joner, Morten Faldaas, Stig Henrik Hoff and Sondre Krogtoft Larsen.


Original article found here: bt.no | April 14, 2011

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”Harry Potter” star had a laughing fit from Norwegian food.

“Harry Potter” actor Rupert Grint (23) was thrown into some real challenges when he filmed a Norwegian film with Stig Henrik Hoff (46) on Bjorli.

The two spent a lot of time together earlier this year when filming “Into the White” by director Petter Næss.

We ate moss soup, real moss soup, over and over. It didn’t taste particularly good, Rupert Grint is used to a lot of different things, and me as well since I’m a trained chef out of Bagatelle! We had to do the take many times while we were shuffling food off the plate and he started to laugh so much, Stig Henrik Hoff says about the filming of a scene which included the unique Norwegian dish.

The film is about the drama that took place in the Norwegian mountains north of Gudbrandsdalen during the war when German and British soldiers shot each other down and were forced to survive together in the same cabin. And the victims would then have to resort to what nature had to offer in order to get nourishment.

Director Næss made a scoop when he secured the world famous Potter-star. And Hoff got along with his English colleague immediately.

He’s and all-around gentleman. Charming, funny and a f****** good actor!
Always bloody well prepared, the script just spurts right out of him. Had he been a sour movie star with diva-like qualities it would have been absolutely awful, but he certainly wasn’t anything like that, Hoff says.

He got to experience a taste of the fan frenzy surrounding the “Harry Potter” star. Outside the studio, where they filmed in Sweden, there were hundreds of hopeful fans at all times, who wanted a little bit of Rupert Grint.





But Rupert always keeps calm and takes his time with the fans.

Hoff plays the German navigator Wolfgang Strunk in the film.

“Dirty-German”

He is a man of few words and Hoff speaks German in the film, a language he had only a limited knowledge of from before.

I only knew “dirty-German” from the 8th grade, I sat in the back row and talked dirty to the ladies, chuckles Hoff who had great consultant help to make the German stick.

Besides Grint and Hoff, the film has German Florian Lukas and David Kross and British Lachlan Nieboer on the cast list.

Hoff belives that director Petter Næss is the main reason that the filming went smoothly with an international cast.

He’s an amazing director, he stops and listens when it’s needed and makes clear decisions. He’s an actor himself and he knows exactly what he wants.






Original article found here: www.vg.no November 30, 2011


Translated by Malene

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Rupert Grint talks about love, hair & life after Harry Potter

IN the last ever Harry Potter movie Ron Weasley finally gets the girl.

Soaking wet in the Chamber of Secrets at Hogwarts after yet more world saving antics, Ron and Hermione’s will they/won’t they? love story comes to a climax with a passionate kiss.

But off screen, even now the phenomenally successful series of movies has come to an end, actor Rupert Grint says he has to be wary about female attention.

Rupert is single and isn’t actively looking for a future Mrs Grint.

The 23-year-old occasionally parties in London but prefers to stay with his family and old friends around Watford.

And he admits he has to be careful about the intentions of new people he meets.

He says: “I am not dating at the moment. I guess I get a bit more attention than I would do anyway. It’s weird being recognised most places you go. That has been a learning curve over the years, trusting people and working out what their intentions are.

“It’s cool though. I am enjoying myself and enjoying being single.

“I am never on the hunt for girls. If it happens, it happens. It’s not something I am consciously looking for.

“I go local and go out in London. I like going out clubbing occasionally but I really like karaoke. Beastie Boys and Summer Loving are my favourites.”

Rupert effectively grew up on the set of the Harry Potter films.

But the months since he finally said goodbye to Hogwarts, Harry (played by Daniel Radcliffe) and Hermione (Emma Watson) have seen him on an emotional roller-coaster as he comes to terms with life after Ron.

The cinema premiere of the final film, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, in July was one of the biggest Britain has seen with a red carpet in the heart of London which stretched from Trafalgar Square to Leicester Square. But after the last big party came the hangover…

“I do remember waking up after the premiere and thinking there is no more Potter,” he says wistfully. “It felt like the premiere was closure, I felt this is really it. It has taken me a while to come fully to terms with that. I felt it a lot on the last day of filming when they said cut for the final time, it was a massive moment because it really has taken over my life.

“I can’t remember before the time before the Harry Potter films and suddenly it was all over.

“It was such a long time, half my life, and suddenly it all came down to one scene – and we never came back.”

Leavesden Studios, near Watford, Herts, where all eight movies were filmed, is to open next year as a £100million attraction with all the props and sets to create a lasting reminder of the series.

A new state of the art studio is also being built next door which will make it a hub for film-making. We took Rupert back to the studios where he first started playing Harry’s sidekick aged just 11. “It’s a bit weird coming back,” he admits.

“I’ve seen all the plans and drawings and stuff. I think it is going to be amazing.” The relentless filming schedule saw the Hertfordshire lad spend most of his life at the studio. Luckily, his family lived nearby and in the few weeks off from shooting he often spent it shooting low-budget films – Thunderpants, Driving Lessons and Cherrybomb.

But the end of Potter saw him finally take a long break. “I have not been in too much of a rush to do anythingreally,” he says. “It has been nice to catch up on a few things and have a bit of freedom. I did a film earlier this year called Comrade, a Second World War movie set in Norway – that was pretty cool. Apart from that I have just been relaxing.

“I haven’t been on holiday for a few years so I just did normal things really. But having control over your life is good – and having control over your own hair is great – not that I’ve done anything with it. Emma changed hers though. We all keep in touch and we text each other. We’ll always be close.”

The cast so very nearly got a permanent reminder of their time together. “There was talk between us about doing something like a tattoo,” he says. “It would have been something subtle like Harry’s lightning scar. It would’ve been a great way of marking the end of filming.”

Though the franchise has been lucrative, Rupert doesn’t live the life of a young multi-millionaire playboy. He has now left home and bought a house near Watford – not in a fashionable part of London – which he has kitted out.

“I haven’t gone for the big London bachelor pad, not yet. Maybe in the future. I have got a few cool things in the house and I kind of collect weird antiques. My most recent was a Victorian artificial limb with three attachments for a hand. It’s a bit freaky but it’s cool.

“I love cars. I have three but they are not like super-cars or anything.”

After his break, and this final interview ahead of the release of the last Potter DVD, Rupert is ready to look for work.

So what about the biggest role of all, James Bond?

“A ginger Bond? Why not? That would be cool. But I can’t really see it myself.”


Original article found here: mirror.co.uk | November 29, 2011

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From Enemies to Friends

In April 1940, two fighter pilots fight each other. A British and a German. Trapped in the wilderness, they seek shelter in the same cabin and through time, they form a friendship. A new film about flying gentlemen and the absurdity of war.

The fact that reality often surpasses fantasy is unquestionable when you hear screenwriter Olde Meldgaard talk about his latest manuscript for the film, Comrade, which is currently in the last phases of editing at Zentropa in Norway.

The film is a war film – or rather an antiwar film – based on a real incident during World War II.

Comrade means friend or co-worker – but this is not about comrades at war, but about declared enemies who are brought together by fate in the wilderness under circumstances that make it absurd to maintain the hostility – and where they see each other as the people they really are after having fought to the death.

War is absurd
The story plays out at the end of April, 1940. The German fighter pilot, Lieutenant Horst Schopis, and the British fighter pilot, Captain Richard T. Partridge, enter an aerial combat against each other, and both the German and the British planes are forced to do an emergency landing in the Norwegian wilderness, where it’s still icy wintertime.

Independently of each other and only a few hours apart, they arrive at the same isolated cabin where they live under the same roof for a while.

Of course, it is impossible to maintain the hostility under these circumstances, and that’s what this film is about, Ole Meldgaard says.

He calls it an antiwar film, and during the film’s two hours – only one shot is fired.

The message is that war is absurd.

Enemies become friends
That war is absurd is also an opinion shared by Horst Schopis, who is 98 years old today, and who has been giving interviews because of the film.

Previously, he has described the events in his book, “Luftkampfgegner wurden Freunde”.

Captain Richard T. Partridge, who was his opponent in the aerial combat has also described the events in a book. He called his book “Operation Skua” named after the type of plane he flew.

The descriptions are similar in the two books, when it comes to the aftermath on land while they disagree on what happened in the aerial combat – especially on whether or not it was a German bullet that caused the British plane to have engine problems and thereby had to do an emergency landing.

Met again
Had Horst Schopis been the big bad Nazi who is often portrayed in films, he wouldn’t have hesitated shooting the British crew when they met in the wilderness. The Germans were armed whereas the British were not.

But he clarifies that he has never been a member of a political party and that when he flew the bombers of the Nazi regime, it was only because this was his job. It was what the German state thought that he should do, he wanted peace himself, he says to Jyllands Posten (The Jutland Post, Danish newspaper).

35 years after Horst Schopis and Richard T. Partridge met each other in an aerial combat 4000 metres up in the air, they met each other again. The occasion was that the British authorities had decided to excavate Richard T. Partridge’s Blackburn Skua, and Horst Schopis lived at Richard T. Partridge’s house in Sussex for a few days.

This led to several phone conversations and one additional visit before Richard T. Partridge died in 1990 – 80 years old.

Writer and teacher
Ole Meldgaard, who is an educated screenwriter from Filmskolen (Film School, Denmark), has previously released the collection of short stories, “Why don’t we ever do anything fantastic” and he has written several manuscripts for tv-series such as “Taxa” and “Defense” – and all 24 episodes of the adult Christmas series, “The Christmas Testament”.

However, he had never imagined that he would be writing a manuscript for a war film, but this is really a very different war film. There are no big war scenes – the film is closer to a “kammerspil” (a Swedish term for a certain type of drama; the definition is: an intense drama with few people in a confined location with particular emphasis on the psychological intensity and meant for close, personal scenes).

Ole Meldgaard was approached by Zentropa after they heard of the story, and when Ole Meldgaard got to know it, it moved him deeply.

“Something clicked inside of me – I wanted to do this story.” He says.

Ole Meldgaard has a good working relationship with the film’s director, Norwegian Petter Næss.

It is an international film with known actors from England, Germany and Norway, for example Rupert Grint, who is known for his role as Ron Weasley in the Harry Potter films, and Florian Lukas who is known from the film, “Goodbye Lenin”.

The film has finished filming, and is now in editing. It is to be shown at a film festival, probably in Berlin, and is expected to premiere in the early summer, 2012.

Besides his education as screenwriter, Ole Meldgaard is also an educated teacher, and teaches at a local school in Dragør – and that is an everyday pleasure, he says.

If you ask about his dreams about his future, the answer falls promptly:

“To keep on being a teacher and then make something big, like this film, every three years or so.”

And then Ole Meldgaard thinks that it would be amazing if Comrade could premiere in the local cinema in Dragør, Dragør Bio.


Original article found here: Dragør Nyt


September 20, 2011


Translation by Malene and Majbritt

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– He wipes his ass with “Mein Kampf”

Petter Næss has with him the “Harry Potter” star Rupert Grint in his claustrophobic war drama.

HAUGESUND: In April 1940 when the Germans brought the second world war to Norway, two planes crashed over Strynefjellet (Stryne Mountain). They had shot each other down. One of them British, the other German.
The two crews do not expect to see the others alive, but end up seeking shelter from the harrowing cold in the same cottage.

This is the setting for Petter Næss’ newest film, the multilingual, Norwegian, claustrophobic drama, “Comrade”. Among others, the “Harry Potter” star Rupert Grint plays a big part in the film which Næss introduced during the Film Festival in Haugesund yesterday.

Intimate
– The film balances between intensity, discomfort and liberating humour, Næss tells Dagbladet after the introduction.

Most of “Comrade” takes places inside the cottage, up close to the five stranded men – filmed in a refrigerated warehouse in Sweden. In order to keep the film intense and exciting, Næss utilised his extensive experience from theatre.

– I demanded that all the actors should be present during every take. Then I directed them alone at first, before they acted out the scenes with the crew as an audience, he says, and tells us that it created a great sense of unity.

– I watched how the audience paid attention and what they thought was exciting. It made everyone very sharp in their performances, Næss said.

Horde of fans after Grint
Stig Henrik Hoff is the only Norwegian actor in a main role even though Næss insists that it is a Norwegian film. Among the cast we also find David Kross who played opposite Kate Winslet in “The Reader” and Rupert Grint.

– I was looking for a temperamental, ginger, street smart, British type. So my agent suggested Rupert, says Næss, who “hasn’t really seen that much Harry Potter.”

– I really had no idea how famour Rupert was, he says, now that he has had his eyes opened to the British star’s horde of fans.

The film has no specific target audience, but Næss thinks that young people will find it refreshing to see adults who are not perfect, and who do not make light of their mishaps. The characters are skillful pilots, but amateurs in the situation they find themselves in.

– They will probably think it funny to watch Grint as the young rebel who wipes his ass with “Mein Kampf”.

Two imperialists
First and foremost, Petter Næss categorises “Comrade” as a Norwegian film, but it has already been sold to England and Germany – among others.

– My hope is that it’ll spark an interest there. Both for the English and the Germans, this is a very new perspective of the war, and the characterisations of enemies that have been set in stone, he says.

He points out that this was a matter of two imperialists. One on its way up, the other on its way down.

– One has to remember that Great Britain had large parts of the world under its control as colonies during this time. It is a debate which arises in the film, the director says, and continues:

– It’s a film about breaking down prejudices.

”Comrade” will be coming to theatres in February.

STARSTUDDED WAR DRAMA: Petter Næss introduced fresh clips from his war drama ”Comrade” during the film festival in Haugesund. The cast includes Rupert Grint, David Kross and Stig Henrik Hoff among others.


Original article found here: dagbladet.no


August 25, 2011


Translation by Malene and Majbritt

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International production of comrades

”Film financing today is a patchwork for better or worse.”

– The fascinating aspect of this story is that it turns the image of the enemy upside down. The Norwegians in the film are a threat to the main characters, says director Petter Næss about his upcoming antiwar film Comrade.

– The film has a classic and simple premise which brings down war to a personal level. It is about enemies who are forced to relate to one another and thereby challenging enemy images and prejudices, Petter Næss says.
On today’s “Mini-screen” at Totalen Kaffebar he is going to present his next feature film Comrade which is based on a true story about a German plane and a British plane that shot each other down over Norway during the days of the war. The soldiers from both wreckages sought refuge in the same cabin where both cooperation and friendship arose between them.
– I had a motto for the actors which was that everything they do is for the first time in their lives. The characters are trained pilots but it is the first time that they are shot down. It is the first time that they struggle through two-three meters of snow, they freeze, starve and have no idea where they are – and it is the first time that they encounter the enemy face to face.
On the list of actors, there is the Harry Potter star Rupert Grint and Florian Lukas from Good Bye Lenin. Comrade will premiere in spring 2012 and is Zentropa International Norway’s first Norwegian production. The film did not get production support from the Norwegian Film Institute, but is supported by several regional funds in Norway. Among these is Filmfondet Fuzz, which is why the film is edited in Bergen during the day.
– Film financing today is a patchwork for better or worse. It has also led me to work with some amazingly talented people from Germany on the production design, costume and makeup. This is an exciting and important story for the Germans who are usually portrayed in a completely different way in these kinds of films, the director says.

What do you think is the reason for the many World War II films being made these days?
– There has always been quite a profound interest in the heroic stories from the war in Norway, considering Shetlandsgjengen, Ni liv etcetera. The war was a state of emergency where you were seriously put to the test – ethically and morally, but also in terms of surviving. Of course there is a lot of drama and tension in the material from this, he answers. But he adds that he has never been particularly fascinated with the Second World War.
– This is not about the Oslo gang and how they chased the enemies out of our country. There are many more perspectives on the incidents from the war. These German pilots were told that they had to liberate Norway from the British which at this time had colonized a third of the world. As one of the German characters says: Maybe what our countries are doing is not that different.
The productive director is also working on a project about the German women and how the Norwegian authorities treated them.
– It is a dark story about how we, as a peace-loving nation, haven’t reconciled with our own, he says.
Næss also emphasizes the humor and the absurdity of Comrade as elements that attracted him.
– For example, they run out of toilet paper and Rupert Grint’s character has to use pages from “Mein Kampf” instead. This does not create the best atmosphere, the director says with a chuckle.


Original article found here: Haugesund International Film Festival August 24, 2011


Translated by Malene and Majbritt

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‘Harry Potter’ Star Rupert Grint: What’s Next?

‘I’m not sure I’m going to miss it,’ actor tells MTV News of ‘Potter.’

Rupert Grint has always been the comic relief when it comes to the Big Three actors in “Harry Potter,” but with the final film opening in theaters Friday (July 15), he is ready to spread his wings and try out some new projects.

“Anything really different, really,” Grint replied when MTV News asked him what his plans are next. “Playing the same character for 10 years really does give you this thirst for new things. I’m not sure I’m going to miss it. I am looking forward to this kind of newfound freedom. Just see where it takes me.”

He certainly seems to be trying to get away from “Potter” as much as possible. Grint’s next project is his anti-war film “Comrade,” which began filming March 28 in Norway. Directed by Petter Næss and costarring David Kross, Florian Lukas and Stig Henrik Hoff, the movie tells the story of English and German pilots who are forced to work together to survive the brutal Norwegian winter; it is a very far cry from anything Grint has done in “Potter.”

After that, his next project is looking more and more likely to be “Eddie the Eagle,” a biopic about British skier Eddie Edwards, the first competitor to represent the U.K. in Olympic ski jumping. Though it still doesn’t have a writer or director attached, Grint is optimistic that production will get under way soon.

“It’s a story that I really like and it’s still in the working yet. I still have faith that it will happen,” he told MTV News. “It’s been in kind of development for a while, but yeah, hopefully it will come up.”

Of all the “Potter” stars, Grint has been the one to have the most big-screen experience. In 2002 he starred in the children’s comedy “Thunderpants,” then followed it up with 2006’s dramedy “Driving Lessons.” Somehow he managed to find time over the past few years during his busy “Potter” shooting schedule to squeeze out two 2010 releases as well: “Cherrybomb” and “Wild Target.”

And the fans respect him for it. When MTV’s Next Movie site ran a recent poll asking readers who they thought would be the most successful “Potter” star, Grint won by a whopping 43 percent. If that doesn’t work out, though, he always has a side career as an ice cream man.


Original article found here: mtv.com| July 18th, 2011

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Rupert Grint’s gruelling film role

Rupert Grint has revealed that he was kept on his toes during a film shoot in severe weather.

In his first role since Harry Potter, the British star headed to Norway and Sweden to film Second World War movie Comrade, which is directed by Norwegian filmmaker Petter Naess.

“It was filmed in April, in winter, it was freezing, and we were just on a mountain in this really remote part of Norway. It was quite extreme,” he recalled.

Despite the tough conditions, Rupert – better known for playing Harry’s best friend Ron Weasley in the wizarding saga – found it exhilarating.

“It was good fun as well, it was something completely different, but I really enjoyed it,” he continued.

“I play a British, Scouse RAF gunner. It’s a great story, because it’s a true story. David Cross from The Reader plays one of the Nazi pilots who have to live together to survive in this harsh climate.”

The 22-year-old was drawn to the war element in Comrade

“It’s a part of history I’m really interested. It’s not really a story so much about the violence of war, it’s just a story of survival really and these two groups of enemies coming together and forming this friendship,” he said.

And he plans to keep switching between bigger Hollywood films and smaller indie movies, such as Cherrybomb and Wild Target. “My future is a bit blurry at the moment. I definitely want to keep acting and finding different roles,” he added.

Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows – Part 2 is out now.


Original article found here: belfasttelegraph.co.uk| July 17th, 2011

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Rupert Grint comes to terms with fame – and that kiss

If Rupert Grint hadn’t won a Ron Weasley look-alike contest sponsored by a London newspaper 10 years ago, he might be driving an ice cream truck for a living.

That, after all, was his ambition.

Instead, he is starring in “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2,” which adds to his bank account of several million dollars. He used some of it to buy himself an ice cream truck.

Grint, 22, plays a sidekick who not only gets the girl but emerges as a hero. Yet as I sit with Grint for this interview, I again get the impression that he doesn’t care a hoot about the whole thing.

“I’m glad it’s over,” he said of the “Potter” decade in which he appeared in eight feature films. “And yet, I’m sad, too. There will always be a part of Ron in me.”

He calls himself a “ginger head.” “Some girls don’t like red-headed guys,” he said. “It’s not the coolest thing. Can be a hassle.”

Then he became a movie star. “I was always a shy kid,” he said. “It took me a long time to adjust. The thing is that, suddenly, I could never be invisible. I couldn’t go to shopping centers. Then I just opened it up. I didn’t hide from it. That’s when I realized that you can’t get away from it. You can’t turn it off and on.”

This last “Potter” movie is his favorite. “It’s just a bigger feeling,” he said. “Everything is faster and bigger. It’s quite a different feeling from any of the other movies.”

He loved scenes with goblins. He identified his least favorite scene quickly: “the kissing scene.”

Although much of the world was waiting to see Ron make out with Hermione, played by Emma Watson, he admitted that “both Emma and I were dreading that scene.”

“I’ve known Emma for a long time. Kissing her is not on the agenda. I mean, she’s gorgeous and all that, but you know what I mean. She’s like my sister. As actors, we thought it should be enough if we could just persuade everyone to think they were in love and wanted to kiss.”

It took four takes to get the serious smooching right.

Now, Grint is shooting a World War II drama in Norway called “Comrade,” scheduled for release next year. It’s about British and German soldiers who are stranded in the Norwegian wilderness and must form a friendship to survive.

He also stars in the independent thriller “Cross Country.” In the 2010 independent action comedy “Wild Target” with Bill Nighy and Emily Blunt, he plays a young man who believes he’s working for a private detective but is actually working for a hit man.

In New York for the American premiere of “Deathly Hallows: Part 2,” he seemed surprised to be a bit torn up about saying goodbye to the franchise.

“It’s been an emotional week,” he said. “I didn’t think it would be, but goodbye is goodbye, no matter how you cut it.”


Original article found here: hamptonroads.com| July 17th, 2011

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For ‘Potter’ kids, a magical journey

As the decade-long saga comes to a close, and after all manner of magical exploits dazzle Muggle moviegoers, the final image on screen in “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2” is low-key. The trio of young wizards stand silently side-by-side, their expressions revealing exhaustion, relief, triumph and anticipation.

This seems a fitting visual for the actors who have brought J.K. Rowling’s characters of Harry Potter, Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley to vivid life.

On Friday, the final movie in the eight-film series opens amid much fanfare and some nostalgia.

Daniel Radcliffe, 21, Emma Watson, 21, and Rupert Grint, 22, embarked on the Potter series as children not knowing what magical mystery tour awaited them. They have come out the other end as experienced adult actors with intriguing futures beckoning — though, with the millions each earned for the eight films, they could afford to take a very long sabbatical.

“Emma was 10 and Daniel and Rupert were 11 when I started writing for them,” says “Potter” screenwriter Steve Kloves. “I wrote appropriately for their age group. But by the end, I wrote as challenging material for them as I did for Michael Gambon (who plays Hogwarts headmaster Albus Dumbledore) or anybody else. In fact, I think I gave them the most challenging material.”

The series may be named after the bespectacled boy wizard, but his two best buddies have been just as instrumental in keeping record-breaking numbers of fans bewitched by the Potter films, the most financially successful film franchise of all time, having earned $6.4 billion worldwide to date.

“Casting the three was the single most important decision in the history of these movies,” Kloves says. “At the end of the day, the series will live and die on the strength of those three children. It won’t live and die on how cool a dragon looks. I think Jo Rowling would admit the plot is quite secondary to the characters and what they embody and represent.”

Where to from here?

Now that the final film is about to hit theaters, and the globally famous trio of young actors has walked the red carpet in London for the eighth and final time, their adult careers loom. They have morphed from wide-eyed, slightly gawky kids to full-fledged, graceful actors.

When half of your life has been spent making the most popular films in history, where do you go from there?

For Watson, spending a decade on the “Potter” set has been what she’s known best. “I’ve grown up doing this so it doesn’t feel like a job. It feels like part of my identity.”

All three have taken roles while on breaks from shooting Potter, but now the next phase of their lives begins in earnest. “Little did I know when I started that I would be watching the last film while starring in a play on Broadway,” says Radcliffe, who is playing the lead role in the revival of the 1952 musical “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying.”

“There are so many things I will miss about Harry and playing the part. There are some things I won’t miss, but I will miss playing an action hero. It’s bittersweet, absolutely.”

Grint was struck by sadness on the final day of filming, particularly after Radcliffe made an emotional speech about his production “family.”

“The last day of filming was unexpectedly more emotional than I thought it would be,” he says. “It was a weird feeling when we finished. I didn’t know what to do with myself. I felt kind of lost, really, without it. But it was a relief, too. I was exhausted and looking forward to having a bit of freedom. I was also quite sad because a huge part of my life had ended.”

Her years spent in the company of her two pals, Ron and Harry, left a deep imprint on Watson. “I’m going to miss it so much,” she says. “There’s a big hole to fill. Dan, Rupert and I have this amazing chemistry because we have years and years of history. David (Yates, the director) kept saying, “Use this bond you really have and bring it to the movie.’ And we really did try.”

Yates says Radcliffe relished being the series emissary.

“He is older than his years,” says Yates. “He would readily enjoy the role, especially when we had guests, because he is Harry Potter, basically.”

But Radcliffe also longs to be other characters.

In order to attempt something far removed from the magical world of Hogwarts, he took the role of ambitious young J. Pierrepont Finch in the musical.

During a break in “Potter” filming in 2007, Radcliffe also played the lead role in “Equus” on London’s West End and later on Broadway.

But “How to Succeed” called upon entirely different skills from riding a broomstick or acting with giant puppet creatures.

“I took a lot of dance lessons,” he says. “It’s not something I had a natural ability for. I just had to take a lot of time and learn it. The musical is a huge amount of fun. It’s not like Equus where it was a physical and mental effort.”

But Radcliffe has always been one for a challenge, according to those who have watched him grow up on set. Still, he recently owned up to drinking rather heavily in his late teens, during the filming of “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” in 2007 and 2008.

“I became reliant on (alcohol) to enjoy stuff,” he said in the latest issue of British GQ. “There were a few years there when I was just so enamored with the idea of living some sort of famous person’s lifestyle that really isn’t suited to me.”

He says he hasn’t had a drink since August 2010. Indeed, at the November premiere of the last film, “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1” in London, he told USA TODAY that he signed autographs for fans gathering for days in Leicester Square, then skipped the premiere after-party.

“I came straight home,” he said the day after the London premiere. “I had a bowl of Sugar Puffs. I treated myself. I actually had some Ben & Jerry’s as well. I did not wake up with even a remotely sore head.”

Chris Columbus, who cast the trio and directed the first two “Potter” films (“The Sorcerer’s Stone” and “The Chamber of Secrets”), says he saw his job as “making those kids feel like they were in a really welcoming, warm, comfortable environment. They didn’t have a lot of experience, and they needed that to be able to perform.”

Columbus adds: “If we could have looked ahead 10 years and known it would be as successful as it has been, I think we all would have been a little more relaxed.”

But in those early films, Columbus says, he spent a lot of time standing beside the camera, encouraging the kids to focus on their lines.

“On that first film, at any one point any one of those kids would be distracted, so we had three, sometimes four, cameras running all the time,” he says. “The first film was shot a bit like a documentary because the kids were in such awe of being on a set that they’d say a line and then look at each other and smile or look up at the lights and start to laugh.”

Mature films beckon

Those days are long gone. All three are seasoned pros, and their upcoming projects don’t have a whiff of magic about them:

Radcliffe has “Woman in Black,” a horror thriller coming out in January.

Watson made a film called “My Week With Marilyn,” out in November. A young style icon, she recently took a leave from Brown University to create her own fashion line for People Tree and her eco-friendly Pure Threads. She also has modeled in Lancome ads.

Grint just finished shooting the World War II drama “Comrade,” which comes out next year. It’s based on the true story of a pair of British RAF pilots who shoot down a plane with Nazi fighters and then crash on a mountainside in Norway.

After playing a cheeky character known for comic relief, Grint was happy to undertake something weightier.

“To film in a different country where it was minus-25 and snow up to your knees was a real experience,” says Grint. “It was a lot more comfortable working on “Harry Potter’ when you have this big dressing room and there’s a bit more luxury. But it was nice to see a different side.”

Grint can’t imagine what next year might be like, with no Potter to return to. “I think it’ll really hit me next year after the DVD has come out and it’s all kind of faded away and become quiet.”
Watson also felt mixed emotions at the end of the Potter era.

“I felt very privileged to have played Hermione,” Watson says. “She’s someone young girls can look up to because she’s true to herself. She’s smart and an incredibly courageous and loyal friend who keeps a cool head in extremely difficult situations.”

The three on-screen pals have remained in touch since filming their final scene, just as their characters do after leaving Hogwarts. But will they still be friends 20 years down the road, as their characters are?

“Oh, yeah,” says Grint. “We’ll always be in touch because we’ve all shared this unique experience together. That will always keep us friends.”


Original article found here: courierpostonline.com | July 11th, 2011

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