20
Jul

Farewell to a very British success story

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Emma Watson grins broadly as she greets Rupert Grint, tottering towards the bar in her Rafael Lopez frock and vertiginous black heels. As they hug, he keeps a steady, protective arm on her.

Meanwhile, Julie Walters is standing by the bar, hugging a towering Robbie Coltrane, while Jason Isaacs and Matt Lewis are enthusiastically posing for pictures.

Looking around, this will probably be the last time the top-drawer cast of Harry Potter – which boasts a raft of Scottish actors including north-east natives Sean Biggerstaff, from Elgin (Oliver Wood), Peter Mullan, from Peterhead (Yaxley) and Shirley Henderson, from Forres (Moaning Myrtle) – are in the same room together, now that the 10-year saga is coming to an end. Daniel Radcliffe is notably absent, due to his Broadway theatre commitments in New York.

Besides the wrap party and the premiere, tonight’s cocktails at the new St Pancras Renaissance London Hotel mark a farewell to the series that has turned many of the cast, with the exception of veterans such as Julie, Robbie, Ralph Fiennes and Michael Gambon, into household names. They’re all fiercely proud of the films.

“I’m glad you didn’t call it a franchise,” said Jason, 48. The Liverpudlian, who portrays villain Lucius Malfoy, continued: “It always upsets me when I hear that because it sounds like someone selling burgers.

“This is one story that’s taken 10 years to tell so beautifully, and with such care, and there isn’t one drop of cynicism in anyone’s participation.”

Robbie – as Rubeus Hagrid – added in his deep voice: “It really ticks me off when people talk about Harry Potter as a franchise. This is about seven years in a boy’s life.”

The last instalment, directed by David Yates, sees the epic battle between Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) and Lord Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes) head towards its earth-shattering conclusion.

All the actors are unsurprisingly sad that the series has reached the end. “We’ve become emotionally tied into it,” says 61-year-old Robbie.

“It’s the first time in my entire career I’ve played a thoroughly good man – a bit of acting was required there,” he quipped, with a hearty laugh.

“Something strangely wonderful has come to an end – am I being terribly sentimental?”

The seven films, based on J. K. Rowling’s best-selling books, have become the highest-grossing film series of all time and a multi-billion pound business, giving Bond a run for his money.

Working its spellbinding magic on the British film industry, particularly within the special effects arena, the saga has left a lasting legacy, proving it is a force to be reckoned with.

“The most remarkable thing David Heyman and Jo Rowling did was to say at the beginning, ‘This will stay in Britain and will be British’,” recalled director David, flanked by producers David Heyman and David Barron.

“This very complicated special effects work would normally be given to American counterparts, but it stayed in England – and the States now sends its work here.”

He added: “It’s created such an infrastructure that will be sorely missed. It will be very hard to follow Potter’s kinetic power – lightning doesn’t strike twice.”

David believes the success of Potter is down to the relatable themes. “It’s about love, death, loss, friendship and loyalty,” he said.

“We all know characters like Harry, Ron and Hermione, we’ve all had teachers like Dumbledore, Snape and Lupin, and haven’t known too many Voldemorts, I hope.

“When it began, I had no idea that 10 years on we’d be sitting here. I hoped it would be another Railway Children or Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. It’s better than I could ever have imagined.”

It’s time to ask Emma – aka Hermione Granger – about her alter ego. “She’s been like a sister, and when people ask what I’ll miss the most, I will actually miss just being her,” said the 21-year-old.

“Hermione is such an incredible young woman, so growing up alongside her definitely made me a better person. I feel so privileged to have played her.”

Rupert, 22, who plays Ron Weasley, added: “Ron has been such a constant part of my life. So it’s weird. Especially this week it’s hit me, because those posters say, ‘It all ends now’. It’s really final.”

In the grand finale, Emma gets to lock lips with Rupert after previously kissing Daniel, as Harry, in the first part.

Asked to compare the two, she looks bashfully over at Rupert and blushes before giving an embarrassed laugh and saying: “I should have seen this one coming. It’s really difficult, as I’ve got to be diplomatic. At least Dan isn’t here so that makes it easier.

“Kissing Dan for that scene was very awkward, as I was half-naked and covered in paint. Kissing Rupert was equally awkward and weird, because we had just been soaked by an enormous bucket of water.

“Once you’ve done it four or five times, kissing gets quite boring.”

For Ralph, 48, best known for playing baddies like Nazi war criminal Amon Goth in Schindler’s List, Red Dragon’s serial killer Francis Dolarhyde and god of the underworld Hades in Clash Of The Titans, playing super-villain Lord Voldemort has been an unexpected pleasure.

“It’s been a wonderful part to play, a high-definition villain, and I’ve loved it as much as I’ve loved working with everyone here,” he said.

“Mostly, I don’t get recognised because I have my own nose and a full head of hair.”

The bane of his filming life was the Dark Lord’s heavy robes, as he admitted: “It’s an irritating costume as it was too long and I would trip over it.”

But the outfit also brought humour. “I started wearing tights underneath, and the gusset would drop down between my thighs and make it difficult to walk with any kind of dignity. So I cut them and turned them into garters. When the stunt team were getting too macho, I would lift up the robes and tease them with my inner thighs.”

As fans mourn the ending of Harry’s magical adventures, Emma is already trying to summon up a spell to reunite her with her screen “brothers” Rupert and Daniel.

“I really hope we’ll find a way to work together again. We’re already scheming,” she teased.

But could there be a new generation of Potter-likes in the future? Not so, according to the film-makers.

“Jo has no plans to write another Harry Potter book. I mean, Harry at the age of 23 going to business school?” said producer David Heyman.

Director David added: “There’s a time and place for certain stories and this series sits uniquely in this period of time. It would be a shame to try to recreate or continue them.”

Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows – Part 2 is now playing at cinemas nationwide.

5,800 – The number of times make-up artists painted Harry Potter’s scar on the head of Daniel and his various stunt doubles.

588 – The number of sets created for the films.

160 – The number of pairs of glasses worn by Daniel during filming.

70 – The number of wands used by Daniel during filming.


Original article found here: pressandjournal.co.uk| July 16th, 2011

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13
Jul

Interview: Harry Potter Cast and Crew Say Goodbye at Final Red Carpet

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It all ends here. And here, this week, was New York City, where Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint and the cast of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 walked their last red carpet for the final Potter premiere … ever. FilmCritic.com was lucky enough to be on the carpet where we tossed questions at the Potter creative team as they posed for pictures, signed autographs for fans, and prepared to say farewell to this beloved film franchise after 10 magical years.

Q: Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy scored a Best Picture Oscar on its final try. Would it matter to you if the Harry Potter franchise managed to do the same?
Rupert Grint: It’s never been something that really mattered to us. This [gesturing at the screaming fans] is a good enough kind of award, just seeing the enthusiasm from our fans. It’s just as pleasing to us as it is to them.

Harry Potter producer David Heyman: Yes, this is our Academy. We are making films for an audience, and this is as rewarding as it gets. Academy recognition would be wonderful, but that’s not what it’s about for us. It’s about these people out here, some of who have been camping out for 6 days. At the London premiere, people traveled from as far away as Brazil and Japan, camping out in the rain to show their support. They are amazing.

Q: Rupert, do you remember the very first scene you filmed as Ron Weasley?

RG: Oh yeah, I remember it clearly. It actually was the very last scene of the first film, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. And I remember it being so sudden. One week, I was in school reading the Harry Potter books, and the next week, I’m on a film set. It was just crazy, and such a high for me.

Q: David, you had such a key role in the casting of these iconic roles.

DH: Well, Emma Watson was always much more beautiful than the way Hermione was described in the books. [Laughs] But you know, [Deathly Hallows director] David Yates said something beautiful the other day, and it’s true. He said that in some ways, we are all standing on the shoulders of [original director] Chris Columbus, because it was he who cast Dan, Rupert and Emma. He cast Alan Rickman and Maggie Smith. I helped and I supported, but it was mostly Chris at the time.

Q: For parents introducing their kids to the Harry Potter franchise for the first time, should they use the movies or J.K. Rowling’s books?

Harry Potter screenwriter Steve Kloves: Start with the books. Well, OK, it depends on how old your kids are. But I would sit every night and read one or two chapters with your kids. That was a great joy that I had with my daughter. And then one of the little deaths of my life occurred when my daughter could read on her own, and she started reading the books without me. But I loved that time, reading Jo’s books with her.

Q: Can you recommend a similar literary series Potter fans can use to fill the void now that the franchise is ending?
SK: Well, actually, the thing that’s different about Potter is that in a way it wasn’t a franchise. We had one long tale written by Jo Rowling. We didn’t end up with Harry fighting Nazis on the moon. [Laughs] I think there will be other decent series out there, but there’s not going to be another Potter because there’ll never be another Jo Rowling.

Q: Any parting words to Harry Potter fans?

Tom Felton: Just a thank you. Every year, they have surprised us with their support and passion, so thank you so much.
DH: Yes, thank you, thank you, thank you. If it weren’t for you, we wouldn’t be here. Thank you very much, Potter fans.


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

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12
Jul

Rupert Grint: I decided against getting a tattoo when Harry Potter finished

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Emma Watson, Rupert Grint and the rest of the Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows cast reveal what it’s like saying goodbye to a magical life at Hogwarts and what’s next for the gang.

‘I’m comparing it to leaving school,’ says Matthew Lewis, aka mild-mannered Neville Longbottom, the unlikely hero of Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows: Part 2. ‘Only when we left school, we didn’t leave in front of 10,000 people in the middle of London. It’s an odd prospect.’ And an emotional one.

Tears were shed off – and on – the red carpet at Thursday’s British premiere of the final Harry Potter movie because it’s not just fans who are saying goodbye to Hogwarts. Metro went to meet its young cast, who are finally graduating from the cosy confines of the highest-grossing film franchise of all time and wondering: what next?

‘It’s been a real mixture of feelings since we finished,’ admits Rupert Grint, aka Harry’s best friend, Ron Weasley, the only cast member to look younger (and no cooler) in real life. ‘I remember looking forward to it. It’s been such a huge commitment and the thought of some freedom seemed really needed.

‘But actually, the last day was really sad,’ Grint adds, his big, blue eyes and white eyelashes making him look like a downcast pet gerbil in need of a cuddle. ‘I kind of underestimated how important these ten years have really been. And since we’ve finished, I’ve kind of felt lost without it. I had all these plans, like getting tattoos and changing my hairstyle, stuff we weren’t allowed to do during production. Then, as soon as I had that freedom, I thought: “Nah, I don’t want to do that.”’

Other cast members were not so conservative. ‘Skiing, bungee jumping, sky-diving – I’ve ticked all those off,’ laughs Tom Felton, unrecognisable as Harry’s rival, Draco Malfoy, thanks to his low-cut Jude Law-style T-shirt and new tan, gained while shooting upcoming Hollywood blockbuster Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes. ‘It is a bit like leaving school,’ he says. ‘At first I was terrified of being thrust into the big, bad world but it’s something that excites me now.’

And despite losing out to Daniel Radcliffe in the original auditions, Felton has nothing but praise for his on-screen nemesis. ‘People ask if I’m jealous I didn’t get to play Harry but God knows I could never have done what Dan’s done,’ says Felton. ‘He’s exceptionally polite, he’s always kind and I’ve never seen him lose his temper or raise his voice.’

‘I think it really goes to show that you can be an actor with that amount of fame and be followed everywhere, and you don’t have to be a knobhead,’ chimes in Lewis, who, with his Leeds lad stubble, Ray-Bans and styled quiff, is similarly unrecognisable as Neville.

Head boy Radcliffe is absent today ‘due to his Broadway schedule’ (he’s starring in a musical in New York despite never having sung or danced on stage before). Unofficial head girl Emma Watson, now studying at Brown University in between fashion shoots for the likes of Vogue, is here, though, and is similarly respected by cast and crew alike.

‘She’s not only a hugely talented actress, she is super bright,’ says David Heyman, who first happened upon an unpublished Harry Potter manuscript in 1997 and has since produced every movie. ‘Emma supposedly got the highest grade in her English A level in the entire country. She got into Oxbridge and she could have gone to Harvard.’

That’s an achievement Watson herself credits to her Potter character, super swot Hermione. ‘I think Hermione made me work harder just as a result of comparing myself to her every day,’ she enthuses.

‘In a way, I guess I’m headmaster,’ Heyman muses. Of course, he acknowledges, teenagers will be teenagers. ‘There was an article in GQ magazine recently about how Dan said he’d “stopped drinking” after he was drinking a lot on the film. But at 18 years old, what do you do? I was partying like a demon.

‘Yes, they party, they drink, they have a good time, they sleep with people, all the natural things you do at that age. But if you consider the pressure that’s been on them, I feel really proud that they have turned out as well as they have.’

And, Heyman admits, school really is out. ‘There won’t be another Harry Potter book,’ confirms this close confidante of JK Rowling. ‘I mean, what’s it going to be? Harry Goes To Business School?’

Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows: Part 2 is in cinemas this week and it will be reviewed in MetroLife on Friday.


Original article found here: metro.co.uk | July 11th, 2011

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10
Jul

Harry Potter ready to cast his final spell

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With the massive impact the Harry Potter movies have had over the last decade, it’s difficult to conjure up the image of an anxious David Heyman.

But the Potter producer admits he was “incredibly nervous” about the future of the franchise just before the inaugural movie, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, opened in 2001.

“I couldn’t even get a two-picture deal before the release of that first one,” he recalled while promoting Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows — Part 1 in London.

He has no worries now as the much anticipated Deathly Hallows — Part 2 opens on July 15. The blockbuster is poised to set box-office records, which will likely include surpassing the North American opening weekend of The Dark Knight, a staggering US$158.4-million.

Still, Heyman confesses that he has mixed emotions just like the films’ fans — a combination of sadness, celebration and frenzy befitting the dramatic conclusion to an iconic string of movies.

The great news for all concerned is that the series seems to be going out with a bang. In the finale, wizard Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe) confronts the evil Lord Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes) in a momentous showdown. “Part 2 is like a big opera with huge battles,” director David Yates says.

Of course, this last instalment in the series also features the long-awaited kiss between Hermione (Emma Watson) and Ron (Rupert Grint), while their burgeoning relationship offers much needed comic relief from the unrelenting tension.

“We go off on this little adventure together,” Watson says. “It’s kind of like a comedy act because it’s the first time that you see them in tune.

“I really enjoyed the experience. Rupert is a great comedic actor, and so we had a really good time bringing the humour out of everything that we could.”

There’s also a graduation at the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, which includes “lump-in-the-throat” nostalgic sequences.

Some ghostly apparitions recall family and friends from the past. And, an ethereal Dumbledore (Michael Gambon) presents himself to expose mind-boggling secrets from his younger days.

Still, the epic wand duel between Harry and Voldemort is the climactic set piece. It’s rejigged from the book to include a chase through the halls of Hogwarts and a mind-boggling brawl in which the “apparating” combatants appear and disappear.

Most pundits predict that Part 2 will be the best Potter picture yet. “It’s the perfect way to sign off,” says Heyman, a former studio executive who first saw film potential in J.K. Rowling’s books. Indeed, he was the optimistic filmmaker who persuaded a skeptical Rowling to do movie versions of her novels before they became a global phenomenon. He was also the stubborn movie maven who resisted studio demands to Americanize Potter, and backed Rowling when she insisted on the English setting and an English cast.

All the fretting seems moot now. Rowling has set worldwide publishing records, selling more than 450 million copies of the seven-book series. The eight films, based on the novels, will likely hit a box-office total of US$7.5-billion by the time Deathly Hallows — Part 2 runs its theatrical course this summer.

Even more amazing is the fact that multiple directors have nurtured the film versions of the books, which became darker and more threatening as they progressed.

American director Chris Columbus, who made his mark with the Home Alone movies, introduced Potter to the film world with Philosopher’s Stone and The Chamber of Secrets.

Mexican director Alfonso Cuarón brought a furious flair to The Prisoner of Azkaban. Brit Mike Newell took on the fourth, The Goblet of Fire, and added foreboding to the narrative.

Former British TV director David Yates arrived to heighten the tautness, in the fifth Potter movie, The Order of the Phoenix, then The Half-Blood Prince and the two-part finale.

Radcliffe credits Yates for refining the performances in the pictures by quietly expecting more from his three lead actors.

“He was always telling us that we could do better,” says Radcliffe, currently receiving raves for his headlining role in the Broadway musical How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying.

By the time they approached the acting demands of both Deathly Hallows pictures, Yates had them ready for great challenges. “It really was a natural progression,” Radcliffe says. “It didn’t feel like we were being asked to make a massive leap. It felt like we were being allowed to do what we had been preparing to do for the last two or three years.”

Watson agrees that the director raised the acting bar from The Order of the Phoenix onward. “The thing about working with David Yates is that you always hear this word truth, and finding the truth, and being honest and real,” she says. “He wants it to be from the heart. Because of that, I think that made us better.”


Original article found here: arts.nationalpost.com| July 10th, 2011

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9
Jul

Rupert Grint

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Character: Ron Weasley

Date of Birth: August 14, 1988

First appeared in Harry Potter: aged 12

Estimated fortune: €23m

If Radcliffe plays the flamboyant actor, and Watson the clever clogs, Rupert Grint is without a doubt the laid-back one.

While the other two are more focused and precise, Grint has been more inclined to ride the rollercoaster that is the Harry Potter experience.

He owns a working ice cream van, a hovercraft, a bright orange Range Rover and a Mini fitted with special Lamborghini doors. He once bought a coin-operated fortune-telling machine from a fairground, learnt to ride a unicycle and recently bought two miniature donkeys to go with his miniature pigs.

“I do, kind of, spend a lot,” he says. “And just on stupid things, because I don’t really know what to do. What are you supposed to do? It just seems like way too much. We don’t deserve it, at all, for what we do.”

However, not all his spending has been as frivolous. He has a flat in east London and also owns an estate near his parents Hertfordshire home, said to be worth around £5m.

Grint has the children’s news programme Newsround to thank for his fame.

His dad Nigel, a memorabilia dealer, and his mother Jo filmed him rapping about why he’d be perfect for the role as Potter’s red-headed sidekick after the show aired a casting call in 1999.

He took to life in front of the cameras with ease.

“At that age you’re fearless,” he says. “Nothing bothers you.”

However, as his teenage years progressed, his confidence began to retreat. “There comes an awkward stage when you’re growing up,” he says, “when you’re just really aware of yourself, and quite self-conscious. And I did kind of pull back a little bit.”

“He lived his teenage years under a spotlight,” said Potter producer David Heyman, “but one of the many things I love about Rupert is that he just gets on with it. He enjoys life.”

Nonetheless, of the three lead actors, he has constantly won the praise of critics and co-stars, and was described by John Hurt as the “born actor” of the bunch.

Of the three Potter stars, Grint has the more accomplished acting CV after taking on several leading film roles, including the 2002 British comedy Thunderpants, the 2006 coming-of-age story Driving Lessons and the 2008 thriller Cherrybomb, where he plays a bad boy who stops at nothing to get the girl he covets.

So while Grint may not have matched the earning power of his co-stars so far, his future acting career seems far more bankable.


Original article found here: independent.ie July 9th, 2011

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21
Dec

Backstory: Casting the ‘Potter’ Kids

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Assuming you ignore the annoying financial detail that is inflation, the “Harry Potter” movies constitute the highest-grossing film series of all time. (Adjusting for inflation, we believe first place is “Rock One” and “Rock Two: The Boulder,” produced in 47 B.C. and grossing three fish and half a puma’s claw.) Much of that is because of the quality of the source material of course, but it’s difficult to argue the producers didn’t make the most important decision when they chose their Harry, Hermoine and Ron.

Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint weren’t even 11 when the producers cast them. Think about how wrong that could have gone. They could have found cute kid actors who aged into dull, inexpressive adults. One of the kids could have sprouted a foot taller than the other ones. One could have developed a drug habit. The good fortune of having three mature, decent, relatively normal kids, who then developed into quality actors, seems like cosmic kismet. So how were they cast?

Grint was the most random story. He was not a professional actor, in any capacity; he was a bellring at his church and had only been in school plays, most “notably” as a fish in a reenactment of Noah’s Ark. He was a fan of the “Potter” books and had red hair, so on a whim he sent a video to an open casting call of himself “rapping about how much [he] wanted the part.” Somehow, it worked. This is not how Wallace Shawn’s career started.

Emma Watson had a bit more acting experience. She’d never been in a film before, after spending the first five years of her life in Paris, but she spent the next five years in Oxfordshire studying with a theater teacher. That teacher recommended her to casting agents, and they were impressed, which makes sense: Watson has the wise eyes of an elderly woman. Watson has always said she has loved the experience of being in the “Potter” films, but that if she had known just how massive they were when she was a kid, she might not have done them. To be fair: Everything is massive when you’re 10.

The most widely told — and most apocryphal — involves Radcliffe’s casting as Potter himself. Producer David Heyman had been looking for his Potter for months and, with just a month before filming was set to begin, he hadn’t found one. He then went to go see a play in London and, at intermission, ran into an old friend, a casting agent named Alan Radcliffe. He was introduced to his son, and whammo, then he knew: He had his Harry Potter.

This is only partly true. Yes, Heyman did meet Radcliffe then, but the boy was already acting; he’d appeared in two films by that point. Heyman’s telling implies that he “discovered” Radcliffe, but the 10-year-old had earned plaudits from critics and other producers alike. The only reason Radcliffe hadn’t auditioned yet to play Potter — whom he clearly resembled — was because his parents didn’t want him to sign on for a (then)-six-film series. But once he decided to do it, the role was his. Like the rest of them, he was a perfect fit.


Original article found here: Yahoo! Movies | November 18th, 2010

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21
Dec

We go behind the scenes to get inside track on latest Harry Potter blockbuster

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BOY wizard Harry Potter and his magical mates Hermione and Ron are set to cast a final spell over film fans.

After 10 record-breaking years, the series is ending in style with an epic two-part version of Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows.

Part One hits the big screen on November 19 with the final chapter finally arriving in July – all building up to the three friends’ final, fatal battle with the evil Lord Voldemort.

Stars Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint met JOHN MILLAR on location at Leavesden Studios in Hertfordshire to talk about Potter’s grand finale and reveal favourite memories of the roles that changed their lives forever.

Daniel takes a battering in final scenes

The young star who plays the teenage wizard arrives looking as though he’s just gone 10 rounds with Mike Tyson.

He’s covered in sweat, his hands are scuffed and dirty, there are cuts across his left eye and nose and he’s badly bruised.

But Daniel Radcliffe couldn’t be happier. The 21-yearold says he has been getting a kick out of being battered and bloodied as he brings the Hogwarts saga to a thrilling conclusion.

Daniel, who was cast as JK Rowling’s schoolboy wizard when he was just 12, said: “The action in the film is extraordinary.”

The Harry Potter films have made Daniel an international star – and a very rich one.

He’s reckoned to be worth around £30million which, according to recent reports, makes him wealthier than Princes William and Harry.

But it’s film fun, not finance, that is driving the young actor as he nears the end of the Hogwarts saga.

And the final films are as star-packed as ever, featuring the likes of Ralph Fiennes, Julie Walters, Robbie Coltrane, Alan Rickman, Michael Gambon and Maggie Smith.

Daniel said: “I have just as much fun making these films as people do watching them. In fact, I probably have a lot more fun. I love my job and I’m very lucky to have it.”

Daniel reckons that it was during the shooting of the sixth film – The Half-Blood Prince – when he began to fully understand just how special it was to portray Harry Potter.

He added: “It was when I was underwater and I had to hold on to a rope and pull myself down.

“Then I had to let go of the rope and burst through the surface to be surrounded by a wall of fire. At the very moment of doing that, I thought no matter how long my career went on I would never get the chance to do a shot like that again – bursting through water into a flaming lake.

“It is very cool to play a hero. So this year I have started to revel more in the boys’ own adventure aspect of it all.”

Daniel has also been bowled over by the special effects in the film.

He was especially impressed by the sequence when a potion turns a bunch of schoolmates into doubles of Harry so that there are seven Harry Potters on camera.

He said: “That scene is going to be pretty fantastic.

“Obviously people will realise that it’s a visual effect but normally when you have one person talking to another version of himself it is pretty obvious how it has been done. In this scene though it’s great – arms are overlapping and it looks fantastic.

“We did 96 takes for this one shot. We had to do each shot seven different times with all the Harrys standing in different places.

“That is the first really cool bit of magic in the first part of the film. It was so well thought out and well done.”

Daniel knows that for devoted fans it will be agony to wait for the second part of The Deathly Hallows and that they might actually have preferred to see the two parts in one epic Harry Potter marathon movie.

He said: “I know that the dedicated fans would gladly sit through a six-hour Harry Potter film but not everybody possesses the same passion that they do.”

But he reckons it will be worth the eightmonth wait to see the final chapter in cinemas next summer.

And when those final credits run on Part Two of the Deathly Hallows, he is adamant that it will be the final curtain for the boy wizard.

Daniel, who has signed up to star in Hammer’s keenly-anticipated revival The Woman In Black, shakes his head when he’s asked if there is any chance of Harry and his pals reappearing some day – even in an animated film.

He said: “As far as I know that’s it. I have seen Jo Rowling and asked if she was writing any more and she said no.

“So I’m not looking to do any more… I’ve done it now.”

Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows: Part One is released on November 19.

Being Ron Isn’t Always Magic

Rupert Grint has spent half his life playing Harry Potter’s best pal Ron Weasley but has also managed to do another very different batch of movies.

These include the comedy Thunderpants, spoof hitman romp Wild Target and Driving Lessons, in which he appeared alongside Potter co-star Julie Walters, who plays Ron’s mum.

But obviously it’s Ron that has made the 22-year-old a household name – although sometimes being so recognisable hasn’t been the greatest thing, as Rupert discovered when he went with friends to the Reading Festival.

He said: “Someone went to the toilet on our tent, which wasn’t nice, and while we were sleeping someone came in and threw a bag of flour over us.”

Although he is a star of one of the world’s most successful film franchises, Rupert admits he is still over-awed by the famous faces who appear in the Potter movies.

He said: “They do all have quite a presence. When we started I got very excited at working with stars like Alan Rickman and Robbie Coltrane.

“I used to ask for autographs at the first opportunity – I think it was at the first read-through.”

Rupert reckons he wasn’t in the best shape for the action in The Deathly Hallows.

“There is a lot more running than I’m used to.

“I quite like the stunts but I don’t do any kind of exercise at all so it hit me quite hard.

“Everyone wants this film to be the best one ever.”

I’ve Gone From Film Star To A Class Act

Emma Watson is one of the most instantly recognised girls on the planet but now she’s enjoying the magic of being an ordinary student. are going to see me most days and have just got used to me.”

The 20-year-old is studying in the US at prestigious Brown University in Rhode Island and has settled into academic life.

She said: “It’s hard to choose one thing that I like most about university. I guess I just enjoy the simplicity of my life.

“I am sharing a tiny room with another girl and I only have space for three or four pairs of jeans and a couple of tops. My life has been compressed but it’s nice.”

Her student schedule in the States is a world apart from the red carpet glamour of being a film star.

She said: “I live in a bubble. I don’t read newspapers and I don’t watch TV.”

Emma is also pleased that she has been accepted by the other students.

She said: “I was amazed how quickly everyone on campus got over that I was from Harry Potter.

“I’m going to be there for four years so they’ve realised that they are going to see me most days and have just got used to me.

The young actress admits she’s had mixed feelings while shooting her final scenes as Hermione.

But one plus point has been throwing herself into the rough and tumble of action sequences.

She said: “It’s such an emotionally heavy film so it is sometimes nice to have a break from that and do something more physical.

“There is a giant snake involved, we get picked up on a dragon, dropped in a lake and I nearly get my throat slit. It’s real adventure.”

being an action girl in the two-part epic but she’s also very aware that a huge part of her life is coming to an end.

Emma has got a kick out of being an action girl in two-part epic but she’s also very aware that a huge part of her life is coming to an end.

She said: “I have grown up with this character. I can’t tell you how it will feel to walk away.”


Original article found here: The Daily Record | October 24th, 2010

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1
Dec

Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, David Heyman Interviews

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Rupert Grint, Emma Watson and Producer David Heyman Talk About “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets”

On the eve of the November 15, 2002 opening of “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets,” two of the film’s young stars stopped by the movie’s Los Angeles premiere. Part of a whirlwind publicity tour promoting this second in the series of “Harry Potter” films, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson answered a few questions about their starring roles in the “Harry Potter” franchise.


Rupert Grint at the LA Premiere of
“Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.”
Photo ©Rebecca Murray. All Rights Reserved.

RUPERT GRINT (‘Ron Weasley’)

What’s it like seeing yourself on movie posters worldwide?
It’s actually quite scary. It’s weird.

How does it feel being a celebrity?

It feels really cool. It’s a bit weird because I get recognized quite a lot. It’s strange – and they call me ‘Ron.’ I’ve tried different disguises, like hats and stuff, but it doesn’t work.

My friends treat me pretty normal. My teachers suck up a bit.

How difficult was it to shoot the slug scenes?

It was really good. I loved doing that slug scene because they flavored the slug slime so it was like chocolate, peppermint, orange, lemon, and all these really nice flavors.

How many times did you have to do the scene?

Oh, the more the better!

You have a pretty scary scene with spiders in this film and I hear you’re not a big spider fan.

I hate spiders. That was horrible to film because I really didn’t like it. I was a bit nervous about doing that one but it wasn’t that bad. After I did it like five times, I got used to it.

Were a lot of real spiders used in the movie?
Yes. Most of them weren’t CGI actually so I had to act with the spiders and I didn’t like it.

Have you begun shooting the third “Harry Potter” movie yet?

No, not yet. We start in February. I’m in school at the moment.


Emma Watson at the LA Premiere of
“Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.”
Photo ©Rebecca Murray. All Rights Reserved.

EMMA WATSON (‘Hermione’)

How did you get your big break in films?

Really by chance. Some people came to my school and said, “Is there anyone who wants to audition?” I got the audition and they kind of went on and on, and then I got the part, really.

If you had a magical power, what would it be?

I’d like to make myself invisible so that I could get in to rock concerts.

Are the “Harry Potter” films getting darker and scarier as they progress? What do you think about younger children seeing this particular movie?

It’s not necessarily getting much scarier or darker, it’s just getting more mature, I suppose. It really does depend on the kid. I took in a 5 year-old of my friend’s, and I was the one cowering in my seat. It just depends on the kid, really.


Producer David Heyman at the LA Premiere of
“Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.”
Photo ©Rebecca Murray. All Rights Reserved.

DAVID HEYMAN (Producer, “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets”)

What attracted you to “Harry Potter?”

I read the book back in 1997 and I fell in love with it. It had been published that week and it was not the phenomenon it would become. But I read a book that was funny, with great characters and great core values – loyalty, good over evil, family, ultimately very optimistic, filled with magic, and a great sense of adventure. I thought it had it all and I fell in love with it. Now we’ve finished the second film and we’re starting on the third and I’m still as excited as I was on day one.

When I read the book, I sent it to Warner Bros., they optioned it on my behalf and here we are. They are the financiers and they’ve been fantastic about that. I’d worked with Warner Bros. for ten years before; I was very lucky. Also, I’d made a few films – very, very different types. In fact, I made a film “The Daytrippers” which had a budget of about $60,000, which is at the opposite end from “Harry Potter,” but it was every bit as challenging and every bit as wonderful. Making films of any scale have their own challenges. “Harry Potter” has its own but it’s a fantastic project.

What’s the most difficult part of producing a film?
The most difficult part of the movie business is patience and tenacity. It takes a very long time to get films made. “Harry Potter” is very much the exception. You have to survive the many goods and the many lows. I’ve enjoyed the highs of the good, but I’ve also survived the indignity and the pain of the lows. You have to carry on through that and it’s very challenging. It’s also challenging to find things you fall in love with and you want to fight for many years to get made.

How much did the CGI effects cost in “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets?”
Put it this way, “The Daytrippers” cost $60,000 and I could have made many, many, many, many, many “Daytrippers” with the visual effects budget on this film.


Original article found here: About.com | November 14th, 2002


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30
Nov

Final ‘Harry Potter’ book will be split into two movies

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Final ‘Harry Potter’ book will be split into two movies

The ‘Deathly Hallows’ films are scheduled to be released in November 2010 and May 2011.


For “Harry Potter” and Hollywood, eight is the magic number.

Warner Bros. Pictures and the producers behind the $4.5-billion film franchise featuring the beloved boy wizard will split the seventh and final novel in the J.K. Rowling series into two films.

“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part I” will hit theaters in November 2010, followed by “Part II” in May 2011, a decision that is being met around the world with fans’ cheers but also plenty of cynical smirks. The publishing industry is learning to live without new “Potter” releases, but Hollywood just pulled off a trick that will keep its profitable hero on his broom into the next decade.

Any twist in the “Potter” universe is the stuff of global news bulletins. The books were a publishing sensation. And to an entire generation, the film saga has become a heartfelt touchstone on the level of “The Wizard of Oz” and as culturally and commercially ubiquitous as the “Star Wars” series. For all those reasons, everyone involved in the franchise is jumping forward to say an eighth film would be to serve the story, not the bottom line.

Daniel Radcliffe, the star of the franchise, said it was the dense action of the final novel that made the decision, not any executive or ledger.

“I think it’s the only way you can do it, without cutting out a huge portion of the book,” Radcliffe said. “There have been compartmentalized subplots in the other books that have made them easier to cut — although those cuts were still to the horror of some fans — but the seventh book doesn’t really have any subplots. It’s one driving, pounding story from the word go.”

The same could be said about the relentless “Potter” franchise, which hit screens for the first time in 2001. The five “Potter” films to date have averaged $282 million in U.S. grosses, but the overall receipts go well beyond that. The faces of the stars stare out from DVDs, video games, tie-in books, toys, clothing, candy wrappers and a staggering array of other items. By some estimates, the brand represents a $20-billion enterprise, and that’s without the planned “Potter”-themed complex opening next year at the Universal Orlando Resort in Florida.

Extending the “Potter” franchise is a boon to the studio and to its parent, media giant Time Warner, where recently named Chief Executive Jeffrey Bewkes is reining in costs with moves such as the recent gutting of New Line Cinema. Time Warner’s stock price has stagnated since its merger with America Online eight years ago.

Right now, Radcliffe and his costars are filming the sixth installment in the franchise, “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince,” at an old aircraft factory outside London. “It’s been brilliant,” Radcliffe said of the production. “It’s also, I think, the funniest of the films so far.”

Radcliffe is now 18 and, by the final film, will have spent half of his life in the role of the scarred orphan who finds friendship and danger within the stone corridors of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Each film (following the construct of the novels) has been framed by a school year. Producer David Heyman, a key figure in the films from Day One, was reluctant to depart from that and make the last book into two movies.

“Unlike every other book, you cannot remove elements of this book,” Heyman said. “You can remove scenes of Ron playing Quidditch from the fifth book, and you can remove Hermione and S.P.E.W. [Society for the Promotion of Elfish Welfare] and those subplots . . . but with the seventh, that can’t be done.”

Rowling, who signed off on the idea of a two-part finale, has been a more frequent visitor to the sixth movie’s set than with previous installments. One big reason is that she is no longer busy trying to finish the “next” “Potter” book; she walked away from her signature character in July, when the climactic “Deathly Hallows” hit stores and sold a record 11 million copies in its first 24 hours on shelves.

Alan Horn, president and chief operating officer of Warner Bros. Entertainment, will be in Las Vegas today to talk up the “Potter” plans at ShoWest, a key annual conference of movie exhibitors. Horn said Wednesday that “it would have been a disservice” to downsize “Deathly Hallows” into one film.

“This way, we have an extra hour and a half, at least, to celebrate what this franchise has been and do justice to all the words and ideas that Jo has put in the amazing story,” Horn said. “This is the end of the story too. We want to celebrate it. We want to give a full meal.”

David Yates, director of the fifth and sixth films, will return and make the final two films concurrently. Screenwriter Steve Kloves also returns, and, by the completion of the franchise, he will have written seven of the eight films.

They will be adapting a seventh book with 759 pages packed with action and twists and turns in the race toward the final conflict between Potter and the dark lord who murdered his parents, the serpentine Lord Voldemort. Reviewing last summer for The Times, Mary McNamara wrote: “What Rowling has achieved in this book and the series can be described only as astonishing. Just as her characters have matured, the language and tone of the books have grown in sophistication and lyricism. But she has never lost the sense of wonder that has propelled her into literary legend.”

After the dust settles, the book ends with an epilogue that finds the main characters — Harry, Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley — grown up, married and 19 years removed from Hogwarts. Horn said that particular denouement has the filmmakers fretting about how to keep the young familiar stars on the screen just before it goes dark.

“That,” Horn said, “is something we will need to deal with. People have watched these kids grow up, and it’s been very special to do so. That’s important to us.”

Heyman said splitting “Deathly Hallows” is the right narrative formula, but the next problem is figuring out the division. As he put it: “The question will be, where do you break it? And how do you make them one but two separate and distinct stories? Do you break it with a moment of suspense or one of resolution?”

Horn said that screenwriter Kloves has already latched on to an approach that might work. Rowling could not be reached for comment, but the most recent entry on her website journal declared that “Hallows” stands as her favorite among the novels — and that saying goodbye to Harry is never easy.

“It was the ending I had planned for 17 years, and there was more satisfaction than you can probably imagine in finally sharing it with my readers,” Rowling wrote. “As for mourning Harry — and I doubt I will be believed when I say this — nobody can have felt the end as deeply as I did.”


Original article found here: LA Times | March 13th, 2008

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29
Nov

The day Daniel Radcliffe met Rupert Grint

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“Potter” producer David Heyman reflects on the magical journey and shares a photo of a special moment: When Harry met pally…

Like a proud father, David Heyman, the producer of the “Harry Potter” films, reached for a box of photographs when a visitor asked him about the young stars of the history-making franchise.

“They are not my own children, obviously, but they are like nephews and nieces or perhaps godchildren, and I feel really protective of them,” Heyman said as he sat in his office at the converted aviation factory here that serves as the movie set for the “Potter” series. “Here, look at this one — this is a photo taken the day the boys met. No one’s really seen this before. They were taking a little walk together to get know one another…”

The black-and-white snapshot showed “Potter” stars Daniel Radcliffe and Rupert Grint as chubby-cheeked adolescents strolling side by side, their eyes cast down to their shadows. Heyman took the photo in 2000. Much has happened since then. Those meek boys are now world-famous young men, and their sixth film together, “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince,” has, since its Wednesday opening, racked up more than $400 million worldwide.

For those keeping track, that puts the saga of the Hogwarts School at a staggering $4.87 billion in lifetime box office.

At the very center of the franchise is the erudite Heyman, the 47-year-old London native who has been the architect of the franchise from Day One. On the set in Watford, outside London, Heyman has been the steady steward for a massive franchise that has employed four different directors but chugged along with a remarkable lack of friction or frenzy, as least by all outward appearances.

That’s not to say the going has been entirely smooth. Heyman, who prides himself on his affinity for “Potter” fans, found himself with a muggle revolt last year when Warner Bros. abruptly postponed “Half-Blood Prince” for eight months to better position the film in the marketplace. He agreed with the logic and praises Warners as a partner but added: “I won’t kid you. My heart sank when they came to me with the idea.”

Heyman and company have also struggled mightily to keep the large cast intact and their paydays manageable in a franchise that makes a mountain of money but also fills entire valleys with the fortune spent on salaries, effects and marketing.

Over two interviews — one last year on the movie set and one last week in Santa Monica — the producer explained that his success has been keyed by keeping the veteran “Potter” crew largely intact and somewhat sequestered on the Watford set, which, he says “remains a place of pride but no ego, more like an academy, which it plays on screen.”

He also enjoyed the kind of luck that makes you believe in magic.

Heyman had studied art history at Harvard, and after stints in L.A. and New York he was back in London with a plan: “I wanted to make films based on books. I’m passionate about books, and you need passion in this business because it can be brutal.”

In late 1997, a copy of “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone” (its title would be tweaked for its U.S. release) came through the office and was quickly banished to the shelf for low-priority prospects. A secretary happened to pluck it from the pile and took it home for a weekend. Her favorable review got Heyman to look past “the rubbish title.” He fell in love with the book and snatched up the rights.
Fast-forward to the summer of 2000. J.K. Rowling’s books were a sensation and Heyman was seven months into his increasingly anxious search for a lead actor.

“One night, looking for a break, I went to the theater with Steve Kloves, the screenwriter who has written five of the six films. There sitting behind me was this boy with these big blue eyes. It was Dan Radcliffe. I remember my first impressions: He was curious and funny and so energetic. There was real generosity too, and sweetness. But at the same time he was really voracious and with hunger for knowledge of whatever kind.”

He coaxed the youngster’s parents into bringing him by for an audition. “I watched that audition tape recently — we’ll be putting it on one of the DVD releases — and I barely recognized him.”

The casting of Radcliffe as Harry, Grint as Ron Weasley and Emma Watson as Hermione Granger is especially impressive in hindsight. The trio’s selection was arguably one of the best show-business decisions over the past decade, considering the instant risks and eventual rewards. Critics are praising Harry Potter, boy wizard their acting in this latest film as a leap forward for each of them, and, more than that, they have shown admirable grace and steadiness in the face of teen superstardom. In other words, there wasn’t a Britney in the bunch.

“I know they all will have great success in whatever they choose to do,” Heyman said at his Watford office, putting away his photo collection. “Emma is astonishingly bright. She is radiant and relaxed. Dan is extremely focused on his acting, and I have the fortune too to read his poetry and short stories, and there are some major poets who have written the most glowing, supportive things about his work. And Rupert — Rupert is the most natural comedian of the bunch. I think that he is like an old person in a young person’s body. He is a wonderful eccentric, a distinct original.”

This week, the “Potter” crew will hit Day 100 of the planned 250-day shoot for “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows,” the series finale that will be released as two films.

Heyman said it’s too soon to contemplate the end of it all, especially considering the afterlife of franchises of this magnitude. Outside his office were blueprints of the “Harry Potter” theme park, which is scheduled to open in Orlando next year and has Heyman and “Potter” production designer Stuart Craig on board. There’s also a museum tour of props and costumes planned and years’ worth of home-video repackaging projects to consider, he noted with a chuckle.

Yet Heyman is also looking beyond Hogwarts. He’s excited to adapt British novelist Mark Haddon’s quirky “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time,” with Kloves on board to script and direct. Heyman is also developing the film future of Paddington Bear, who last year celebrated his 50th anniversary as a gentle institution of the British bookshelf.

The “Potter” franchise will be a hard act to follow. Heyman said he measures his life by the franchise; he got married while filming the fourth, for instance, and his son was born during the making of the sixth. But like an academy, seasons pass and graduations come.

“This place is like going off to school,” he said of the cavernous Watford site, which houses high-tech movie gear in a somewhat moldering old fortress. “It even smells like school. There’s concrete stairs; it smells a little bit bad, like a dormitory. The school is falling apart a bit; three people have been hired full time to patch the roof. The set may fall apart the day we’re done with it, and maybe that’s the way it should be.”

– Geoff Boucher


Original article found here: LATimesBlogs | July 20, 2009

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