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The day Daniel Radcliffe met Rupert Grint

“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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Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince Sci Fi Wire Set Visit

In the Great Hall of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, breakfast is underway, tables heaped with sausages and toast, casually dressed students talking and eating. Ron Weasley (Rupert Grint) stands in the doorway, dressed in full red-and-gold Quidditch kit, nervously surveying the room.

He enters. Fellow students slap him on the back as he walks down the central aisle. “Good luck, eh, Ron?” “Countin’ on you, Ron!” “I’ve got two Galleons on Gryffindor!”

A huge guy blocks Ron’s progress. He stops, they do a side-to-side dance, Ron has to squeeze by the guy to get to his table.

Cut!

It’s January 2008 on the set of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, shooting on the stages at Leavesden Film Studios outside London, the longtime home of the Potter film franchise, where SCI FI Wire was among a small group of reporters allowed to observe filming.

In addition to observing the filming that day showing the morning of Ron’s debut as a Quidditch player, we sat down and spoke with director David Yates about the sixth film in the beloved franchise, which opens July 15. Following is an edited version of our talk with Yates, who was dressed in a beige V-neck sweater and fleece pullover on this chilly day.

So I think you were quoted as saying this movie’s about sex, drugs and rock
‘n’ roll.

Yates: Yeah. I want to amend that. It’s actually about sex, potions and rock ‘n’ roll. … It’s a wonderfully fun, slightly rebellious, quite naughty stage of teenage life. When you’re kind of discovering the opposite sex. … In the previous film, it was about the first kiss. This film is a bit more sexualized than that. You know, in a way. We don’t see sex, but it’s kind of in there. And the relationships are a bit more complicated and romantic and convoluted. So we’re pushing into new emotional and kind of physical territory for Harry Potter, you know, in a way, so it’s quite playful and fun.

Do you think Harry Potter fans are going to be ready to see him grown up?

Yates: Do you know, they’ve been growing up with him, so I figure they would be by now. And that’s what’s wonderful about this series of films, is that they grow older, the characters grow older. You know, the actors grow older. … I think it’s quite an interesting relationship they probably have with him, and I’m sure they’re ready for that.

And there’s more comic elements in this film than the last film?

Yates: Very much so. The previous film was, you know, we really enjoyed making the last film. … I liked the intensity of the story that we did last time. But … this has intensity, but it’s very playful, and there are some terrifically funny scenes. And six is a much lighter, more playful book than five was.

It still has some tremendous intensity at the end of the story, but it’s got lots of laughs, too, and for me as a director, what’s lovely is to change gears a little bit, and that’s why I wanted to do it. I didn’t want to make a kind of film about teenage angst; I wanted to make a film about teenage romance, and so, when I took over for Mike Newell—Mike Newell did the fourth film—I said, “You [got a chance to do] the kind of teenage love side of things, and so now I’ve got a bit of that to do.” And it’s really fun to come back and do it. …

Can you talk about the scene that you’re shooting now?

Yates: Yeah. This is a, Ron’s big Quidditch match, and he’s really nervous, and he’s not very good, and he’s terrified, frankly. And so it’s really about him building up to the game. And Harry [Daniel Radcliffe] pretends to slip some Felix Felicis, which is this potion that apparently gives you great luck, and Harry’s going to pretend to slip it into his drink to give him this bravura, which he doesn’t have. So it’s a gentle, funny scene about Ron’s trepidation about playing Quidditch. …

How have the actors changed since the last film?

Yates: That’s interesting. Emma [Watson, who plays Hermione,] has become much more confident. I mean, she was confident before, but … her acting … is becoming more effortless. Dan’s been off and done Equus and some television things, a television film, and he’s grown a lot more confident and matured a wee bit. And they’re all getting a wee bit older, and the material allows them to take a few more turns, again. They’re getting better, as they should be as they get older, you know, so it’s encouraging and enjoyable. …


Original article found here at SciFiWire I April 23, 2009

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‘Harry Potter’: There Will Be ‘Half-Blood’

Rupert Grint Press: ‘Harry Potter’: There Will Be ‘Half-Blood’

With this week’s decision to push the sixth Harry Potter film into summer ’09, it’ll be almost a year until fans see a Hogwarts rocked by teen angst and the death of a main character. Here’s what we learned on the set

By Jeff Jensen

NEWS FLASH: On August 14, the release of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince was moved to summer 2009. But here’s the early word. For more on the postponement, see Hollywood Insider.

The tears have dried. The goose bumps have faded. The books, a complete set now, are lined on the shelf, gathering dust. In our imagination, Harry Potter lives happily ever after, his work as a global pop icon and publishing profit center now finished.

Almost.

At Leavesden Film Studios outside London, under a leaky roof dripping rain from an April downpour, Daniel Radcliffe stands on a crumbling stairwell that descends into a derelict corner of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, thumbing out a text message on his cell phone. At the call to ”Action!” the young star slips the phone into his trousers and spirals down the stairs to find costar Emma Watson sitting on a step, stifling tears. In Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, adapted from J.K. Rowling‘s penultimate Potter novel, Harry’s pal Hermione Granger (Watson) is realizing that her heart belongs to Ron Weasley (Rupert Grint). The problem: Ron has just hooked up with Lavender Brown (newcomer Jessie Cave). In this scene, Harry tries to console his friend, but the job becomes infinitely harder when Ron and Lavender come bumbling into this dark corner of Hogwarts looking for a place to snog. Hermione shoos them away with a magical gust of wind, then weeps harder. Even after ”Cut!” Watson continues to tear up, and Radcliffe offers comfort with a lingering side hug and whispered praise. ”Bloody f—ing brilliant, Emma. Just top-notch.”

Don’t let this snippet of young love fool you, though: Half-Blood Prince continues to push Harry deeper into adult territory. Against the backdrop of terrorist attacks by Voldemort’s Death Eaters, Harry madly preps for his fated doomsday face-off against the Dark Lord, and studies Voldemort’s sordid past via private Pensieve lessons with an increasingly enigmatic Dumbledore (Michael Gambon). He seeks a series of enchanted objects called Horcruxes that contain fragments of Voldy’s soul, and flushes out a secret held by new Potions teacher Horace Slughorn (Jim Broadbent). As for the identity of the titular royal…oh, go read the book already, will you? ”Until now, there’s been all sorts of talk about finding and fighting Voldemort,” Radcliffe says. ”In this film, Harry starts taking steps towards actually doing that.”

Of course, we know we won’t get to witness Harry’s high-noon wand-off with the snaky-snouted villain (Ralph Fiennes) until Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows plays out over the course of two more films. And because we all know this, Prince raises an unprecedented question about the biggest film franchise in history: Will moviegoers still be wild about Harry? ”I’m not going to lie to you,” says Oscar-nominated screenwriter Steve Kloves, returning to his role as official franchise scribe after taking the fifth film, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, off. ”I do have some concern that because the books are over, the anticipation for the movies won’t be the same.” Yes, the films have surged in popularity since Alfonso Cuarón‘s Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban set them on an edgier course. And yes, there are those who follow the saga only through the movies — which is why we’ll refrain from discussing Prince‘s monumental 90-hanky death. Yet even within the top ranks of a moviemaking operation as bloody well run as Harry Potter, there is, well, mild freaking out. Kloves allows himself an improbable thought, then laughs. ”It would be a complete car crash if no one showed up.”

Published in 2005 to then-record-breaking sales and upstaging a summer movie season that included the final Star Wars prequel, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is a 652-page tome that, as usual, tells its story in the rhythms of an academic school year. But it boasts one welcome departure from the other books — a story line that traces the evolution of He Who Must Not Be Named from a damaged lad named Tom Riddle into a diabolical hooray-for-genocide! despot. That narrative is dramatized through several meaty flashbacks, with Harry and Dumbledore magically diving into pools of liquid memory and eavesdropping from shadowy corners like ghostly voyeurs. ”It illustrates just how much the past informs the present and how much an act of evil can reverberate through the years and affect so many lives,” Kloves says.

Which is all very fancy-pants literary, but as raw material for a movie, it presented a challenge. Screenwriting 101 says movies need to keep moving forward and have protagonists that, like, do stuff, not just lurk about and watch other people do stuff. Kloves was girding himself for a grind, but after writing an unwieldy draft that included almost every flashback, the scribe and the franchise’s current auteur in residence, David Yates, changed course. ”We distilled the flashbacks down to three,” says the director, whose dark adaptation of Phoenix grossed $938.5 million globally (second only to the first Potter flick) and who has signed on for both Hallows films. ”We see Voldemort as a little boy, and then on two occasions we see him as a student. By doing that, we honor the spirit of what Jo [Rowling] had done but avoid getting stuck in narrative cul-de-sacs.” Yates, whose bookish demeanor belies an exuberant, boyish energy, was a celebrated TV director in England prior to Potter. He says the franchise’s ”great creative canvas” inspired him to return. ”You’ve got the biggest train set in the world here,” he says. ”If you can think it, you can do it.”

Yates was a firm yet gentle leader on set. After watching Radcliffe and Watson execute a lackluster take of that scene on the staircase earlier that day, Yates bounded out of his chair, zipped up to the stage, and said, in a way that actually sounded constructive and sweet, ”It feels like you’ve rehearsed this a million times before and you’re just falling into it. I need you to throw yourselves into this.” The kids certainly had good reason to raise their game. With Yates and Kloves choosing to abbreviate Voldemort’s backstory, Prince brings the Harry/Ron/Hermione friendship front and center. Put another way: ”There’s more for me to do, which I’m really pleased about,” says Grint, who, with Watson, had seen diminished screen time over the past two movies because of an adaptation strategy, initiated by Cuarón, to keep the focus on Harry. A subplot from Phoenix in which Ron became a Quidditch jock was scrapped, for example, but it’s now been revived for Prince. Sadly, Grint found that manufacturing the illusion of the high-flying sport wasn’t that exhilarating. ”I always wanted to do it,” says the redheaded actor, who turns 20 this month. ”But imagine literally sitting on a broom for hours in a big blue room, just on your own. A bit boring, and it does hurt quite a bit. Something of an anticlimax, I guess.”

Watson, 18, had initially resigned herself to having a smaller role in Prince. ”Reading the book, I didn’t think Hermione would be in it that much, but it’s turned out to be the most interesting and challenging experience yet,” she says. A private, artsy soul who was the last of the trio to sign on for the final films, Watson relied on her own journals and instincts to connect with Hermione’s achy-breaky heart. Radcliffe had to maneuver through his own amorous maze in Prince — the opening sequence finds Harry flirting with a waitress, and at Hogwarts, he becomes increasingly smitten with Ron’s sister, Ginny (Bonnie Wright). He says he played the scenes by importing lessons from ”the Daniel Radcliffe school of flirting.” Which means? ”Look at them until they notice you and hope for the best,” he says. You wouldn’t think the hectic life of Harry Potter would allow much time for cultivating real-life dating experience, but somehow Radcliffe has acquired some. ”I never had any idea how to talk to girls until a year or so ago,” says the 19-year-old actor during a break from shooting last April. ”I still come out with trivial crap when I’m flirting, but I like to think I’m doing it in a faintly endearing way.”

There was one bit of romantic intrigue that didn’t make it into Prince, however. In Kloves’ first draft of the screenplay, he had written a line (not in the book) in which Dumbledore fondly recalls a Muggle girl from his youth. He was quickly, quietly corrected. ”I was walking through Leavesden with Jo on our way to the first reading,” Kloves remembers. ”As we entered the Great Hall, she leaned toward me and whispered, ‘I saw the line you gave Dumbledore, but the thing is this: Dumbledore is gay.”’ After Rowling revealed the wizard’s sexuality to the rest of the filmmaking team — and before she made international headlines last fall by sharing this news publicly — Yates decided to strike the line. ”I just felt the scene worked without it,” he says. ”I think the fact that Dumbledore is gay is wonderful. It feels very authentic to the character.”

Prince‘s lovey-dovey angles make for a warmer film than Phoenix and serve as the calm before the storm that is Hallows, but the movie isn’t When Harry Met Sally…. ”This is very much a love story set against the backdrop of war,” says producer David Heyman. In a new scene, approved by Rowling and designed to dramatize Harry’s embattled world, an idyllic interlude at the Weasley home is violently interrupted by an attack from the Death Eaters. The film also includes the heaviest moment in the franchise to date — the one involving He Whose Death Must Not Be Named (so as not to spoil it for people who haven’t read the book). Radcliffe says shooting that sequence challenged him because there were extras on set at the time, many of whom treated it like a party. Complicating matters, the young actor has limited experience dealing with death, and worried over how to play the scene. ”I don’t pretend to have given an incredibly accurate rendering,” he says. ”To people who have lost people in their lives, if I don’t bring to the screen what they would want or expect to see, I take responsibility for that and apologize.”

He’s sensitive and respectful, self-deprecating yet serious — it’s hard not to be impressed by Radcliffe. By all the kids. It has been fashionable to bash director Chris Columbus for his too-literal adaptations of the first two Potter books, but damn if his casting doesn’t make him look smart. ”There’s an awful lot of so-called ‘child stars’ who get sucked into this business, and next thing you know they’re 15 and in rehab,” says Robbie Coltrane, who plays Hagrid. ”That hasn’t happened here. If anyone came here and said a rude thing about them, I think 300 strong men would leap into action and kill.”

Watson is slated to shoot her first leading-lady role this fall, the period drama Napoleon and Betsy, and plans to enroll at Cambridge. She says the stable, nurturing environment established by Columbus and Heyman is ”the reason Dan, Rupert, and I aren’t completely insane.” Or at least not insane in a bad way. Grint is one delightfully quirky dude — a guy who drives an ice cream truck, plays the didgeridoo, and claims The Joy of Painting as his favorite TV show. He’s no longer a kid, but that doesn’t mean he’s quite ready to leave Potter behind. ”It’s going to be sad when it’s over,” Grint says. ”I’ll be 22. It’s been such a big part of my life — half my life, actually, by the time we finish. Hopefully, I’ll do other stuff when this is over.”

The future weighs on all of them, none more so than Radcliffe. Committed to making acting his profession, he’s taken a spate of work recently that’s decidedly outside the Potter universe — most notably his emotionally and physically naked West End theater debut in Equus, which earned him admiring reviews during its blockbuster London run last year. (He’ll be reprising the role in New York on Broadway beginning Sept. 5.) ”If I had just done these films without doing anything else, I would have become very frustrated, and would have started worrying more about the pressure of life after Potter,” Radcliffe says. He hopes that his extracurricular acting will ”ease the public into the idea that I am going to be doing other things.”

Still, it will be a while before Radcliffe knows whether his exit strategy has succeeded. At the very least, he can say that his stage work has prepared him for Hallows, which begins shooting next spring. The young actor says he’s most looking forward to the haunting, emotional sequence in which Harry walks through a forest toward his final confrontation with Voldemort, accompanied by the ghosts of Sirius Black, his parents, and others. He’s also excited to shoot Harry’s last, dreamy encounter with Dumbledore, although he recently reread the sequence in the book and made the surprising discovery that Harry is naked during the scene. ”At first, I thought I had pants on,” Radcliffe says. ”Apparently not.” Is he nervous? ”Bah, I’ve sort of done that,” he says, with mock bravado. ”It’s all old hat now, really.”


Original article can be found here at Entertainment Weekly I August 13, 2008

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

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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Three’s A Charm


Three’s A Charm

Written by Bruce Kirkland

We speak with Harry Potter’s terrific threesome on the set of the Half-Blood Prince

harry-potter-and-the-half-blood-prince-daniel-radcliffe-emma-watson-rupert-grint

LEAVESDEN, HERTFORDSHIRE, ENGLAND — As a seven-film franchise, Harry Potter is a miracle of casting.

“It’s a remarkable thing,” says David Yates, director of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, due on DVD Dec. 11, and Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, now shooting at the Leavesden Studios, a former Rolls Royce airplane engine factory.

Each child star — Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint — has grown up on screen and grown into his or her role as an actor (Yates now calls them seasoned pros).

Each has stayed the course, despite Watson’s self-doubt about her commitment to the profession (that phase has passed, she says).

None has become a public spectacle for bad behaviour or drug-and-alcohol related scandals. Not like Drew Barrymore, an alcoholic at nine after starring in E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial. Or Lindsay Lohan, seemingly in rehab after every movie.

The Potter kids have avoided Hollywood partying and have stayed clean in England, where a voracious celebrity media unearths every transgression. So they must be doing something right.

“Chris Columbus deserves huge credit in casting who he cast,” says producer David Hayman, who attributes it to good instincts and better luck. The core trio was chosen by the American filmmaker, who directed the first two Harry Potters.

“They were obviously not the only choices he had. These were the choices he made and I am forever grateful to him for that.”

The soft-spoken Yates praises his young stars. “They are remarkable children, really,” he tells Sun Media. “They are very down-to-earth. They are very gifted. They are lovely kids. So it is a very special talent to be able to choose them. That’s why I’m going to buy him (Columbus) a pint … or two.”

Their professionalism is also shown in their commitment to the new Order of the Phoenix DVD, in which they exceed normal expectations and provide fans with solid insights into the history of the franchise.

“I don’t think the franchise, in a way, needs any justification because it is such a leviathan of a thing anyway,” the 18-year-old, London-born Radcliffe tells Sun Media in a shared interview on the Half-Blood set. “Things don’t get that big without merit.

“But, I suppose, it (extra work on the DVDs) is almost to prove to people that we are, in fact, taking this very seriously. More seriously than people would probably assume. I took it very seriously when I was 11 and (growing up in the Harry Potter role) I’ve taken it more and more seriously.

“So, to me, it’s just about letting people know that I’m incredibly serious and passionate about this — this series of films — and how much they mean to me. If you’ve been involved in something for more than seven years now, you want to be able to talk about it articulately and explain why you love it, explain why you loved being involved in it so much.”

Growing up on screen as Hermione Granger has been strange for the 17-year-old Watson, who was born in Paris but raised in England.

“It’s funny because it happened to me when I was so young,” Watson tells Sun Media. “You barely notice yourself growing up when it’s happening, but I guess that’s what has happened, really. It’s very peculiar looking back on them and seeing how much I’ve changed and how much I’ve grown and what I looked like before all this happened.

“But, in a way, that’s what people really identify with. It makes it a real journey — a very real journey — because we literally are growing up with the characters.”

The razor-sharp Watson respects the profound themes that author J.K. Rowling has woven into the text of the seven Potter books, themes transported to the films.

“For such mainstream entertainment, it has such depth. It is very complex. That’s why I wouldn’t just call it a kids’ book. I would call it an adults’ book as well because it genuinely can be read by all ages.

“Everything about the book, everything about J.K. Rowling’s world, is thought down to the very last detail. You can pull apart the spells and they’re Latin and they actually mean what they’re doing. And all the names are so interesting and they’re unique and different and everyone has their own history. How she’s come up with all of this is just amazing.

“At the end of each book, it’s almost like an Aesop’s Fable. Every time, every year, there is a lesson that Harry learns, so that the reader in turn learns.” With no lectures. “Exactly! So it doesn’t feel tiresome.”

As for acting in the future, Watson is now keen. “I did a film for the BBC, called Ballet Shoes, in the summer. Having an experience outside of Harry Potter really helped me. I think it convinced me that this is where I am meant to be and this is what I’m meant to be doing: That I do want to be an actress.

“But I think I needed to have an experience outside of Harry Potter because, in a way, I was really plucked out of obscurity and given this role. I mean, I really wanted it but it never felt like a decision that I made. It just happened to me. I felt that I won the lottery. So I’ve always kind of slightly questioned it.”

The 19-year-old Grint, a local lad from the Hertfordshire town of Stevenage, has no such career doubts since playing Ron Weasley. Sort of. In his interview, Grint uses filler language such as “sort of”, “really” and “cool” repeatedly. And he loves the Harry Potter franchise.

“It’s just been an amazing experience,” Grint says. “I’ve enjoyed sort of every moment of it. It’s been wicked. It’s sad, really, because it does feel that it is coming to an end now with the seventh (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, due in 2010) on the way. It is nearly all over. I think I’m going to miss it. But I’ll just sort of move on after that.”

Each of the three has done other work, mostly movies, outside of Harry Potter. Radcliffe was also on stage (and naked) in a London revival of the play Equus, which he will debut on Broadway Sept. 18, 2008, for an extended run. Each young actor may be heading to a solid and long career.

“I think that’s a huge credit to the producers and a huge credit to their parents,” says Imelda Staunton, an Oscar nominee for Vera Drake and new to the franchise with Order of the Phoenix. She also credits the child stars for their own efforts.

“These kids have worked bloody hard for all these years, on set and off set in school. It’s bloody hard work for them and I think they’ve done it with great grace and ability and humility. They’re so professional. That’s what (you have to be.) There’s no time for messing about!”


Original article can be found here Winnipeg Sun I November 25, 2007

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Exclusive Interview: RUPERT GRINT JOINS DUMBLEDORE’S ARMY’

Written by EMMANUEL ITIER

Ron Weasley grows up and fights against Death Eaters and Lord Voldemort in the new Harry Potter

Things are getting dark for Harry Potter in the new film HARRY POTTER AND THE ORDER OF THE PHOENIX. Lord Voldemort returned at the end of the last film, and a fellow student was slain, and yet there are few back in the wizarding world that believe the tale Harry Potter has to tell. Alone, more than ever before, Harry find out who his true friends are and bands together with them to form Dumbledore’s army to confront the growing darkness in their world. Rupert Grint plays one of Harry’s best friends Ron Weasley, and he is more than ready to stand by him come what may. iF MAGAZINE got to have a chat with the readily recognizable red head about what the POTTER films have meant to him and the best thing he has bought with his money from the movie franchise.

iF MAGAZINE: I would like to ask what is it like to initiate a new director?

RUPERT GRINT: All the directors have kind of always been quite different as well, so it’s always quite sort of exciting to meet the new ones. We’ve had some pretty good ones. Yeah, yeah… we’ve been lucky

iF: Growing up with this character, have you found that its influenced you in real life, the way you are today?

GRINT: Yeah, to me it’s really weird sort of looking back on all the films. It just seems like one long big film. It’s sort of weird looking back at the early ones — just sort of how young we were and how much we’ve changed now, it is really weird. But no, we’ve really enjoyed it. It’s been a really good part of my life and I’ve really enjoyed it.

iF: Have any of you had JK Rowling autograph your books?

GRINT: Well, actually I already did. She went and signed my first book.

iF: With your POTTER paycheck, what, if anything, have you treated yourself to over the years?

GRINT: Oh, well recently I got an ice cream van. Sorry that’s really bad.

iF: There is so much speculation about the book. So how would you feel if your character doesn’t make it?

GRINT: I wouldn’t really mind if it was a really cool scene, and I die in a really cool way. In a way it doesn’t really matter because it’s the last one. I think I’d like to sort of survive. I heard rumors going around about what’s going to happen, so I’m really looking forward to seeing what the outcome is.

iF: How easy did you find it to become leaders and teachers of Dumbledore’s Army?

GRINT: I’ll tell you Ron isn’t really either Harry or Hermione. I really liked doing these scenes because they were really good fun and there was a really good atmosphere on the set. And we got to do loads of stunts as well, which was really cool. Yeah, and I got pulled back on a wire because Hermione and me have a duel.

iF: After HARRY POTTER what would you like to be doing next?

GRINT: I haven’t given it much thought, to be honest, but I’d definitely like to continue acting and I’d like to see what goes from there, really. If it doesn’t work out, I’ve still got the ice cream van!

iF: Does each film having a different director have a different feel on the set or do they all sort of run together?

GRINT: Yeah, I felt that this time around it was a lot more relaxed and David sort of makes you feel really calm because he’s really laid back. Definitely a contrast with Mike Newell.

iF: Can you talk a bit about the audience and how it may have changed over the years?

GRINT: I don’t know, really. I think it’s a kind of varied audience, I suppose. It’s quite for– obviously, it’s quite for the younger ones particularly, and also they’ve probably grown up by now. When you get recognized, I’ve always had people say good things about the films and I’ve always had good feedback from the films.

iF: Which is your favorite scene in the film and why?

GRINT: Well, I don’t know, really. There are loads of scenes that are really fun. I think the funniest one to sort of do and watch back was the Hall of Prophecies, because that was–There was nothing there. There was no set at all. It was all a green screen and nothing. And looking back and watching it is, like, really weird but– yeah, that was pretty cool.


Original article can be found here at iFMagazine I July 13, 2007


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‘Harry Potter’ star Grint drops by MTV Live

‘Harry Potter’ star Grint drops by MTV Live

Harry Potter fans will be frolicking in the streets with the release of the latest film in the franchise, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, which hit theatres and IMAX today. To help promote the release star Rupert Grint, who plays Ron Weasley in the films, stopped by the Masonic Temple for an episode of MTV Live.

In the latest film Harry Potter, played by Daniel Radcliffe, tries to convince the magical world that the evil Lord Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes) has returned, while the vindictive bureaucrat Dolores Umbridge (Imelda Staunton) from the Ministry of Magic takes over control of Hogwarts.

Grint plays Harry’s best friend alongside Emma Watson as Hermione Granger. MTV Live hosts Daryn Jones and Dan Levy interviewed Grint about the film which also stars Michael Gambon as Albus Dumbledore.


Original article found here: The Gate | July 11, 2007

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‘Harry Potter’ Cast, Hannah Montana, Ashley Tisdale Enchanted At ‘Phoenix’ Premiere

Rupert Grint Press: ‘Harry Potter’ Cast, Hannah Montana, Ashley Tisdale Enchanted At ‘Phoenix’ Premiere

‘Hannah’ star Miley Cyrus can’t get enough of ‘the magic of it all’ on Hollywood red carpet.

Written by Larry Carroll

HOLLYWOOD — Muggles, magicians and movie stars alike converged on Grauman’s Chinese Theatre on Sunday to be among the first to see “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix,” the fifth film in what could be the most popular film series of all time. Despite a merciless sun pounding down on their pale English complexions, stars Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint greeted thousands of screaming fans and insisted that their darkest movie yet indicates a bright future for the franchise.

This is my first L.A. premiere, although I have been to New York before,” gushed Daniel Radcliffe, dressed in a suit and tie and gazing out at the half-dozen bleachers filled with screaming fans. L.A., you’re a very different town to anywhere I’ve been in my life. It’s just different and slightly strange. It’s much cleaner than London — but I like the dirt of London.”

Walking down a red carpet appropriately long enough for a source novel with 896 pages, the “Potter” crew premiered their movie to a crowd that included “Heroes” star Masi Oka, Ashley Tisdale from “High School Musical” and “Hannah Montana” chart-topper Miley Cyrus .

“It’s really long, this red carpet, and there are tons of fans out here,” Tisdale marveled, admitting that “Potter” fans may even outnumber all those “High School Musical” addicts.

“You’d think by number five, people would be like, ‘Another Harry Potter movie? Who cares?’ ” grinned Watson, who plays Hermione Granger in the series. “But this is just bigger. There are more people here than there were when we came here for ‘Chamber of Secrets,’ and these movies just keep getting bigger and bigger!”

“This one is a little darker, really,” said Grint, who plays Harry’s pal Ron Weasley. “There’s not many light moments in it. From the beginning, you’ve got Dementors and Voldemort is back and he’s pretty nasty. It’s more grown-up as well — which is really good.”

Grint was welcomed to L.A. like a conquering hero, walking past fans with signs featuring hand-drawn versions of the red-headed heartthrob — many even breaking out in a deafening chant. “It was ‘Weasley Is Our King!’ It’s in the book,” he said of the chant, used both sarcastically and then lovingly in the pages of “Phoenix” but ultimately edited out of the flick. “It’s pretty cool, actually [to hear that]. It doesn’t happen all the time — just in small spurts.”

“I have no idea why people like me,” laughed Radcliffe, laughing off his own deafening “Daniel! Daniel!” chants. “It’s just my association with the books. But it’s great that they do, and the reason they love the books is because it’s such brilliant storytelling.”

“This universe is so rich, and there are so many things to play with,” said director David Yates, a newcomer to the “Potter” franchise. “For me, this story was about intensity and emotion, and it was about growing the world up. This is a world that everybody feels they know, but it was time to grow it up a little bit. … I think the audience is ready for that, because they’ve gotten older as the movies have gotten older.”

Yates revealed that he’ll begin filming “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” in September and that he’s planted some breadcrumbs in “Phoenix” to pick back up with the sixth flick. “The relationship between Ginny and Harry, there’s a little smidgeon of that in this movie in tiny little moments, and there are some threads the fans should enjoy, a few little gifts that hopefully they’ll spot.”

Adding that he’d also direct the seventh Potter flick “if I’m still standing in a year’s time,” the director revealed that he’ll soon announce the casting of the most pivotal role for the sixth movie. “In ‘Half-Blood Prince,’ which we’re preparing right now, we have Horace Slughorn, and we’re just doing the deal for that actor right now. He’s going to be absolutely delightful.” Revealing that the actor is a recognizable face, Yates added: “I don’t want to say his name yet, because we haven’t quite concluded the deal — but I’m almost certain we’re going to get him.”

While on the topic of casting decisions, a few “Potter” stars let their imaginations run wild with us, revealing the role they’d most love to play had they not landed their now-iconic characters.

“There are so many really good ones,” Grint said. “I really like Alan Rickman’s Snape. … He does it pretty perfectly, so I don’t how I’d do it [any differently].”

“If I was older? Sirius Black,” Radcliffe said without missing a beat. “I’d do everything Gary Oldman has. I’d never do as well as him, though.”

Judging by the crazed fans crowding Hollywood Boulevard, nobody could be doing better than these young stars either. And come Friday, the box-office results are likely to reinforce that once again.

“I’ve seen all the movies,” enthused Cyrus, anxiously eyeing the entrance to the theater. “Just the magic of it all — anytime you get to see [a movie] where it’s something you wouldn’t experience yourself, but you watch the movie and feel like you are experiencing it with the rest of the characters? That’s really exciting.”


Original article found at MTV I July 9, 2007

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Rupert Grint Makes Ice-Cold Indulgence

Jamie Portman, CanWest News Service

LONDON — Rupert Grint has bought himself an ice-cream van — and he couldn’t be happier.

He may be in the money thanks to the role of Ron Weasley in the Harry Potter films, but so far that van is his one big indulgence.

Costar Emma Watson, who plays Hermione Granger, is green with envy.

“When you say ‘ice cream van’ it’s not just the shell of an ice-cream van,” she says. “It’s got like real ice cream and sweets and toppings. I can’t believe I haven’t seen it yet. I really want to see it.”

Grint assures her that she will. He used to follow ice-cream trucks as a kid, and now that he’s 19, he figures owning one is a good investment in case this acting gig doesn’t work out over the long haul.

“I haven’t given it much thought, to be honest, but I think I definitely want to continue acting,” Grint said. “But I don’t know, so I’ll just see where it goes from there, really — and if it doesn’t work out, I’ve still got the ice cream van!”

After he passed his driving test five months ago, he didn’t buy a car — he went out and found an ice-cream van which would meet every child’s expectations.

In many ways, this teenager with the engaging grin and unruly red hair is the most down-to-earth of the the three Harry Potter stars. He’s candid about his lack of acting experience when he joined forces with Daniel Radcliffe and Emma Watson for the first film, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. That movie marked his professional acting debut, and at the time, Grint was unsure whether he wanted to continue playing Ron to the end of the seven-film cycle. Now it’s certain that all three will remain — in fact they start work this autumn on the sixth movie, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.

Meanwhile he had a ball working on the current instalment, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, opening July 11.

“I really liked doing my scenes — they were really cool,” he remembers. “It was a really good sort of atmosphere on the set and you got to do loads of stunts which is pretty cool.”

He reveals that in one sequence Ron and Hermione fight a duel. “Yeah, and who wins?” interrupts Watson who’s sitting next to him at the press conference.

Grint thinks that it’s been good for the cast to work with a succession of different directors — Chris Columbus, Alfonso Cuaron, Mike Newell and now David Yates. “It’s always been quite exciting to meet a new one.”

He tends to be recognized often on the street because of his trademark hair, but that’s never been a problem for him. “When I get recognized they always say good things about the film and I’ve always had good feedback.”

But he also finds it weird to watch the earlier films these days.

“Looking back at all the films, it just seems like one big long film,” he said. “It’s weird to look back at the early ones because of how young we were and how much we’ve changed now — but we’ve really enjoyed it. It’s been a really good part of my life.”


Original article found here: The StarPhoenix | July 9, 2007

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WB wild for ‘Harry Potter’

Phoenix’ globetrots to L.A. premiere

Written by Anthony D’Alessandro

How does Warner Bros. generate excitement for another “Harry Potter” film?

Well, throwing a huge premiere for the fifth installment, “Harry Potter and The Order of the Phoenix” (one of a series splashy events from Tokyo to London) at Grauman’s Chinese Theater with mobs of screaming Potter fanatics is always a solid attention grabber.

Rupert Grint, aka Ron Weasley, was floored by the vintage venue, telling the aud at the screening, “This is the coolest cinema I’ve ever been in.”

At the after-party at Jim Henson‘s studios, which doubled as Hogsmeade village with its Elizabethan-style architecture, producer David Heyman explained his reasons for selecting helmer David Yates, whose work is mostly unknown Stateside.

“Actors in David’s television projects give their best performance, often of their career. It’s important to keep pushing the actors, particularly the young ones on each ‘Potter’ film,” Heyman said. “This is a political film, not with a capital P, but it’s about teen rebellion and the abuse of power. David has made films in the U.K. about politics without being heavy handed.”

In the new pic, Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) leads a student revolt and gets his face slapped by Hogwart’s headmistress Dolores Umbridge (Imelda Staunton)”I said to Daniel, ‘I’m going to ask Imelda to hit you in one of these takes, but you won’t know which one so you don’t flinch,’ ” Yates said. “I wanted to make the material feel real and emotionally truthful, so that the magic was more extraordinary.”

Among those at Sunday’s after-party where there were Potter carnival games like “Flip-a-Phoenix,” were Potter thesps Radcliffe and Emma Watson, scribe Michael Goldenberg and Warner Bros. studio toppers Alan Horn, Barry Meyer and production prexy Jeff Robinov.


Original article found at Variety I July 9, 2007

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