The light before the dark

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Written by Bruce Kirkland

LEAVESDEN, HERTFORDSHIRE, ENGLAND — The Harry Potter series will lighten up on the darkness and turn into a romantic comedy for Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.


That is the word on set at Leavesden Studios, where the Potter franchise has established its own world, and its permanent sets, for the decade-long production of all seven movies.

Emma Watson, who plays Hermione Granger, and Rupert Grint, who plays Ron Weasley, are delighted about the comic touch on Half-Blood.

Daniel Radcliffe, as Harry Potter himself, is not as keen. Instead, he is eager to skip to the dark finale, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, due in 2010.

“We’ve got a long haul ahead of us!” the charming yet eternally serious Radcliffe says when Sun Media wishes him luck on the current shoot. When I mention that “everyone’s delighted” to have a tonal shift from the brooding atmosphere of The Order of the Phoenix, Radcliffe smiles and says:

“Everyone’s ‘not’ delighted to be on this!” He is referring to himself.

“I think the script’s great and I think it’s going to be a really great film. But I’m just one of those people that, in what I’m doing, I always lean toward the dark side and I really enjoy doing the dark stuff.

“I know Emma and Rupert really, really like the lighter stories and all that. And Rupert particularly is really going to have a field day on this, because he’s got fantastic comic timing and he’ll be able to use all of that to great effect on this film with his relationship with Lavender Brown.

“(But) I’m actually going to miss doing all the morbid stuff, I think.” So he is eager for film seven. “That’s the one last hurrah, that film. That’s going to be great. I really am very, very excited about the whole thing. It’s going to be epic, I hope.”

Watson likes Hermione going forward. “I think Hermione has a massive part to play in Harry’s success. She teaches him that the only way of defeating Voldemort is through trusting his friends and having his friends (at his side). Cutting himself off from them makes him vulnerable because he has more to lose but less (vulnerable) because he has more to fight for and they can help him through it.”

While Half-Blood does have dark passages it will emphasize the romantic entanglements.

“Every film has its own sort of atmosphere,” says Grint. “This one, it’s really, really cool. I’m looking forward to this one.

“It’s got sort of a dark undertone to it because Voldemort is back and that is quite a scary time for them. But there are some really cool bits in it. Ron gets a girlfriend in it, so that’s going to be quite cool.”

Producer David Hayman says the humour in Half-Blood will be “slightly warmer” than seen in Potter before.

“It’s much more comedy and the awkwardness of romance. And the romance goes beyond Harry into Hermione and Ron and other characters. I also think it’s about characters growing apart as well as realizing the importance of one another.”

As for the Half-Blood script, written before J.K. Rowling released the final book, only one change had to be made once Deathly Hallows went public. There was an awkward reference to Dumbledore’s wand, Hayman says. “For obvious reasons (if you’ve read the seventh book) it had to be changed.”

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

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HollyWood.com (Rupert Grint Has Filled Out)

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Amidst all the feverish talk of elderly adventurers, alien robots and flamboyantly gay Austrians, it’s easy to forget that there’s one very powerful teenage wizard waiting in the wings, ready to stake his claim upon the summer box-office crown. Warner Bros. delivered a powerful reminder this week, releasing a new poster and two new clips for Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, the eagerly-anticipated sixth chapter of J.K. Rowling’s beloved franchise.

The first clip, a full-length scene dubbed “I’m in love with her,” involves a somewhat loopy Ron Weasley professing his love for Romilda Vane to a decidedly befuddled Harry. (That Rupert Grint has really filled out, hasn’t he? Kid looks like a linebacker – or at least a very fit placekicker.) The second clip is a featurette of new footage mixed with behind-the-scenes interviews. The new poster, meanwhile, boasts the ominous (if not entirely subtle) tagline “Dark Secrets Revealed.”

Original article found at Hollywood.com|May 22nd, 2009

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Harry Potter Casting Call Could Help Ron Weasley Find Perfect Shade Of Lavender

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Written by Jennifer Vineyard

Get ready to pucker up, Rupert Grint — the upcoming open casting call for Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is about to become your own personal casting coach (albeit in a PG-13 world).

In the next installment of the series, due in November 2008, Grint’s Ron Weasley gets a girlfriend — or, more accurately, a make-out partner — in the form of Lavender Brown. So to make sure Ron gets just the right shade of Lavender, director David Yates has a little test in mind.

“You know what I’m going to do?” Yates said. “I never did this before, but I’m going to get Rupert together with the top five Lavenders, get him to come and read with them and snog with them. It’s a chemical thing, and you want to feel that chemistry between them. That will help me decide.”

“Really?” Grint asked — since this was news to him. “Oh, wow, I didn’t realize that. That’s going to be interesting. It’s going to be embarrassing.”

Grint already had his first on-screen kiss in the indie film Driving Lessons. Still, even with that notch in his belt, the actor isn’t any more at ease with the idea of being instructed at how to tilt his head at just the right angle for the cameras to get the most of his mouth. “It is a bit clinical and they do so many takes,” Grint said. “I’m not really looking forward to it.”

Even though Yates has already seen a lot of Lavenders, he’s eager to test the waters with an open call July 1 in London because of the success they had last time around with finding Evanna Lynch, who plays Luna Lovegood in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, which is in theaters July 11. Though they had a few potential Lunas who were “very, very close” the last time around, as they do with the Lavenders now, the filmmakers decided to throw the auditions open just to be sure.

“We had the biggest, maddest auditions you’ve ever seen,” Yates said. “Something like 18,000 kids turned up, and when I pulled up in the car and looked out the window, the queue went around and around the block. But we found Evanna in that mix, so it was worth it.”

There will also be an open casting call in London on July 8 for the role of Tom Riddle. Though the teenage form of Lord Voldemort was seen before in 2002′s Chamber of Secrets, the actor who played him then, the nearly 30-year-old Christian Coulson, has aged out of the part. “I think Christian’s a brilliant actor, and I thought it was a terrific piece of casting, but he’s too old now,” Yates said.

Like Lavender, the filmmakers have seen a few candidates so far over the past few weeks but want to find just the perfect person for the part — even if he doesn’t look exactly like his predecessor.

“What I want is that equality of spirit,” Yates said. “Someone who is odd, charismatic, cool, has a quite cold spirit which Voldemort embodies. If I find that, that’s the most important thing.”

Original article found at MTV Asia I June 26, 2007

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Potter Has Given Me Rob Forever

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Chris Brandes

Ron Knox is circled below from Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

THE heartbroken mum of murdered Harry Potter actor Rob Knox told last night of her pride at seeing her son’s glittering movie debut.

Sally Knox, 51, spoke after watching an emotional private screening of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince ahead of its star-studded premiere in London tomorrow.

It was the first glimpse Sally has had of 18-year-old Rob playing Hogwarts pupil Marcus Belby.

In an exclusive interview, she told The Sun: “Seeing the film made me feel immensely proud, but at the same time there’s an underlying sense of sadness at Robert not being there to see it for himself.

“It would have been the pinnacle of his career – but at least we have a memory that will last forever.”

Rob, from Sidcup, Kent, had just finished filming when he was stabbed to death outside a bar in May last year.


The brave youngster had been protecting his younger brother Jamie, now 18, when he was attacked by callous knife thug Karl Bishop, 22.

Sally and Rob’s father Colin, 56, had already been asked to attend the red carpet premiere of the film tomorrow in London’s Leicester Square.

But movie bosses decided to invite them and 50 of Rob’s family and friends to a preview at Warner Brothers’ London HQ on Saturday.

Sally said: “I don’t think I’ve ever felt more emotional than when we arrived. Part of it was not knowing what to expect when I saw Robert appear on screen.”

Rob’s role saw him appear alongside Potter stars Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint. In one scene, he is shown sitting around a table dining with Harry, Hermione and Professor Slughorn (Jim Broadbent). The scene is Rob’s longest in the film.

Sally recalled: “I remembered how he’d phoned me on the day they’d shot that scene. He said he was feeling sick. It turned out everyone else had been picking at the food through the takes while he’d been stuffing his face.”

Neither Sally nor Colin, who are divorced, have seen even a hint of remorse from Bishop, now serving life in jail. Sally said: “Frankly I’m not expecting anything from him.”

She added: “Robert never cared what anyone thought of him. I remember walking through a shopping centre and he slipped his hand into mine.

“I said, ‘You’re not going to get any street cred for that,’ and he told me, ‘I don’t care – I love my mum.’”

Original article found at TheSun.co.uk | July 6th, 2009

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

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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.


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’

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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.


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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Three’s A Charm

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Three’s A Charm

Written by Bruce Kirkland

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


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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Potty About Lavender

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Potty about Lavender

I’m a big JK Rowling fan, so even though I try to feign a cool, composed look, I’m very excited to be meeting the actress who plays Lavender Brown, Ron Weasley’s girlfriend in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.

We meet for tea in Claridges and Jessie arrives, straight from her rehearsals for Arcadia, a Tom Stoppard play. She has beautiful, flawless skin – which is not surprising, as she sups a non-alcoholic fruit cocktail.

At just 22, Jessie is at the start of her career and seems genuinely bewildered as well as thrilled to have bagged a film role. “To be in a Harry Potter film is still the most bizarre thing,” she says.

However, it wasn’t an overnight success story as the film auditions began back in 2007, when around 200 people were seen for the part. The second auditions were open, with over 7,000 girls vying for the role. It was only on looking back that Jessie realised what she had achieved. “Once I got cast, I realised they must have auditioned close to 8,000 people. It was a mind-blowing lottery kind of win.”

The Ealing-based actress believes it was all down to a strong chemistry with Rupert Grint. “I did really fancy him! In a girly, innocent kind of way – not a weird way at all. I didn’t want to scare him and I’d never tell him. I think that really helped the energy. That’s what David Yates [the director] said to me. We kept making each other laugh, we just clicked.”

Ambition also played a big part in securing the role. “I wanted it so much,” she says. It wasn’t easy getting to the auditions as Jessie was filming Summerhill (based on life at the progressive and rather bohemian school in Suffolk), which was hundreds of miles away. She and her mother brainstormed ways to get there on time, including hiring a motorbike to bomb down the motorway. “In the end, my mum was there on the dot to take me down, and arrived by the skin of my teeth. The amount of energy that went into that day probably helped. I don’t think anyone wanted it more than I did.” Then there’s the instinct and understanding of the role as Jessie really got under the skin of 16-year-old Lavender Brown, recognising similarities between them. “I remember at that age I was utterly obsessed with boys.”

When she was at Latymer school, her little gang would follow unsuspecting lads around. “We found timetables of boys we fancied. We knew at any precise moment where this boy would be. We used to place ourselves wherever he would be. If he only knew how desperate I was!”

Personally, I think Ron Weasley made the wrong choice in opting for Hermione as Lavender is such a delight, with her untrammelled sexuality. Jessie agrees to a certain extent. “She is a goer when you read the book. But she has so much heart and she really just loved him.”

Alas, as with many first loves, it ends in disaster as Ron finally plucks up the courage to end his relationship with Lavender. “She’s too desperate. She’s not the right girl for him. She’s too obsessed, too girly. Hermione is the right one for Ron.” Jessie can’t harbour too many grudges against the alpha female Hermione, as the Gryffindor girl saves Lavender from a Death Eater in the next Potter film.

In fact, Jessie’s role as Thomasina Coverly in Arcadia seems to have marked similarities with Hermione’s character. “I play a child genius who is way ahead of her time mathematically. It’s a great play about love, the chaos theory and maths.” The play began its run at the Duke of York’s Theatre in June and continues until September.

Home for Jessie is her much beloved Ealing. “I’ve always lived in Ealing apart from a brief horrific stint in Pinner. We moved back as soon as possible once we realised how great Ealing was.”

She loves pottering around the area, especially Oscar’s coffee shop and organic food shop As Nature Intended. The young actress is just loving blending in and being part of her neighbourhood, involved with local establishments such as the Jill Wildman Dance Gallery. “She does the most amazing classes, it’s a great community thing. She’s done so much for Ealing.”

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is out on 15 July 2009

Article found here on Westside MagazineI Published July, 2009

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Half Blood Prince Premiere: London & New York

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icm exc hbp

Welcome to our page of our live coverage from the premieres of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince in both London and New York.

London Premiere, 7 July 2009

Rupert greets ICM from the Red Carpet
Report London Premiere
Videos from the Red Carpet
Pictures from the Red Carpet before the rain

New York, 9 July 2009

Rupert talks to ICM on the Red Carpet
Report New York Premiere
Warwick Davis talks to ICM
Daniel Radcliffe
Pictures from the Red Carpet and the Today Show
Rupert Grint Half Blood Prince Premiere
Daniel Radcliffe Today Show
Lanaya’s Fan Report from New York


‘Harry Potter': Does Lavender Have A Real-Life Crush On Ron?

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Why should Harry Potter get all the love? It’s about time for Ron Weasley — Harry’s Hogwarts BFF and sidekick — to get a little lovin’ too!

Jessie Cave plays over-dramatic witch-in-training, Lavender Brown, who is Ron’s girlfriend in the next big-screen installment of the Harry Potter saga: “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.” But it appears Jessie’s affection for the quirky red-headed wizard existed even when the cameras stopped rolling.

In the July issue ofTatler magazine, the up-and-coming actress talks about her real-life crush on onscreen boyfriend Rupert Grint!

In the magazine, Jessie says she thinks Rupert is a bit scared of her but hints that she wouldn’t mind an offscreen love connection.

“I thought there might be a link there,” Jessie said. “Who knows, maybe in the future!”

Not only did Jessie talk about crushing on her co-star, but she also spilled the beans on her Harry Potter audition.

“For the final audition I was kitted out in Hogwarts uniform and driven in a golf-buggy to the Gryffindor common room,” the actress recalled. “I had to improvise in front of a room full of people with Rupert and a paper biscuit for half an hour.”

Hmmm … I wonder if Jessie’s crush on her wide-eyed co-star developed during her audition. I mean nothing speaks romance like a room full of people and a paper biscuit!

I’m more of a Cedric Diggory fan myself. Of course, this has nothing to do with the fact Robert Pattinson played him (er, that’s a lie!), but since Cedric is out of the picture, maybe I should join Jessie and start crushing on Rupert, too!

Jessie is currently single, but I guess we’ll all just have to wait and see if it lasts. Life can imitate art, right?

Original article found at HollywoodCrush.MTV | June 16, 2009

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