With fifth Potter movie Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix about to hit UK cinema screens, David Savage went to the press conference in London, then chatted to Daniel Radcliffe about art and theatre, and Rupert Grint about golf and ice cream! Here’s our report…
On the morning of Monday 25 June 2007, the day that Britain will have its worst storms in decades and Sheffield will be submerged underwater, a large group of international journalist types – and me – are sat in a big room in County Hall by the Thames in London. It looks like the House of Commons, but the witchy broomsticks scattered about make it clear that it’s not boring old politicians we’re waiting for. Nope, this is the press conference for Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, hosted by That Ben Shepherd Off TV, and there’s a buzz in the air because all the major young cast members are about to arrive, along with the director, producer and writer.
When they do, it’s interesting to note the differences between Daniel Radcliffe and Rupert Grint who sit together. Daniel’s smart with suit and tie, buzzes with nervous energy, talks lots and isn’t just make-you-smirk-from-time-to-time funny but actually spit-out-your-crisps laugh-out-loud funny, and could easily have a career as a stand-up comic. Whereas Rupert is casual, laid back, a teen of few words, and has a quieter sense of humour, a deep grin often creasing his face as he happily watches Daniel get tangled up in his rapid-fire monologues.
Next, it’s time to chat with Rupert Grint. He’s as chilled out as ever, friendly and fun to speak to.
Rupert, how did you find making Driving Lessons compared to making the Potter films. Like Daniel’s December Boys it was quite low budget…
Yeah, it was really two extremes. Driving Lessons had such a low budget. We just filmed it round London. It was really simple and I enjoyed it. We didn’t do too many takes – usually just about two takes. About five scenes a day. It’s such a different way of working; quite cool. And it was nice to be in such an atmosphere – not full of magical creatures. Dragons and stuff like that!
Which of the two types of film would you prefer to make in future?
I don’t know, really. I did like it, yeah. But it’s a lot of fun doing all the visual effects stuff, too, ’cause it’s really cool to look back and watch the film at the end. There’s one scene in the new Potter that’s just out there really, where we’re flying through London. It’s really wicked, and I do love stuff like that. I do like that side of film.
Is it true you’ve bought an ice cream van?
(NODS) It’s quite strange really. I’ve always been into the ice cream industry, and I’ve just got an ice cream van, yeah. It’s got two freezers and lots of ice cream in the back. It’s lots of fun driving it about.
Which ice cream van jingle does it play?
It’s hard to find one, actually. I can plug it into my MP3 player and play what I want, but it’s hard to find a good ice cream jingle.
Do you park then drive off when the local kids come for ice creams?
Yeah! You get a lot of disappointed children following you round.
There’s a road movie in that. You setting off on an adventure in your ice cream van…
Yeah! And it’s also a back up plan in case the acting doesn’t work out.
What else are you into?
I’ve got quite a few interests. When I left school I limited my boundaries a bit, I suppose. But I’ve always been into art.
Did you leave before A Levels?
Yeah, I left at 16. I could always go back… but I don’t see it, really!
Is it true you’re into golf?
Yeah, I am into golf. I’ve just been getting into it recently.
What’s the best golfing tip you’ve ever been given?
The best tip?!
Aren’t golfers always swapping golfing tips?
Yeah. Well, the most important thing is to keep your head down when you’re going through the swings. I never thought I’d get into it, but I really enjoy it.
Do you buy any of the golfing magazines?
I have bought a few, yeah!
It’s that bad, then?
Yeah. But there’s so much equipment involved!
You’re into music, too, aren’t you?
Yeah, I like music. I play the didgeridoo. I got a little CD that taught me – but I don’t really know what to do with it. I haven’t mastered it yet. I can make a noise with it. I can sound like Rolf Harris.
Which bands do you like?
I’ve got wide tastes. I like the Arctic Monkeys and a lot of new bands. I go to a lot of gigs.
On your travels, which country has the most intense Harry Potter fans?
It varies. The British ones aren’t as forward or loud as the American ones. But the Japanese are really crazy. I went a couple of years ago – it was really great.
Have you seen any of the films dubbed into Japanese?
Yeah, they ran them on TV there. It was cool. You couldn’t tell it was dubbed. It really looked like I was speaking Japanese.
When a new cast member like Evanna Lynch (as Luna Lovegood) joins the set, how do you make them feel like one of the family – because you must all have bonded so much over the years.
We don’t really do anything in particular. But Evanna fitted in really well. She knows the books so well, everyone speaks to her to find out stuff! It’s good for us when there’s someone new ’cause it freshens things up for us.
When the last Potter film wraps, there’ll surely be quite a big vacuum in your life – will it be hard to deal with for a while with when it all ends?
Definitely, yes. It’s been such a massive part of my life. Every year I’ve had the same consistent routine.
And you spend much more time in the Harry Potter world than out of it…?
Definitely, yeah. It will be weird not to do it, really. Hopefully other stuff will come up. But I’m gonna miss it. It’s been really fun and I’ve met some really cool people and done some really cool stuff.
Another writer asks Rupert if it’s true that he’s scared of spiders and he shudders – “yeah – spiders. Really bad. I don’t like ’em at all” – so how did he cope with facing the whopping spider in Prisoner of Azkaban? He says he’s lucky he didn’t have to face any real ones, but adds “I’m not really scared of massive ones. Just the little ones that can crawl on you.”
So if you got into your ice cream van one pleasant morning and found a Black Widow perched on the Raspberry Ripple, how would you cope?
Oh, that’d ruin the whole thing. That would totally put me off it…
Original article found here: Popcorn | June 25th, 2007