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HPP’s Full Deathly Hallows Part 2 Set Visit Report

Posted by Dijares On July - 5 - 2011

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2Last October I published my set visit to Leavesden Studios for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1, which you can see here. I am happy to say that I am now able to publish the rest of the set visit that pertains to Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, including a scene I watched being filmed.

This is my one and only warning for spoilers.  I did not hold back on anything, so if you do not want to be spoiled, then I suggest you not read the rest.

It was March 2010 when a group of us from different Harry Potter fansites and media outlets were taken to Leavesden Studios just north of London near Watford.  Our visit took place on the 224th day (of over 300 days) of filming. It was a bit chilly, and I was a bit stressed out and nervous.  Nervous because I was going to see the Harry Potter film sets and interview many of the stars and crew of Harry Potter.  Stressed because I had lost my iPhone in the middle of London (which I thankfully found the next day).

The buildings are surrounded by a large area of grass and small hills. The warehouse-like building we enter has many areas cordoned off to separate areas.  The ‘room’ we’re taken into almost appears to be a tent.  The inside walls had many photos plastered to them.  Outside of these walls come sounds of banging, whizzing, and small construction vehicles being driven.

Many of the photos on the walls were from the first film (read about those here).  Those from Part 2 include:

  • Ron holding Hermione with Griphook who is holding the Gryffindor sword
  • A close up of Ron holding Hermione whose eyes are closed
  • Bill and Olivander (who is holding a wand)
  • Dumbledore’s brother, Aberforth, who is sitting at a table with a drink
  • The trio with a short-haired Neville Longbottom – he’s much taller than the trio – and they are behind Ariana’s (Dumbeldore’s younger sister) portrait
  • Ron and Hermione getting ready to kiss while in the Chamber of Secrets – Rupert truly shows the love that Ron has for Hermione in this picture – it makes my heart feel good
  • Harry getting ready to put a memory in the Pensieve that is located in what is now Snape’s office
  • The Marauder’s map
  • The Ravenclaw Diadem

The first of the actors we get to meet is the one and only Dan Radcliffe.  He had not originally been scheduled to film that day, but wanted to make sure we were able to meet with him so he took the trip (about a 45 to 60 minute drive) out to the studio so we wouldn’t miss him.  Such a nice guy!

He enters looking very handsome in a blazer, a buttoned shirt, and jeans.  He marvels at the room stating that it had been quite some time since he’d been in there and he’s always excited to see what was new with the displays.

When asked about the differences between the two films, he says that he feels they have a good balance.  “If it’s right it should have a very good balance.  The action sequences are pretty much non-stop.  But that shouldn’t, and I don’t think will, over power the characters of the story.”

Ginny Weasley and Harry Potter Kiss During Hogwarts Battle

He’s questioned about the budding romance between Harry and Ginny and any kissing they’ll share.  We’ve seen one of those kisses in the first film, in which a sly George peeks in on and, of course in typical Weasley twin fashion, has to make an, erm, nod to.  He admits that there’s more kisses to come in the second film during the battle.  “It’s done in a less dramatically way.  It’s done during a time when they may not see each other again, and I suggested that it be done quickly because there’s not a lot of time. So, the relationship does blossom and eventually she becomes my wife.”

There’s a point in the story when Harry separates from Ron and Hermione, feeling he must complete certain missions on his own.  For instance, he must get to the Pensieve to see one of Snape’s memories and find the Ravenclaw Diadem (one of the Horcruxes).

“Harry kind of splits from Ron and Hermione and you follow the story separately.  I don’t actually know how long it will end up being between the time of finding the Diadem and the ultimate fight with Voldemort.  You certainly won’t notice the time go by.  The action is really non-stop.  You won’t really have time to think about the pacing it’ll just be happening to you.”

That scene in the woods and actually walking into the forest was one that I was looking forward to the most to film because I see it as one of the key moments in the film.

Lily Potter
Sirius Black

One of the big moments in the story is the chapter from Deathly Hallows called ‘The Forest Again’.  This is an extremely emotional time for Harry.  He’s figured out what to do with one of the Hallows.  With it he can bring dead people back, and some of Harry’s loved ones do return to give him assistance.  Dan explains that he was really excited to do this scene.  “That scene in the woods and actually walking into the forest was one that I was looking forward to the most to film because I see it as one of the key moments in the film.  Naturally, I came away feeling I didn’t do well enough.  It’s very hard to judge how scenes like that went.  I know I certainly gave it everything.  Dave [Yates] and I worked very closely on this scene.  It’s a funny thing when you put that much pressure on yourself, the whole day becomes, ‘This is the most important scene in the film,’ which kind of takes away from the objectivity, and it’s harder to judge what you’re doing.

Nagini offs him and it’s a great scene.

Another pivotal moments in the film is when Snape dies.  This scene, along with the scene where Harry goes to the Pensieve and reveals Snape’s memory, really opens Harry’s eyes and shows him how much Snape actually did for Harry and why Snape did many of the things he did.  It all comes together in a crashing reality for Harry.  Everything Snape did he did for his love for Harry’s mother, Lily.  Dan reveals that Snape’s death is not pretty.  “We did it quite recently.  It was pretty violent.  Nagini offs him and it’s a great scene…there’s this great part in the film…the scene takes part in the boat house.”  He looks around to see if a photo of the boat house is posted somewhere on the walls [it’s not].  “But we keep talking about the boat house.”  He mimics like he’s speaking to someone, “I know where it is, it’s in the boat house.”  The boat house? “We’ve never talked about a boat house in the other films. But that’s where it takes place and it’s a great set.”

He says that Alan Rickman (Professor Snape) does wonderful in the scene.  “It’s a great scene and Alan plays it wonderfully and beautifully…all the stuff about [Harry’s] mother and it’s played as you would expect him to…It was a pleasure to see Alan give that performance.”

…people absolutely do amazing things for love and particularly for unrequited love.

When asked whether he feels Snape’s love for Lily adequately explains Snape’s actions and the risks he takes to help Harry, he answers, “I’m not in a position to judge, because I’m not in a place to feel those feelings, but presumably people absolutely do amazing things for love and particularly for unrequited love.  I don’t think it’s the course of action everybody would take but it turns out to be very noble and one that I think Harry can completely understand Snape’s feelings towards him personally after what he sees in the pensieve.”

At the time of our visit, the Epilogue scene hadn’t been filmed yet, but when asked about it, Dan jokes a bit about what Ron will look like.  He confirms they’ve gone the Mr. Weasley (Ron’s father) route saying, “He’s not missed too many lunches.  I look like my dad, which is quite bizarre.”

This film has many more battle scenes than any of the other films.  Dan says he doesn’t feel it’s much of a challenge to keep Harry’s character going during the battle scenes, as he feels people associate Harry with battles.  He says that the physical aspect (the jumping, running, etc.) is actually a good thing, as it helps him to keep in character and he isn’t necessarily thinking about the lines.  “This isn’t something I have to particularly change into a different mode for,” he explains.  “You’re not busy being over critical and over analyzing, because you’re busy thinking about the more important stuff.”

When asked if there’s a point where he feels Harry becomes a man, Dan says he doesn’t really feel there is a point that Harry becomes a man, because he’s still 17 years old.  Dan does believe there is one area, however, that Harry does come very close to being a man, saying, “He grows up hugely in this film, especially at the point in King’s Cross Station where he makes the decision with Dumbledore to go back rather than dyeing and going on to a peaceful afterlife.  I suppose that is where he is the most grown up. But he is still a boy, which makes it so awful when Voldemort tries to kill him.”

…we had to be pulled out of the water because we were – Rupert in particular – absolutely purple.

He was asked about the scene in Part 1 where he jumped into the lake to get the Gryffindor sword.  Rumor had it that he would be nude.  He corrected the rumor to state he wasn’t nude, but was down to his shorts.  He went on to explain that, for this scene, he was lucky, because it was done in the studio and the water was warm.  However, in another scene, the water wasn’t heated, and he and Rupert were in for a big chill.  “There was one day where me, Rupert, and Emma…it was a Friday – really not the way you want to spend a Friday – and we were outside…the shot was where we had just dropped off the dragon’s back into this lake, and we’re coming out of the lake explaining some of the back story, and as we’re explaining it, me and Rupert are stripping off our clothes and changing into dry clothes.  Emma wasn’t changing in the shot, so she had a dry suit on under her costume, but we couldn’t since we had to change.  We were absolutely – I mean, normally we don’t let this bother us – but we had to be pulled out of the water because we were – Rupert in particular – absolutely purple.  We had to stop filming for about 50 minutes.  It was one of those really – gaw – man, it was cold!  That was a black Friday.”

He goes on to say, however, that normally they’re fine when doing these types of scenes and that they are rarely done.

Harry would really like to stay and just be absorbed by the ‘divine light’ that is surrounding him.

One of the scenes that many of the fans are looking forward to (and we have yet to see in any of the trailers) is the King’s Cross Station scene with Dumbledore.  This is one of Dan’s favorite scenes.  He said he had put a lot of pressure on himself during this scene.  He said he didn’t do a lot of preparation as he doesn’t know what to do to prepare for the afterlife.  He played it from the aspect that ‘this place’ (where Dumbledore was) was actually quite a nice place, and the place he had left (with all the violence) wasn’t very nice.  He played it from the point of view that the place was quite nice and Harry would really like to stay and just be absorbed by the ‘divine light’ that is surrounding him.  But that doesn’t happen because Harry has to return.

We then take a tour of the set and meet Nick Dudman who has been the Creature Designer of the Harry Potter films since the beginning of the films.  We’re taken to his shop where the number of staff members ebbs and flows depending on the current scenes they’re working on.

Trio on the Dragon

One of the projects being worked on was the skin for the back of the dragon that escapes from Gringotts.  It’s part of a machine that the trio will ride on.  This is the only part of the dragon that isn’t digital.  The polyurethane they were using to make the skin wasn’t quite safe for breathing purposes, so we only got a quick glimpse.  But it was rather large.

The Fabrication Department is where they make body suits and where they make things that need to be added to people.  This is also where the body suits for the trio will be made for the epilogue.  For their body changes, they’re doing very subtle changes, including make-up, to help them age to their 30s.  They’re going to make the girls a bit more ‘hippy’ and ‘busty’, and adding a bit of a tummy, because they’ve had kids.  The boys on the other hand are slightly wider and heavier.

Dudman explains, “We’re doing lots of different changes so there’s no statement made.  So that when you go into the story 17 or 18 years later, you’re not jarred.  However you do realize something has happened.”

The good thing with Ron, you can actually be quite humorous.

When asked if Ron (Rupert) has put on a bit of weight, he said this is most definitely true.  “When we first tested him, he rather took to the bodysuit and the stomach rather too well,” he explains with a smile.  He continues, “The good thing with Ron, you can actually be quite humorous.  However, with the girls we’ve got to be flattering.  Dan can’t be humorous; he can’t be something that’s going to distract.  So it’s actually quite difficult.”

“Make up wise,” he says, “is quite tricky as well.  We do tiny little pieces, you know, like silicon eye bags – little silicon pieces.  But it’s all got to be something that doesn’t make a statement or distracts you from the action in the story.”

He begins to discuss the many Goblins used during the Gringotts Bank scene.  It was a huge task but they pulled it off.  “So, all of the Gringotts goblins, there were 38 separate make-ups. For every day of shooting there were 38 separate forehead pieces, each a different sculpt.  Every one of them has the hair [strands] put in individually.  So, every day, that’s another 38 sets of eyebrows.”

Of course, to do all of this took a tremendous amount of work and people to accomplish.  “We had teams just endlessly doing this,” he says.

He then shows us a completed Goblin face.  “As you can see, the eyebrow hairs have been put in one at a time as the correct angle.  So it all fits beautifully.  But it’s all got to be the same for every day this character works so that they can cut from any day of shooting to any other day of shooting and it matches.”

To pull something off this large, especially with the large number of Goblins they used for the Gringotts scene, takes a huge amount of support.  “We hit 158 [support] people for this, when we were doing the Goblin sequence.  The bulk of the movie, we have 80.”

They used more Goblins than they have before, which, of course, took an extreme amount of work for the make-up department.  “On this film, I decided we’d be extremely foolish and that we’d make as many full silicone makeups as we possibly could.  I think we made 38, with about 22 background heads.  The problem we get into is that it takes three people for each set of makeups.  Those three people need a couple of assistants.  And for each makeup, you need a hair dresser.  So, this is how the crew ended up at 158. And everybody was in there [in the small make-up area].  It took a lot of arranging.”

The problem they ran into with using this many people was actually finding the qualified people to do this.  They asked those who were already on the set to ask people they knew and for those people to find people they knew.  They ended up with about 40.  So they took 20 trainees and trained them over a year’s time to do just this make-up.  But they still didn’t have enough support.  So how did he find the people?  He attended the International Make-Up Artist Trade Show in London and asked people there if they’d like to attend.  So, they ended up with people from all over Europe (over 17 different nationalities) on their crew and had a fantastic time.

Then they all had to be trained, all the goblin actors had to be fed, they needed people who knew how to put in contacts, etc.  “It was a logistical nightmare,” he said.

We then get to see the Voldemort baby.  “We have a sequence in this movie at King’s Cross, where Harry basically has either died or been stunned, and there’s this thing underneath the bench that’s screaming and pulsing.  In the book, it’s quite vague.  Basically we think it’s what’s left of Voldemort’s soul.  Now, in the book, you’re like, ‘okay, that’s fine, I’ll buy into that,’ but when you translate into what’s it’s actually going to be, we figured, since you’ve already seen this character in the fourth film as this revolting thing that’s been dropped into a cauldron and then becomes Ralph Fiennes [Voldemort], the logic was to go back to that, so that the audience will go, ‘Ah, little Voldemort,’ as opposed to, ‘God, what’s that under that bench?’”

The baby (I really hesitate to call it this because it’s really creepy looking and not like a, ‘Oh, what a cute baby’ kind of thing – it’s very nasty looking) is thin.  They are testing its movements and it’s hooked up to many different wires looking like something hooked up to life support machines.  Its head is moving back and forth and small thin arms are flailing.  The skin is translucent and looks to have veins beneath it.  The face is flat and snake-like, like the grown Voldemort. Very frightening.

We tested him inside an amniotic sac, covered in blood, with goop everywhere, and we’ve shot the scene, but without the close ups, and we’re going to do a series of tests, though I think he’ll end up quite bloody.

He discusses the different experiments they did for the baby Voldemort.  “We tested him inside an amniotic sac, covered in blood, with goop everywhere, and we’ve shot the scene, but without the close ups, and we’re going to do a series of tests, though I think he’ll end up quite bloody.”

He explains how they operate the dummy.  “He’s an android puppet. He’ll be operated from underneath the floor.  He writhes and moves.  His chest pumps and the eyes are compressed, and his jaw moves.  His hands are mechanized as well, which is really tricky because with something this fine and small, you basically have to build the machine, the part that’s mechanized, and build it in the mold, and then pour the skin – the silicone – through the mold and seal it in there.  If it works perfectly, then we’ll paint it.  If it doesn’t, you have to strip everything off and clean everything.  We have to make sure the silicone doesn’t flow into the machinery.”

To make something like this, of course, takes a great amount of time.  “If you were making something like this from scratch, it takes about 3 to 4 months to complete.  And that’s really motoring.  The one good thing is that this has no hair.”

The dummy itself also needs painting to make it look real.  The paint includes wrinkles in the skin to the blue veins.

We then head over to different areas of the set, including Dumbledore’s office.  Apart from the Great Hall, Dumbledore’s office is the longest standing set.  It was built during the second film.  For this film, however, it had a re-dress, because it becomes Snape’s office.  However, we see it as Dumbledore’s office because they had filmed a sequence from one of Snape’s memories in which Alan Rickman had been there to film the night before.  The scene filmed was where Dumbledore and Snape discuss Snape’s love for Lily and Dumbledore asks Snape to look after Harry.  While it’s dressed as Snape’s office, Dumbeldore’s portrait hangs high and looks over the entire office.

I get a chance to sit in Dumbledore’s chair.  The cushion is lose and comes off easily.  There are many books on his desk, including one titled “Household Words.”  I go up the narrow stairs behind his desk.  The stairs creek as I walk on them and I wonder how much weight they can take.  The shelves along the stairs hold many different books and scrolls.  I then make it up to the tower and look over Dumbledore’s desk.  These are very cramped quarters – I must duck to not hit my head.  The globe in this area is only partially completed – the completed portion faces toward the office.  I head down the other stair way.  There are more books.  Some of the titles include, “The Dark Arts,” “Illegal Companion,” “A Witch’s Guide to the Use of Improper Magic,” and “Muggle Law, a Complete Guide.”  The smallest details  found here and there are completely amazing.  Gryffindor’s sword is seen in a case high up on a shelf.

We are told that when the office belongs to Snape, the office is much darker, the books are black, and the tone is darker.

All of the portraits are complete.  They don’t use any with green screen unless necessary for the scene (i.e. the portraits are moving).

We then enter the corridor, which they’ve named the Grey Lady corridor, where the scene was filmed with Dan and Evanna Lynch (Luna Lovegood) and they find the Grey Lady and discuss Rowena Ravenclaw’s diadem.

Outside the entrance to the Great Hall, we see the stairway where Hermione had made her entrance in her gown for the ball during Goblet of Fire.  The extra items we find in this area are the statues that McGonagall charms to come to life during the battle sequence.  They’re massive and very impressive.

We are then taken to the Great Hall – the longest standing set.  When we enter, there are animal trainers there with the Malfoy white peacock.  We steer clear so not to interrupt the process and spook the beautiful bird.

The room, which at the time didn’t include the long wooden tables, is extremely large and cavernous.  The floors are made of real York stone.  There’s no ceiling, as CGI is used for this area.  The walls are made to break away so that scenes can be filmed at certain angles.  The candles seen during filming are real, but can only be burned for a certain amount of time for health and safety reasons.  At full capacity, 350 children can fit into the room.  The children fill the room, and when it’s their turn for a break or classes, they go out and the next 350 children come into the room.  Quite an undertaking.

For the first two films, all of the food was real, including the turkeys, hams, and vegetables.  Now they don’t use quite as much real food.  Instead they use fiberglass props for the centerpieces (poor Ron!).  The fireplace is so large that I, at 66 inches tall, can completely stand in it.  It’s nearly 15 feet wide and the Hogwarts symbol is inside of it.

Where Dumbledore would normally stand at the head of the room, the wooden floor is very worn down.  There are nicks in the floor where the staff tables normally stand and it creeks like it’s very old.  The stained glass windows are actually painted.  All of the statues on the walls, which represent each of the houses, have wings, including the snakes and badgers.  There are secret panels along the walls so that, if there were an emergency, everyone can exit quickly and safely.

We then go to another area of the set where we see a man hand painting the hundreds of Hufflepuff cups that will end up multiplying in the Lestrange vault in Gringotts.  He will also hand paint all of the other items that multiply in the vault.

There was also a large group of props that had been used for the Room of Requirement scene at the end of the film when the trio are searching for the Diadem.  For this scene (the set is now taken over by the Ministry of Magic scene), there was an unimaginable amount of props filling all the way up to the ceiling (at least 25 to 30 feet high).  They used props from all of the films, including Trelawney’s tea cups, library book shelves, suit cases, props from Mad-Eye Moody’s classroom, and much more.


Harry in front of Ariana's Portrait

We then enter the Room of Requirement which is much larger that I had imagined.  We walk through the walkway that supposed to take us back to the Hog’s Head Pub entrance with Ariana’s portrait.  Cots made of the Hogwarts sleeping bags are placed willy-nilly all over the floor along with books, clothes, and trunks.  There are hammocks, with wooden ladders to get up to them, here and there.  There are portable silver heaters, bowls, ropes to climb, book bags, other bags, a chess set, the Quibbler, shoes, a stack of Daily Prophets (Titles: Ministry Witch Still Missing; Minister of Magic Now Personally Involved), scarves and jackets hanging, tables with little boxes, chairs, Herbology books for Neville’s area, a Gryffindor towel, wooden flutes, pillows, a blackboard, and so many other items one might expect to find for the Hogwarts students who have taken on their parts in Dumbledore’s Army.

We return to the tent room to meet with Oscar award-winning Production Designer Craig Stuart, who gives us insight into Gringotts Bank and the boat house that Dan spoke of earlier.

The trio invade Bellatrix Lestrange’s family vault located in Gringotts Bank to get the Hufflepuff Cup which is one of the Horcruxes.  This is a huge scene in the film and took a lot of creativity on Craig’s part.  “They invade the bank and go into the cavern beneath the bank where they find this 64 foot dragon and eventually go to the Lestrange vault, where everything they touch multiplies and they practically drown in this swelling tide of treasure and jewelry.”  He goes on the describe the rest of the scene, “Finally they’re caught by the goblins that run the bank and they escape on this dragon.”

Snape dies here, making it very atmospheric, looking out over the lake and the mountains, with the school in flames above.



He talks about Snape’s death scene and how Alan Rickman’s acting brought him to tears.  “He’s just so good, isn’t he?”  he says.  “His death is so moving.”

They filmed this scene in a different location from the book, with J.K. Rowling’s permission.  “Snape dies in the Shrieking Shack in the book, and it’s an interesting interior, but it somehow didn’t have the breadth and the romanticism that Snape’s death required.  So we made something of the boat house that’s beneath Hogwarts.  So we expanded it so it has a real sense of place.  Snape dies here, making it very atmospheric, looking out over the lake and the mountains, with the school in flames above.”

Costume Designer Jany Temime enters next.  She not a large lady, but somehow fills the room with her presence.  She’s very passionate about her work and it comes through with the costumes she develops for the films.

One of the challenges she faced for Part 2 was when Hermione takes polyjuice potion in order to turn into Bellatrix Lestrange.  Of course, Emma Watson (Hermione) has a completely different body style than Helena Bonham Carter (Bellatrix).  So, this was very difficult for Jany.   “The two bodies are very different.  When the change occurred [once the potion was taken] you had to see a smooth transition,” she says.  She went on to describe why she made the costume with a jacket to help with the transition.  “That’s why I had the dress, with a sort of coat on top, you don’t really see the shapes, you just see the movement,” she explains.

Hermione  as Bellatrix (Helena Bonham Carter) - Deathly Hallows Part 2

She then describes how Helena watched Emma in the same costume and imitated Emma’s mannerisms.  “First Emma wore the outfit, and she did good in it.  After that, Helena wore it, and she was looking at Hermione walking in the same costume, and she started walking herself and became Hermione.  It was amazing.  She immediately picked up the way of walking and the way of behaving.”  She says she truly liked the outfit as it wasn’t very specifically a Bellatrix type of style.

David Yates has directed most of the Harry Potter films.  His first was Order of the Phoenix.  On the red carpet for this film, he confirmed with me during my red carpet interview with him that he would like to continue filming the rest of the Harry Potter films.  He ended up directing four of the eight Potter films with, thus far, great success.

For Part 2, he said he’d love to be able to shoot straight into the film, without a real set up.  “The audiences have experienced 6 or 7 of these movies and they don’t need an intro, they don’t need a big bang…so the notion of shooting straight in I think is really fun.”

He wrote it without a beginning, which I thought was great because you’re just going, it starts, and you’re off.

He went on to say that screenwriter Steve Kloves wrote a first draft of the second part with this same spirit.  “He wrote it without a beginning, which I thought was great because you’re just going, it starts, and you’re off.”

He said for the final battle, he wanted it to feel more in the moment rather than visceral, as he feels this has already been done before.  “I feel doing it’s more fun this way and is more engaging, and you feel more involved,” he explains.

There’s a lot of intercutting during the battle scene where Harry is racing to find the Horcrux during Voldemort’s incursion into the school.

There are some extra scenes for the film they’ve added that aren’t in the book. He explains why they decided to add some of extra scenes, “It’s crazy that we’re adding things, when we’re always criticized for leaving things out.  The adapting is really very hard, and sometimes you have to add two or three things to help with structure.”

This is evident in the trailers we’ve seen where Harry says to Voldemort, while standing on a ledge of a crumbled Hogwarts, “Come on Tom, let’s finish this the way we started – together!” Harry grabs Voldemort and then hurls them both together off of the ledge to what one would assume is their deaths.  For those who have read the books, they know this is not how it ends, so the question still remains (until the movie comes out, that is) what is this extra scene all about?

Warwick Davis enters the room in complete make- up for Professor Flitwick.  His wig is quite amazing and even sitting right next to him I can hardly tell it isn’t real.  Such quality; I was quite amazed.

He says that, for that day, they hadn’t done much yet.  He arrived at 3pm and spent the first few hours in makeup.  Then they did some rehearsing and blocking for a big scene where they go from the Great Hall and out into the courtyard for the commencement of the battle.

Professor Flitwick

I get some real wand action this time, which is really nice.  I actually get to dispatch a few Death Eaters. I also put the shield around Hogwarts.

He’s excited that he gets to join some of the battle this time round, “I get some real wand action this time, which is really nice.  I actually get to dispatch a few Death Eaters. I also put the shield around Hogwarts.”

He said he’s doing the scene with Maggie Smith (Professor McGonagall).  “It’s a pivotal moment using these security measures that’s a last resort.  We’re bringing the statues to life to come out and guard the perimeter.  It’s a lockdown situation for Hogwarts, so it’s quite cool.”

He also had another role with this film. Warwick has his own agency for small people called Willow Personal Management Ltd., and his agency was used to fill the role of many short people as goblins in Deathly Hallows.  “Indeed, I do have a third hat.  That was a really great honor to be asked to provide 60 short actors to play goblins.  It was also a great challenge.  To try to find that many people who were at the height they were looking for and had the abilities, it was – dare I say it? – a tall order,” he jests.

He speaks of the challenges they went through to do such an endeavor, “I think it was the largest makeup job in the UK.  They brought in makeup artists from all over to help.  We had this huge marquee for this huge makeup room, but it went very smoothly.  You know, it takes a tremendous amount of work to prepare before they’re [the masks] even used.  Each hair is individually punched in which takes a day just to do that.”

He hasn’t yet filmed the scene for the vault, but had stated they had to make over 7,000 goblets for the vault for when they magically reproduce when touched.  “The poor guy, he’s having to spray them in gold.  I mean, I bet he sees them in his sleep.  I mean they’re everywhere.  You’d think, with CGI, we’re not going to see one goblet, but they are actually going to be 7,000 goblets.”

During the scene in which he is with the trio and enters Gringotts, his character is under the invisibility cloak, which was a different experience for him.  “What was interesting is that I’m under the invisibility cloak with Harry in the bank, so on those days I didn’t have to be in makeup.  I was there reading off lines, well, invisible lines, as it were, but I didn’t have to be in makeup, so it was quite a site to see.”

Matt Lewis shows up with a few scratches on his face.  Of course, they’re just make-up.  He says that during the battle, Neville will need about a pint more of blood to show just how beat up he gets.  He said when they first started filming the battle scenes, he enjoyed getting dirty and grungy, but about 12 months later, it’s pretty boring.

He talks about how Neville kind of takes over Harry’s role as the unofficial leader of Dumbledore’s Army since Harry isn’t at Hogwarts.  “He’s sort of barking out orders to people and telling them where to go.  He’s sort of evolved into this leader, which I never thought he would end up doing.  So, it’s really cool.”

Matt Lewis as Neville Longbottom

He continues, “He’s watched Harry all these years as this leader and have so much courage, and as he’s seen Harry take on all these responsibilities, he’s realized that they’re not too dissimilar because they’ve both lost their parents when they were young.  Neville starts to think he can do this, and when Harry leaves the school, Neville realizes it’s time for him to fill the breach and step into this responsibility.”

Matt believes that Neville is truly a good person, saying, “He’s always had a good heart, he’s always wanted to help people, but he’s never had the courage to do it.  Now he thinks, ‘this is it, it’s now or never…we’ve got to fight this evil’ so if no one else is willing to do it, then he will.”

He’s going to miss the character a great deal.  “The character was so brilliantly written, it wasn’t that hard to get into character.  So, I am going to miss it.  At the same time, I know it’s time to move on, and do something else.”

He said he’s not wearing the fat suit for this one as he’s thinned out for this film.  “We’re trying to suggest that he’s living underground at Hogwarts and sort of being this long distance leader and hasn’t had time to eat,” he jokes.

He said holding Gryffindor sword was pretty cool, “Yeah, that was great, because he pulls it out of the [sorting] hat.”

He continues, “It was wicked, especially when we were with Ralph Fiennes (Voldemort).  It was sort of all these feelings coming out at once.  There’s the sword of Gryffindor, Voldemort, Ralph Fiennes…it was just really special.  I’m going to see if I can nick that sword if I can at the end.”

He said that for future projects he’d really like to do a type of war film, especially something like Saving Private Ryan.  However, there isn’t a particular genre he’s opposed to.  He just wants to act.

He’s asked about a tattoo he has on his arm and whether he got in trouble for getting it.  “No, I was a good boy and asked permission from (producer) David Barron.  As a parent, he wasn’t happy, but he understood and said it was fine.”

He’s asked about his huge following on Twitter, “It’s a very odd thing, Twitter.  I mean, it’s for arrogant people to let other people know what they’re doing all the time. But I’m doing it, and everyone else knows I’m doing it, and I’m going to tell them all the time.  It confuses me, whilst at the same time it fascinates me.  To be fair, it’s a great way to let people know what you’re up to in a professional sense.”

Later that evening we’re taken outside to watch a scene be filmed.  It’s a small wait, but it’s cold, and I didn’t have a jacket.  But the adrenaline of standing in the shadow of Hogwarts’ walls kept my heart racing.  We’re all given headsets so we can listen to everything that’s going on.  Different voices come and go and then I hear one distinct voice that is unmistakable – Dame Maggie Smith.  Unbeknownst to me, each actor has their own mic so it is easy to hear each of them talking.  I look to my left and see the lady herself walk onto the grass of the set.  I had no idea who she had been talking to, but to my disbelief I found out she was talking to producer David Barron’s dog.  Apparently, Mr. Barron’s dog was somewhat of a mascot on the set.  He was there pretty much every day and Ms. Smith seemed to like him very much.

Filming Scene

Her hair was up in a bun for her character, but she wore a long black down feather jacket to keep her warm.  She made her way to the steps that led to the large Hogwarts entrance.  She was then joined by many others, including Matt Lewis (Neville Longbottom), Julie Walters (Molly Weasley), Warwick Davis (Professor Flitwick), Katie Leung (Cho Chang), and other various Hogwarts students.

The scene being filmed, which can be seen during many of the current trailers, is when the Death Eaters are just showing up and the instructors must take great steps to help protect the school and the students within.  They rehearsed the scene a few times before actually filming.  Professor McGonagall calls for the guards.  “Hogwarts is threatened!  Man the boundaries!” she cries.  Men wearing all white with dots on them march out in straight lines from the entrance and down the steps.  These, of course, will later become the large stone soldiers shown in the current trailers.

There is oncoming danger in this scene and, though I’m not actually in it, I can feel it.  It’s a bit tense, no real laughter is heard, and the underlying menace could be felt.

The students, including some who stood behind me, looked on in fascination and horror.  It was so surreal.  They practiced two or three times and then began filming.  A monitor was set up for us as the filming began.  Ms. Smith waved her wand to call for her transfiguration spells.  I watched both the live action and the monitor.  In the headset I could hear everything happening – each sniff, each breath, each guidance given by director David Yates in his calm voice.

The soldiers continued to march back and forth for each scene.  In between takes, they would put the jacket back onto Ms. Smith and Ms. Walter to keep them warm.

We continued to watch for about an hour and then had to go.

This was an absolutely incredible experience for me – undeniably a dream come true.  I am so very excited for this film.  But at the same time, I dread it.  I know I will cry and laugh at the same time.  I will be so happy for the climatic ending and to see the consummation of all of the books come to life on the big screen in 3D.  It has been one heck of a ride – the greatest ever!

I’d like to thank Warner Bros. for allowing my dream to come true by giving me this tremendous opportunity and for everything else they have done for me and the rest of the fans.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 will be in theatres July 15, 2011. See the world-wide release dates here.

Teaser: HPP’s Deathly Hallows Part 2 Set Report

Posted by Dijares On May - 4 - 2011

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2Last October, I posted a rather large article on my visit to the Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows set at Leavesden Studios, where I saw the most incredible things.  Read my set report from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 here.

The conclusion of my report, which will be online shortly before the release of the film on July 15th, will include everything I observed from Deathly Hallows Part 2 set.  Until then, here’s a little teaser on what the conclusion will include:

You’ll get to find out which scene from Part 2 that I saw filmed (hint:  There was some heavy-duty transfiguration going on!).  I also saw some amazing photos (Ron and Hermione! Oh, la, la!), Neville looking like the butt kicker he’s become, the Horcruxes, and more!

I saw battle-worn set pieces and got a peek (well, a bit more than that, which you’ll get in great detail) at where the students-become-warriors hung out. Oh! And the creatures!  Very spooky!  And the make-up for all the Gringotts Goblins! Very impressive!

My report will also include the rest of the interviews with Dan Radcliffe (Harry Potter) who talks about the forest scene, Warwick Davis (Griphook/Professor Flitwick) who speaks of Goblin matters, Matt Lewis (Neville Longbottom) on Neville becoming a leader, director David Yates on the importance of having a complete experience, Production Designer Stuart Craig who gives a bit of information on a rather important death scene, Creature Designer Nick Dudman who shares all his gory fun, and Costume Designer Jany Temime on the costumes of two people who had to play the same person.

So, make sure to be here for the full report just before the film’s release date.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 will be in theatres July 15, 2011.  See the world-wide release dates here.


HPP’s Entire Deathly Hallows P1 Set Visit Report

Posted by Dijares On October - 5 - 2010

Harry Potter and the Deathly HallowsLeavesden Studios, where most of all eight of the Harry Potter films were made, is located a good distance Northwest of London.  The day I visited the set (it was day 224 of nearly 300 days of shooting for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows), the weather was cool but sunny; always a good sign.  The bus must go through security and all of us in our group were given special badges.  The area itself is large and sprawling.  We’re taken to an extremely large warehouse-like building.  When we enter, there are what appear to be smaller buildings inside of the large warehouse.  We’re taken to one of these buildings.  The room is large, without windows, but outside the walls can be heard large machinery moving, drills, and other loud mechanical sounds.

We’re given an opportunity to look about the room.  The walls are plastered with many, many photos and art renditions from the film.  There are also props displayed in a wooden and glass case.  I’ll report to you everything I saw, however I can only tell you about items from Part 1 of the film.  Part 2, of course, will come at a later time.  Caution for **spoilers** from here on out.  Read at your own risk.

I saw intimate photos of Ron Weasley (Rupert Grint) and Hermione Granger (Emma Watson).  There are also some photos of Hermione, beat up and crying, and then Hermione again with the Death Eaters and facing Bellatrix.  There’s a shot of Bellatrix holding Gryffindor Sword with her wand.  I keep going and see a great close up of Bill Weasley (Domhnall Gleeson) and Ollivander (John Hurt) holding a wand.  Next is Luna Lovegood (Evanna Lynch) next to Harry Potter (Dan Radcliffe).  Following this is Harry holding a dead Dobby and then Harry on the beach looking very sad.  There’s a great photo of Harry and Hermione in the Lovegood house with furniture upside down and all over the place.  Another photo shows us Dumbledore’s (Michael Gambon) ghost in Grimmauld Place.  There’s also George Weasley (Oliver Phelps) with his injured ear covered.

There are also quite a few photos and art renditions of Bill and Fleur Delacour’s (Clémence Poésy) wedding.  The art renditions show us that the color scheme is purple and black/silver/white.  There’s a photo of Luna and her father, Xeno (Rhys Ifans), dancing in their bright yellow outfits.  Other photos of the wedding scene include Mr. Weasley (Mark Williams) standing with George, while another photo shows the appearance of flames on the table when the attack is to begin.  We then see Harry, Hermione, and Ron getting ready to apparate from the wedding.  There are also photos of Bill and Fleur dancing, and Harry and Professor Lupin (David Thewlis).

However the most impressive photo from the wedding is that of Fleur in her wedding dress.  The dress is made of beautiful, fluffy white feather-like material.  There is exquisite black lace that has two phoenixes coming together at the front in the shape of a heart.  The train extends for some ways behind her.  It is absolutely magnifique!

We get to see other art renditions, including the Typing Pool from the Ministry of Magic with its purple ceiling and carpet.  Umbridge’s office is, of course, pink, with her frilly cats.  There’s also a rendition of Harry going after the doe Patronus.

The prop cabinet is a treasure trove for the Potter enthusiast.  I was so tempted to touch, but I kept my hands to myself.  One of the props included the letter from Lily to Sirius.  Of what I could see of it, it read:

Dear Sirius,

You’d think he’d been born on a broom. James says he’s got the look of a Seeker, but then James would.

It isn’t ripped. I wonder to myself where the rest of it is.

The cabinet also included Hermione’s little expandable bag.  You can see her holding the bag in this photo.

There was also a manikin that held Xenos’ costume.  The top part of the costume was in three layers.  There were striped pants, then a long robe, and then a long shirt on top of this.  The top most layer included a fabric that looked to be made of yarn.

We then got to speak with some of the cast and crew.

Oscar winner Production Designer Stuart Craig told us about the sets and how they’ve changed through the films.  He says that since the films have become darker, the sets as well have literally become darker.  The honey colors from the first two films are now gone.  When they first started there were only two books released at the time, so they had to change as the books were released.  They changed certain sets to fit certain areas as they’ve changed with the books.  In particular, he spoke of the viaduct that connects the courtyard that goes into the entrance at Hogwarts.

He and his crew refer to the books all the time to get ideas and references for the sets.  Specifically, for Deathly Hallows, they had to go back and get a closer look at Godric’s Hollow in order to determine the state of the Potter house.  They built it for the first film, and then again for the seventh, and had to rebuild a bit again as they had to do some filming with Alan Rickman. They try to keep the continuity.  “It’s pretty typical,” he says, “we always refer back to the book and what J.K. Rowling has written.”

He said he’s excited for people to see Part 1 of Deathly Hallows mainly because it’s so different.  “In Part 1, the kids are on the run, they’re in very different locations, mainly urban, they’re in tents, they’re threatened, and they invade the Ministry of Magic in disguise,” he explains.

Harry Potter Standing Outside a Tent

It’s unusual for a set designer to always be on the set of the film, especially for a series like this, however Stuart has been on the set since day one.  “I have very carefully and deliberately said to every single one of them, ‘You don’t have to have me here.’ However I can see that there may be an exception that you do have to have me here, because I know what’s needed for continuity, how to build it, and so forth.  But it isn’t as necessary as it appears.”

The change in directors, he feels, has been exciting and stimulating.  He also thinks the different cameramen have made it exciting with the different looks and styles.  He stated that a change in designers would also have produced a similar result.

“There’s been instances where we’ve gone to Jo saying, ‘Please, please, please, give us…’ additional things…”

While working on the sets, he’s had to go to J.K. Rowling to ask her for more details on some of the buildings.  For instance, he needed the names of some of the shops.  “There’s been instances where we’ve gone to Jo saying, ‘Please, please, please, give us…’ additional things, like the names of shop fronts, because she has that knack of coming up with something that is so imaginative and has all the right associations.  We’ve also asked her about gravestones, or if there was a graveyard on the grounds of Hogwarts, which she said no [in the past].  Which she may have been protecting the idea of Dumbledore’s tomb.”

Leavesden Studios is now owned by Warner Bros and, once the films are finished, will have tours for the general public to see the Harry Potter film sets.  Stuart confirmed that they’re rebuilding a great number of sets for the tours.  “They’re bringing back Dumbledore’s office, the Great Hall, and the Dark Arts classroom.”  At the time of this interview, of course, everything was still in the planning stage, so nothing was completely confirmed as to which exact sets would be available.

We then had the opportunity to speak with Costume Designer Jany Temime.  We start straight off with the wedding and Fleur’s gorgeous wedding dress.  She says that since Fleur is French, she thought to make the wedding and the wedding dress with a little French tone and the wedding colors are purple and black.  “Not a Weasley wedding, which would have been tragically bad taste,” she says, “but to have a French wedding with style.”

“On the dress, I have two phoenixes which are in the shape of a heart, and the dress has black, so it’s not really a white dress, which would not have been good for a witch wedding…”

She wanted Fleur’s dress to be like a witch princess.  She also thought of the phoenix, which is a bird that represents rebirth.  “On the dress, I have two phoenixes which are in the shape of a heart, and the dress has black, so it’s not really a white dress, which would not have been good for a witch wedding,” she explains.  “We created a handmade lace that cost a fortune,” she says, and goes on to say that the first lace they received was too fragile to use, so they had to order a stronger type.  She wanted to make sure that the dress didn’t seem brand new and had been part of the family.  “I wanted the dress to appear as if it belonged in the family for 20 generations, so the lace is all broken.  I wanted the fabric to be very dream-like.  It’s really amazing.”

Clémence Poésy as Fleur Delacour

Clémence Poésy, who portrays Fleur in the Potter films, had just finished filming a French film called The Wedding Cake, so she was had some concerns about being in another wedding dress.  Jany said that when they spoke, Clémence said, “I hope it’s not going to be the same, because I just got through spending six weeks in a wedding dress.  If I have to spend two or three weeks in another wedding dress, I want something different.”  Jany told her that this dress will definitely be different.  They made two dresses.  The first took months to make.  “It was a nightmare.  After one was finished, and the seamstresses were ready to collapse, we then had to make a second one.”

Clémence loved the dress and had gone on about how wonderful it would be to be married in such a dress.  I wondered to myself that, after this film, how many women will try to recreate the dress for their own wedding.

For the wedding, the Weasley family wears their typical hodge podge dress style, except for Bill who looks slightly better.  “One can assume that his wife tipped him off,” explains Jany.  “Perhaps he was told if he dressed like a Weasley, she wouldn’t marry him.”

As the costume designer, she found that the most difficult part with these films was that all the books weren’t complete yet, so she would design a costume for a character, and then a book would come out, and the look would change.  She used Nymphadora Tonks as an example.  “In the beginning, she was very wild, and I had her hair changing all the time.  Then the year after, she’s getting married.  I went to the director and asked him how we were going to change her to the married and expecting Tonks.”

She confirmed that Dolores Umbridge continues to wear pink in this film.  Umbrige’s secretaries all have something pink as well, including the men.

Director David Yates then enters our domain for his turn at the round table.  He is a tall man, slightly balding, and very quiet spoken.  I wonder to myself how he is a director, as I could never imagine him yelling and red in the face.  But, then, from what members of the cast have said in the past, this man has no need for yelling.  They respect him and listen to every word he has to say.

The first time I met this man, just before Order of the Phoenix was released, I asked if he was going to continue with Half-Blood Prince, and he said he would.  This day he said he kept going with the Potter films because it was just too fun to stop.  “This world is so rich and playful.  For example, at the beginning of Part 1, there’s this wizard car chase.  I mean, Jo [J.K. Rowling] gives us this opportunity to do this in this film, where we didn’t have it in the other films.  She’s so imaginative, so I never feel like I’m doing the same movie.”

He says that now that Dan, Emma, and Rupert are getting older, that life in general has helped them with doing some of the emotional scenes in the film.  “They’re older and life experience helps them draw on it.  So, I encourage them to bring some of that into their performances.  So, these life experiences help them with nuances in their performances that they may not have had in films 5 or 6.”

He says that he doesn’t necessarily stop filming when doing a scene, but rather continues filming and has the actors do the scene over and over again, allowing the actors to tune into where they need to go.  “I told Dan that he has to tune into this experience, rather like a dial on a radio…here there’s a bit of static…here the sound isn’t quite right…and here you’re in that experience, tune into it and find out what it’s like.  It just happens to you; it just is.”

“There were some bits that were very powerful where Emma just let go for a while and forgot that she was acting…she lost herself in this process and her screams were quite horrible, and you could feel it on the set.”

He then speaks of the torture scene with Bellatrix and Hermione.  “Emma was really keen to do this scene.  She completely gave herself over to the scene.  We set up a few cameras, and Helena got on top of her.  Helena was writing ‘mudblood’ on Emma’s arm, so she was scoring her skin, so we just let the whole thing role for like three or four minutes, and in that time we got some good bits and not so good bits,” he said.  “There were some bits that were very powerful where Emma just let go for a while and forgot that she was acting…she lost herself in this process and her screams were quite horrible, and you could feel it on the set.  Everyone felt uncomfortable; everyone just sort of stepped back a bit.  It was a very odd energy in the room.  She was kind of exploring and exercising demons and serving the scene in doing that.  It was very interesting.”

Ron Weasley (Rupert Grint) and Hermione Granger (Emma Watson)

There are some extra scenes for the film they’ve added that aren’t in the book. He explains why they decided to add some of these extra scenes, “It’s crazy that we’re adding things, when we’re always criticized for leaving things out.  The adapting is really very hard, and sometimes you have to add two or three things to help with structure.”

There’s a Snatcher chase scene they’ve added where they chase Harry, Ron, and Hermione.  He said they’ve also added a very tender scene where Harry and Hermione dance.

Before we continue with the interviews, we take a tour of the sets.  The area is unbelievable.  While walking, one moment we’re in front of the Great Hall, and ten steps later, we’re in the Ministry of Magic.  It’s quite incomprehensible.  Some of the sets were changed into other sets.  For instance Slughorn’s classroom was also the trophy room.

Ministry of Magic

During our walk we see the hallway where Lavender jumps on Ron’s back in Half-Blood Prince.  There was a Hogwarts Express rail car.

We see the Ministry of Magic that now has a slightly different look and feel to it since the leadership has changed.

For instance, there’s a statue of muggles holding up a witch and wizard where the Fountain of Magical Brethren once stood.

We enter a part of the Ministry of Magic through a different route than we initially saw, and I realize that this isn’t the atrium level.  We’re in Level 10 of the Ministry, where the courtroom is located and where Harry’s infamous trial was held during Order of the Phoenix.    We walk through a long hallway that’s covered with paper to help protect the set.  There are high arches that repeat over and over again, and yet some are different from others.  The walls are shiny black and are complete with a ceiling (this is a rarity – not many of the sets have actual ceilings).

We then enter the courtroom where Umbridge holds her hearings as part of her Head of the Muggle-Born Registration Commission.  The tiles are green here.  The room has a green screen for different backgrounds.  There are newspapers scattered about that are held together with purple ribbons – a definite sign that this is Umbridge’s domain.  We are then taken into another hallway that has stairs going up to a second story… to nowhere.

We continue to other parts of the set.  They have hordes and hordes of stored props.  Everywhere I look I see something from the previous films, including the phone booth that took Mr. Weasley and Harry into the Ministry of Magic during Order of the Phoenix. We see the boat used in Half-Blood Prince by Harry and Dumbledore in the cave scene.  There are Christmas trees, fans, Slughorn’s party items, lampshades, and so much more!  As much as the eye can see!  I feel as if I’m in the Room of Requirement storage area!

We then get to see a set where they’re doing the 2nd unit filming.  The set is the Gentlemen’s bathroom (it’s actually located inside a small trailer) which is the area the trio use to get into the Ministry of Magic in this film.  The walls are black and white tile.  There are many extras (adult men) sitting outside the trailer waiting for filming to begin.

We’re then taken to the Creature Area where we meet Nick Dudman the Creature Designer.  His smiling visage greets us.  I can tell straight away that he loves what he’s doing.  Upon entering, we see different props that were developed in this area stored on shelves – or wherever they can fit them.  There’s Crookshanks, a werewolf, John Cleese as Sir Headless Nick, petrified dummies (Hermione and Colin Creevey).

We’re then taken to the Fabrication Department where they make body suits and things that need to be added to people.  For instance, Luna’s Gryffindor hat was made in this area.  More and more surprises greet us here.  There’s Dumbledore’s dead body from Half-Blood Prince.

Mr. Dudman shows us some of Robbie Coltrane’s (Hagrid) props.  He explains that there are different size wands for Robbie.  Anything Robbie uses must be scaled, whereas when his double (the larger giant-sized double) must have one that fits his size as well.

He then shows us the body of Charity Burbage, the Hogwarts professor who is brought to Malfoy Manor and who is later killed by Voldemort at the beginning of Deathly Hallows.  In order to operate the dummy, a battery is placed inside the dummy.  Dudman explains, “She’s suspended in mid-air above the table at Malfoy Manor when Voldemort kills her.  Rather than have the actress suspended on wires with her back bent backward for hours, since it’s a major dialogue scene, we had this, which can be used for all the scenes, apart from her actual scenes where she has close ups and dialogue.”

We are then allowed to touch the dummy.  The body feels real, although, of course, not warm to the touch.  A bit frightening, actually.  The details are amazing, right down to the freckles on her arms.  Her arms are behind her body, as if they’re tied there, but actually they aren’t tied at all.

All the creatures made in this department are, of course, handmade.  For instance, the Hippogriff had each feather individually put into the body.  Everything was meticulously painted by hand.

Any object that has hair will have each piece of hair put into the area it’s needed one-by-one.  This includes eyebrows, spider hairs, basically anything that requires hair.  It’s an extremely time consuming process and takes an extreme amount of patience.

Mr. Dudman explains that this process takes months.  “The thing is, when you make a dummy, once it’s finished, it’s a finished object, it goes on the set, and you can use it as much as you want to use it,” he explains.  “When you use prosthetic make- up – and, again, I’ve insisted that all the facial prosthetic things we do, all the eyebrows, the hairlines – are done one hair at a time.  That’s for every single day when getting a new piece.

He then talks about some of the work he and his crew have done with prosthetics that are added to some of the actors.  “With Dan, he gets hexed, where his face is distorted for part of it, so for his make-up, again, each hair is put in once piece at a time.  Paula, who runs the Art Finishing Department, she’s actually gone in and copied Dan’s eyebrows hair-for-hair for every day of shooting.”

We see the cursed body of Katie Bell from Half-Blood Prince looking nearly unrecognizable at first.  Dudman tells us, “We had to make a light weight dummy because we had to string it up on wires.”

Katie Bell Rising into the Air from the Cursed Necklace

We also get to see Hedwig looking extremely real as if she’d take off at any moment.  Also on display was Neville’s Mimbulus mimbletonia plant and the Monster Book of Monsters.  There was also the Hermione dummy from Goblet of Fire used for the scene where she’s under water.  “We made moving dummies, so they could all be suspended in the tank, as opposed having the actual actors with divers, and being tied to the bottom of the tank.  We really didn’t like that idea.”  Yeah, no kidding.

“So, these were made so they could just move gently and could let bubbles come out of the mouth,” he continues. “We made them filled with water to help move their bodies about.  We’d fill them with water and take it out from the top of the tank to help the bodies move about.  There was nothing electrical or anything under the water.  It was literally water being pumped through machinery in water.  It’s one of those things you spend a lot of time on and no one really notices.”

We see the dummy for dead Dobby looking small and sad. We also see the object they used for the concept of Griphook.

Dobby's Death

He then tells us how they keep the masks consistent.  “When we come up with a character,” he says, “very often we’ll make a complete finished, haired, object.  And that becomes the thing we work from.  This makes it so we don’t copy the one we did last; we must always copy the first one.  Otherwise, by the time we finish the movie, we’d be all over the place.”

He explains that the silicone they use actually has a layer of gel in the middle, so when it’s touched it feels like, and acts like, real flesh.  Of course, this can cause problems when making larger pieces.  “Putting it on is quite difficult,” he says, “because it does actually flub.  Positioning it correctly on the face is quite tricky.”

The hair they use is real.  “The hair comes from several different sources.  Italy provides a huge amount of hair,” he says.  “Traditionally, I’ve been told, girls grow their hair long until a certain age and they don’t cut it until they get to 15 or something like that.  When it’s cut and there’s a significant length.  It’s very expensive hair, because the longer the hair is, the more expensive it is.  So, there’s a big market, culturally, for that hair.”

He goes on telling us that the same story is true for Asia.  “There’s a lot of Asian hair as well.  There are certain countries where they do the same thing.  And in some areas people grow their hair just to sell it.  So, it comes from all over.  And, the longer it is, the more expensive it is.”

However, the length isn’t the only thing they look at.  He goes on to say that the hair is also graded and that they don’t just use human hair.  They also get what they need from animals.  “Yak hair is also used for creature things. Yak does great.”

We continue our tour of the creature department in which we get to see the basilisk from Chamber of Secrets.  We also get to see the Hungarian Horntailed dragon used for the cage in Goblet of Fire.  The dragon, he says, was an easy puppet to make, but it did include a real flame thrower.

We’re then taken into the room where the new statue for the Ministry of Magic was made.  He explains that the statue was made with a Stalin-esque approach.  A number of muggles (nearly 60 of them) are on the bottom holding up two figures.  The two figures won’t actually be made because they’re so large.  Rather, they’ll be digitally put into the film.

We then head to the sculpting studio.  This is where a lot of concept art is done.  Dudman explains that he doesn’t like to just have one go at something; rather he likes to use a few tries with different sculptures to see their different styles and approaches.

“…one of the key things you learn doing this kind of work is that nobody can visualize what the hell you’re talking about.”

“My approach is very much that you take two or three goes at something, and very often you’ll chose two or three different sculptures with different styles to try something.  Then what we do is we get a sculpture to a certain point and we photograph it.  We put it in the computer and Photoshop the color scheme so we can look at any stage.  Then we can go, ‘Okay, this is a great sculpt, but this is what it will look like if it’s done as a make-up.  Because one of the key things you learn doing this kind of work is that nobody can visualize what the hell you’re talking about.  Especially if they’re a producer or a director,” he jokes.  “The easiest thing we found is that you present them with concept art where you can go, ‘That can be built.'”

He then shows us a used piece of silicon.  He explains that once a piece is used that it can’t be used again.  So, for instance, an eyebrow will take two days to make, but once it’s used, even for a little while, and even if it’s not filmed, it can’t be used again.  The edges are ruined when mineral oil is used to remove it.

Of course, the actors who use this are human, so things are bound to happen, like itches.  He says when this happens, they’re not allowed to scratch; they must instead press on the site where the itch is.  “We have what’s called the Explaining Stick.  They get told, ‘Don’t touch it.’  If you’ve got an itch, you press; you don’t scrape. If you’ve got a serious itch, we’ll deal with it.  The trouble is, once you cover someone’s face and they’re told they can’t touch it, they start to itch.”

Once the actors put the silicone on, they’re in it for the entire day, including lunch breaks.  So, what happens when they have to eat?  “We make sure they don’t eat with too wide a mouth,” he says lightheartedly.

He said none of the actors had any huge allergic reactions to the make-up, like what happened with John Rhys-Davies during Lord of the Rings.  Ralph Fiennes (Voldemort) was the only actor with any type of sensitivity.  “Ralph Fiennes is very sensitive.  With him, we can only use one type of adhesive and a particular remover.  We also made a point of making him up only three or four days in a row because his skin really is sensitive.”

We return back to our cozy publicity room to continue with our interviews.  Matt Lewis enters in his street clothes, but has already had make-up, which includes scratches and other clues as to what scene he was filming.

“The only clue I had was when I saw J.K. Rowling at the premiere for the fifth film, and she said to me, ‘I’ve written some really great stuff for you in number 7.’  I said, ‘Don’t tell me anything, I don’t want to know.'”

He said he wasn’t aware that Neville would become such a hero until he read the fifth book.  “I had no idea what was going to happen in book 7.  The only clue I had was when I saw J.K. Rowling at the premiere for the fifth film, and she said to me, ‘I’ve written some really great stuff for you in number 7.’  I said, ‘Don’t tell me anything, I don’t want to know.’  She said, ‘Okay, but you’ll enjoy it.’  When I read book 7, I kept thinking, ‘where is it?’ and then I found it at the end. It was pretty cool.”

He hopes that what has been filmed has transferred well from the pages of the book. “Each time we’ve had a director who’s tried to focus on that [good] part of Neville.  You know, he’s so much more than just the geeky one that fell over.  Slowly, as the years came on, we’ve learned a bit more of his background, and I think that this year we’ve seen Neville come full circle.”

Matt says he’s received fan mail from kids who have been bullied and they tell him how Neville has inspired them to stand up to bullies.  “As an actor, that’s just the most amazing thing you could ever imagine.  To think that what you’ve done has resulted in someone’s inspiration…that’s pretty special.”

He says that director David Yates is probably one of the nicest guys he’s ever met.  “He’s just so sweet. I’ve just spent an hour of rehearsal with him. He tells me what’s on his mind and I tell him what I’ve gathered from the script and so we come together and put it all together to try it.”

He continues, “David is very keen to get it perfectly.  If he thinks he has a good idea and you have a good idea, he’ll shoot them both.  He’s not adverse to take out a little bit of time to get the perfect shot.  It’s really a team effort.”

Warwick Davis then enters the room in complete make-up for Professor Flitwick.  His wig is quite amazing.  I sat next to him and tried my hardest to see where his make-up and silicone began.  I seriously couldn’t see anything out of the ordinary.  Such quality; I was quite amazed.

Warwick Davis as Griphook

The makeup for Griphook takes longer to apply, he said, and it’s much heavier.  “There’s the nose, the ears…I feel much more contained.  Griphook’s neck comes all the way down, and I can’t hear very well, and then there’s the contact lenses as well.  So it’s as far from me as you can possibly get.”

“I don’t know if I’m Flithook or Gripwick.”

He says playing the two characters can sometimes get confusing.  “You know, one day I’ll come in as Flitwick and the next I’ll be Griphook, so it can become pretty confusing.  I don’t know if I’m Flithook or Gripwick,” he jokes.

He also had another role with this film.  Warwick has his own agency for small people called Willow Personal Management Ltd., and his agency was used to fill the role of many short actors as goblins in Deathly Hallows.  “Indeed, I do have a third hat.  That was a really great honor to be asked to provide 60 short actors to play goblins.  It was also a great challenge.  To try to find that many people who were at the height they were looking for and had the abilities, it was – dare I say it? – a tall order,” he jests.

He talks about why the Flitwick character changed from the first two films to the third.  “The third script didn’t have anything with Professor Flitwick in it.  Then David Heyman phoned me up saying, ‘I’m really sorry you’re not in the script, but would you consider doing another character?’  I said, ‘Look David, I’ll have to think about it.’  No, not really. I said, ‘Yes, please, yes!'”

He continues with the story, “So, I came in for a meeting with Alfonso Cuaron (Prisoner of Azkaban director) and Nick Dudman (Make-up Designer) and we decided we would design the character who would essentially be a choir director.  I like to think of him as the professor of magical music, you see, but he’s the choir director.”

When the fourth film came along, the director Mike Newell decided he liked the look of this character, “So, I asked him, ‘Is this Professor Flitwick?’ and he said, ‘Yes.’ And that’s how it happened.”

When Dan Radcliffe enters the room, looking very smart in a blazer, buttoned shirt, and jeans, he looks around and admits he’s trying to get a look at what’s in there as he doesn’t get into this room too much.  Some of the items in the room make him talk about scenes from the film.  He says he feels the wedding scene is a key scene for him.  He feels this scene is important, not so much for the action, but for the emotional side.

He feels that parts 1 and 2 of Deathly Hallows are very different.  “They’re very different films.  The first part is a very strange road type of movie.  People will see the kids out of Hogwarts.”  He continues, “We started filming the seventh film by the time of the premiere for [film] 6, and, while watching, I was kind of thinking, ‘My God, how different the 7th film is going to be’, because to see these characters outside of what’s become such a familiar environment is hopefully going to let people see [these films] in a very different way.”

Dan Radcliffe as Harry Potter in Deathly Hallows

He explains himself further.  “Also the first film is about the gathering of information and getting all the information and things we need in place to go towards the final battle.  The second film is essentially the battle.”

He goes on to say he feels the two films will have a good balance.  “If it’s right it should have a very good balance.  The action sequences are pretty much non-stop.  But that shouldn’t, and I don’t think will, over power the characters of the story.”

He discusses how he and director David Yates work together.  “I think to a large extent I’ve got quite a solid idea of what the scene is and where Harry is and how it should be played.  Sometimes during rehearsal David might take me to the side and say, ‘Well, I think that perhaps…’ but it’s conversation, really, it’s not a process so much.  If a big scene is coming up we’ll have a meeting the week before to go over it.  Mainly on the day we just kind of knock about ideas.”

“I believe that David wants Harry to be sort of internalized and not to project all that emotion outward. I think this is quite understandable for someone who has gone through what Harry has.”

He then explains what he believes David wants of Harry’s character.  “I believe that David wants Harry to be sort of internalized and not to project all that emotion outward. I think this is quite understandable for someone who has gone through what Harry has.”

He says the fifth film (Order of the Phoenix) is his favorite so far.  “Hopefully it will be taken over by the seventh, parts I and II.  I was a bit relieved that the fifth remained my favorite, because I was so tired of every year when I was asked what was my favorite and it would be coincidentally the last one that just came out.  So, when the sixth one came out, I could actually be genuine when I talk about the fifth and it’s my favorite.”  He says he doesn’t go back and revisit the films. He generally sees them three to four times for the premieres, and then once more, usually with his parents, so they can have a look and, “Approve of me as their son.”

He says there are a few kissing scenes for Harry and Ginny.

“It’s not reaaalllly a nude scene.  I’ve done a nude scene, and this really isn’t a nude scene.”

There had been reports that he would have a nude scene in this film, which caused quite a stir with the fans, as there is no nudity in the books.  When asked to give a bit of clarification on the reports, he complied.  “It’s not reaaalllly a nude scene.  I’ve done a nude scene, and this really isn’t a nude scene.”  He goes on, “There’s a fair amount of stripping down, but it’s only down to pants, really.”

He said that for this particular scene he had to strip down and jump into an ice covered pool.  We can assume this is during the scene in which he has to get the Gryffindor Sword from the pond.  He had to go down to his pants for this scene.  He said it didn’t bother him, and he was lucky, because this scene had heated water, where that isn’t always the case.

The Seven Potters scene was one of the more daunting scenes for him because of the technical effects.  There was one scene that took 95 shots because of the many different Harrys.  This was the longest he has ever spent on a single scene.  In this scene, the camera panned around to show each of the different characters turn into Harry after taking the poly juice potion.  So Dan had to stand in one spot for one of the Harrys, in another for the next, and another for the next, and so on. So it took quite some time to film.  Afterward, they showed him the shot of what it will look like in the end.  “After 95 shots, you’re sort of crawling up the walls, so seeing what it’s going to look like is very gratifying.  It really does look great!  Everyone’s overlapping, and it looks really great!”

He also explained that for each of the seven Potters he had to act like the person who had taken the potion.  “It was fun to be able to do the impersonations.  There was no middle ground.  Some of them were so subtle that you may not be able to tell what character they were supposed to be and some of them were so exaggerated that you’ll have no doubt who it’s supposed to be.  It will be very obvious which one is Mundungus.”

When asked about portions of the book that may be lost, Dan confirmed there were a few, but that the whole point of having the two parts was to have as much as possible from the book.  He said that in the previous films, there were subplots in the books that could be cut, but in the last book, there are sub plots that can’t be cut, which was the reason they knew they’d have to do two parts.

We also got to see some filming, but it took place during Part 2, so you’ll have to check out our Part 2 report sometime late Spring or early Summer.  Believe me, you won’t want to miss it!

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 will be released on November 19, 2010 and Part 2 will be released on July 15, 2011.

HPP's Deathly Hallows Pt. 1 Set Visit Teaser

Posted by Dijares On September - 15 - 2010

Harry Potter and the Deathly HallowsEarlier this year I was honored to have the chance to visit the Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows set at Leavesden Studios.  While there, I toured the entire set, got to watch some filming, and saw many great photos from the film.  I also took part in interviews with Dan Radcliffe (Harry Potter), Warwick Davis (Griphook/Professor Flitwick), Matt Lewis (Neville Longbottom), director David Yates, Production Designer Stuart Craig, Creature Designer Nick Dudman, and Costume Designer Jany Temime.  To get the entire (and very large!) report, check back here on the morning of October 5!

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 will be released on November 19, 2010 and Part 2 will be released on July 15, 2011.

More Photos of Hermione, Draco, Harry, and Ron

Posted by Dijares On May - 31 - 2010

Harry Potter and the Deathly HallowsMore photos from the Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Epilogue filming are now online. We get an even better look at Hermione Granger (Emma Watson) and Draco Malfoy (Tom Felton) with his beard.  There are also new photos of Harry Potter (Dan Radcliffe) and Ron Weasley (Rupert Grint).  See all the new photos in our gallery starting here!

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part I will be released on November 19, 2010.  Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows PartII will be released on July 15, 2011.

Thanks to UHP for letting us know!

Deathly Hallows Set Photos with Camping Trio

Posted by Dijares On May - 28 - 2010

Harry Potter and the Deathly HallowsNew photos from the Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows set are now online.  They show the trio in an open field.  Ron (Rupert Grint) is in a sling and looking a little worse for the wear.  Hermione (Emma Watson) looks very worried.  In the photos, the locket is given to Harry (Dan Radcliffe) and photos include him putting the locket on.  You can see the photos in our gallery starting here.

Thanks to

Dan Radcliffe Talks 7 Potters Transformation in Hallows

Posted by Dijares On April - 14 - 2010

Harry Potter and the Deathly HallowsDan Radcliffe recently spoke about the 7 Potters scene during Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows with Brazilian site UOL Cinema while they were on a recent set visit.  He said that during part of the filming he had to dress like a girl as part of the scene where Fleur (Clémence Poésy) transforms into Harry Potter after taking polyjuice potion.

“It was a dress, a jacket, and a bra,” jokes the actor, smiling during an interview in Leavesden Studios.

He also talks about how they went about making the scene.

“First, we filmed the scene with them all [all the other actors who transform into Harry Potter].  I watched and did my best to imitate them,” he says.

Read the entire article here.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part I will be in theatres on November 19, 2010, and Part II will be released on July 15, 2011.

Thanks to ScarPotter for letting us know.

New HBP and OOTP Set and Promo Photos

Posted by Dijares On October - 25 - 2009

Harry Potter and the Order of the PhoenixSome new Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince and Order of the Phoenix set and promotional photos are now online. They include photos of Ralph Fiennes as Voldemort on the set, Michael Gambon (Dumbledore) standing with Helena Bonham Carter (Bellatrix) on the floor next to him, stills of Evanna Lynch (Luna Lovegood), Mark William and Julie Walters (Mr. and Mrs. Weasley), and Jason Isaacs (Lucius Malfoy), the Burrow fire, and more.  You can see the the Order of the Phoenix photos in our gallery here, and the Half-Blood Prince set photos here.

Source: Oclumência

Felton Working with Fiennes, Has Great Day

Posted by Dijares On October - 6 - 2009

Tom FeltonToday Tom Felton (Draco Malfoy in the Harry Potter films) updated his Twitter saying he was filming Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows with Ralph Fiennes (Voldemort) today and had a great day.

had a great day at work! learning from the best, its an honour to work with Ralph Fiennes, he’s so professional and talented

It is unknown which scene they’re currently filming.

Tom has been getting up early for filming and bleached his hair at home this past weekend to help prepare himself for getting back on the set.

100 Students Extras for Hogwarts Express Scene

Posted by Dijares On September - 24 - 2009

Harry Potter and the Deathly HallowsWe previously reported that Hogwarts Express filming for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows was taking place at Rannoch Station near Rannoch Moore in Scotland. Another report is now online about how a local restaurant made meals for the filming crew.  The report also mentioned that about 100 students from Lochaber High School at Fort William were extras for the filming scene. Fort William has been used in previous Potter films, as the report stated.

On this occasion, views of Glenfinnan Viaduct, which has featured in the previous Harry Potter blockbusters, were not required. Instead, the young teenagers were bussed to Tulloch Station, east of Roy Bridge. The camera action focused on Hogwart’s Express as the blood-red train steamed between Tulloch and Rannoch stations with its excited young passengers.

You can read the entire report here.

Source: TLC

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