Catch A Snitch Of Phoenix As Trailer Flies In

By Claudia Puig for USA Today, 17th November 2006

Growing up is hard on anyone, but especially for the teen wizard in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. The film is near completion, and clips of it will appear in theatres with today’s release of Happy Feet.

“Harry is waking up to the fact that life is very hard and people can be very nasty to each other and can do terrible things,” says Daniel Radcliffe, 17, Harry Potter’s alter ego, in a phone interview from London. “There’s this ongoing theme which runs through the whole series, and that’s a loss of innocence.”

The villains in J.K. Rowling’s fifth novel are numerous and nefarious: The malevolent Lord Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes) is back, and his loyal subjects, the Death Eaters, have re-assembled, spearheaded by Bellatrix Lestrange (Helena Bonham Carter).

“She’s the person, along with the rest of the Death Eaters, who is responsible for a further tragedy in Harry’s life,” says Radcliffe. (Readers of the fifth book will know what this tragic event is, but in the interest of keeping the movie’s suspense, we won’t discuss it here.)

This time around, menace is not just outside Hogwarts’ massive stone walls. It lurks in even the most benignly sweet forms. Dolores Umbridge (Imelda Staunton) is a vision in pink, but underlying her gentle mien and velvet hair bows is a tyrant who inflicts cruel punishments on Harry. Her Draconian rules leave Hogwarts students defenceless against the malicious forces threatening them. Harry secretly teaches the other students how to defend themselves.

“Harry moves from a point of isolation to a place where he becomes a teacher and a leader,” says producer David Heyman. “He empowers others, as well as himself.”

There are moments Potter fans also will embrace — as Harry has his first kiss with his long-time crush, Cho Chang (Katie Leung).

“It was reported that we did huge amounts of takes, but actually you do that number of takes on any scene,” says Radcliffe, whose next, even more grown-up role will be on the London stage in Equus in February. “Once you’ve covered it from all the camera angles, you’ve done about 30 takes. But because it’s the kiss, it was sort of made out that I had requested to do well over 30 takes.”

Movie magic takes on many forms.

Says Radcliffe: “I guess if there’s one thing that people will be coming to see the film for, it will be the kiss.”

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