Harry And Pals Undergo Trial By ‘Fire’

By Claudia Puig for USA Today, 4th May 2005

Though he must battle a spiny dragon, octopus-like creatures and fierce mermaids, Harry Potter is almost equally bedeviled by the idea of his first dance.

In Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, the fourth film based on the best-selling J.K. Rowling books, Harry and his wizard pals, Hermione and Ron, are coping with the angst that accompanies being teens. (Related story: No looking back for Radcliffe)

The second film, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, makes its network television debut Saturday on ABC with 13 minutes of additional footage, plus a glimpse of the upcoming fourth film, which opens Nov. 18.

In Goblet of Fire, the young wizards are “much more complicated,” says director Mike Newell, the first British filmmaker to helm a Potter movie. “In the first three films, their characters were defined by what they were up against: a werewolf, a basilisk, a dementor. But this time, the story is how they’re developing as people. So the school’s Yule Ball is a torture to Harry and Ron because they have to ask girls out, and they don’t know how.”

In Goblet, Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) again faces his mortal foe, Lord Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes). “Voldemort is an utterly malignant human creature, a lot more savage and cruel than any invented creature could be,” Newell says. “Harry has to find the resources in himself to do battle with him.”

The physical requirements were much tougher this time. Goblet is more of an action thriller than the previous three because it centers on an elaborate physical contest, the Tri-Wizard Tournament.

Radcliffe had to learn to scuba-dive, then act underwater. “Just keeping your eyes open for a significant time is difficult,” Newell says. “We couldn’t do anything for more than 15 seconds at a time, which proved very complicated.”

Radcliffe says he enjoyed diving, despite some minor drawbacks.

“It did sting a bit in the eyes, but other than that and the ear infections, it was fantastic.”

In another scene, he slides down a roof to battle a dragon. “It was pretty much a vertical drop of about 50 feet,” Radcliffe says. “I was on a wire going so fast that my mind didn’t have time to catch up with my body and go, ‘Wow, I’m falling.’ It was fun after the first take. But at the beginning, I was absolutely terrified.”

For the climactic scene in which he hands over the body of a fellow contestant to the boy’s father, Radcliffe says, “I had to tap into emotions that I personally never felt, that most people have never felt. Because they were challenging, it does make them fun.”

But Radcliffe says the character’s death is “not gory or graphic. There’s not any blood at all.”


There’s no looking back

Sidebar article by Claudia Puig for USA Today, 4th May 2005

His run doesn’t end with The Goblet of Fire.

Daniel Radcliffe, the 15-year-old who plays Potter, has said he will definitely be back as Harry in the fifth movie, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, which starts filming next year.

However, Radcliffe has not gone back and watched the earlier films.

“I kind of contemplated watching the first; then I decided I sort of valued my sanity a little too much. I think it would be far too strange, and I would be self-conscious about what I do now.”

Radcliffe was 12 when the first film in the series, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, arrived, and both boy and character have grown up. Says Radcliffe, who turns 16 in July: “Harry is more of a teenager in this film, and he’s more vulnerable to emotions.”

Meanwhile, shooting has finished on movie No. 4, and Radcliffe looks forward to some rest and relaxation (after a series of exams) and reading the sixth book in the series by J.K. Rowling, due in July.

Does playing Harry give him an edge over all the other eager readers, in terms of advance editions?

“I pre-ordered it, but I don’t get an early copy or anything,” he says. “I wouldn’t want an early copy.

“It’s fun to be able to discover it with everyone else.”

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