Growing With Potter
By Bruce Kirkland for Winnipeg Sun, 10th December 2007
LEAVESDEN, HERTFORDSHIRE, ENGLAND — Daniel Radcliffe is seriously committed to the next two Harry Potter movies. But he also yearns for a life, a career, after the Potter phenomenon fades.
“Yes,” he muses to Sun Media during a shared two-on-one session to mark tomorrow’s DVD debut of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, “I hope there is one.”
Today, the 18-year-old Londoner is dog-tired, yet still game, proud of his contributions to the Phoenix DVDs.
We sit in a funky three-walled diner that is one of the sets for Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, due in theatres in 2008. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows will follow in 2010.
“This is an industry that can be very fickle and can be very perfidious sometimes and will turn its back on people,” Radcliffe says.
“But I hope that I can continue building up momentum and working hard just to make sure that I can actually sustain a career. My ambition is just to keep acting, essentially, and (that) means keep doing a lot of different roles. That’s all I want really.”
The Phoenix DVD reinforces just how Radcliffe has grown up and honed his talent since the first Potter film in 2001. On the two-disc Special Edition, extras such as the A&E documentary, The Hidden Secrets of Harry Potter, troll through the five movies to date and show Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint maturing.
On the Blu-ray disc, the viewer gets even more insight as the trio, plus other members of Dumbledore’s Army, pop up in the interactive In Movie Experience feature to share their insights.
Radcliffe says he participated to show people “that I’m incredibly serious and passionate about this.”
Doing the DVDs forced the young stars to look back. Grint finds that a tad embassassing.
“I don’t really sit down and rewatch all the films again,” Grint says in an interview, “but you see a lot of clips here and there. It is really sort of strange to look back and it just sort of makes you realize how long we’ve been doing this.
“It is quite hard to watch them because we have changed so much. But it does bring back a lot of good memories, really. Particularly the first one. I had a really good time doing that because it was such an exciting time in my life.
“It’s all sort of come into a routine now and we all get together again and do this. It feels more like a job, I suppose, but I still really get a buzz out of it so it’s good.”
The 19-year-old Grint enjoys how the series has matured along with the actors. Each movie has a core of life lessons hard-wired into the stories by author J.K. Rowling.
“They’re all sort of different in their own way,” Grint says. “The fifth one, really, this is sort of about their friendship and how they sort of team up together. With Dumbledore’s Army, we’re all sort of getting into a team and that was really cool.
“From Ron’s perspective (Grint plays Ron Weasley), it was nice to do something where he actually has to do a bit of the action, really, and he gets a bit braver. In the past films, he’s a bit scared a lot of the time and a bit of a wimp. In this one, he gets to actually fight and that was cool to do.”
Watson, 17, is keen on the Potter mythology that the DVDs provide. “It’s really interesting, especially with the end of the books — the release of the seventh one.
“It was really interesting how many different interpretations the books are open to, and how everyone had a different theory: ‘Harry’s going to die!’ Or: ‘Are Hermione and Ron going to get together?’ It was really interesting and the DVD really deals with that interest and looks in depth at the films and the themes.”
Producer David Hayman says Rowling’s books “are the real reason” for the success of the Potter franchise “and the real gift that allows us to keep it alive and keep it fresh, because she’s created these characters that we are all invested in.
“They are growing, they are changing, they are developing over the course of the series, which keeps them fresh.”