On Set With Harry Potter
By Steve Horn for IGN.com, 15th May 2007
At that famous house on Privet Drive, there are photos (mostly of Dudley) and curtains and fine china, comfy couches, a glimpse of the garden, and of course the little spot under the stairway where a certain young wizard used to make his home. This is the fifth time IGN has travelled to the Potter set and my third.
Each time, the excitement never wanes and our most recent excursion to Hogwarts was predictably awesome. We travelled to the set of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix last fall for a look behind the massive production and a chance to talk to the actors and creative forces behind the series.
Unfortunately, we can’t bring you a ton of coverage now due to spoilers and clearances, but we were allowed to give you a taste of what we saw and who we spoke with until our big blow-out coverage comes in early July.
The fifth film in the series hits streets on July 13, 2007. Reflecting the book, the film, helmed by Sex Traffic and “Child’s Play” director David Yates, takes a decidedly darker turn for our young students. Hogwarts is a place where discipline has slipped due to weightier matters and new headmistress Dolores Umbridge (Imelda Staunton) attempts to right the ship. Meanwhile our heroes are desperately trying to educate themselves against a coming dark threat, including an epic battle in the Hall of Prophecy.
We spoke with Daniel Radcliffe, Harry Potter, about the darkness that informs this film and in particular how Harry is changing. “He is incredibly angry all the time. We did a scene the other day where he confesses to Sirius about how he actually feels, how he feels angry constantly and how he thinks he is possibly turning into a bad person. There’s a lot going on inside his head and I think that, for me as an actor, it makes it more interesting to do and I think for an audience it becomes a more charismatic character to watch,” Radcliffe said.
Hermione, played by Emma Watson, also amps up her character and she keeps coming out of her shell. Watson told us “It’s quite a powerful [role] for Hermione, this one. She’s the one who makes everything happen. It’s very similar to the role she had in the third one where she’s just like ‘Right, we’re going to do this and you guys are coming with me.’ (laughs) She’s dragging them off everywhere so it’s really cool. It’s a powerful female role.”
Rupert Grint, though disappointed to learn that Ron wouldn’t get his moment of glory in Quidditch (as in the book), is happy to be working with new director David Yates, who is guiding the actors to darker places. “Compared to Mike Newell, who did the fourth one, he’s completely different. Mike Newell is really loud and not afraid to swear at you, but he was really cool. David Yates is much more laid back, more quiet, he’s just really good,” Grint said.
Neville, played by Matthew Lewis, also feels the impact of having Yates on the film. “I remember when we first met him, a couple of months before we first started filming, he asked me to re-read the book and look out for some of the different things Neville did. For instance, when he is concentrating he sort of puts his tongue on his top lip and I started to note these [things] to bring the character from the book more to life on the screen. He asked me to look at some groups of people, like fan clubs and things like that, who are based around one thing because Neville is so into his herbology and he wanted me to realize what it is like to be obsessed with something, to be really into something so much that you’d be part of or set up a fan club.”
Speaking to the question of the darker material in this film, Producer David Barron said “Well there are dark moments, but we’re still aiming for a PG-13 rating. It’s not truly horrific. Harry is growing up. They’re all growing up and so they are coming into contact more and more with the adult world and also the dark side. But, I think we found with the last film, with 4 that the audience grew with the film like they have with the books. We’re probably cutting off the very bottom end of the market. The very young kids the film is getting a little too dark for I think, but probably there’s members of the audience were in the lower to middle section when the films first started have stuck with the films. It’s great really. It’s really rewarding.”
We will be bringing you full interviews with all of these guys (and many more) in the coming weeks, as well as impressions from the set including the Ministry of Magic, Grimmauld Place, and many more. Take a look below at the Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix trailer for the film and be sure to check out the Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix images from the film. Please also write in and let us know your Potter questions and we will try and get them answered for you.