Deathly Hallows Part I : Daniel Radcliffe Interviewed by the Fansites
There is absolutely nothing as fabulous as interviewing Daniel Radcliffe.
I always assumed that journalists submitted their questions in advance, so a film star’s People could veto things, and the Talent could be forewarned, and have time to prepare. I especially could not believe that the articulate and fascinating answers from Dan were thought up on the spot.
In August, the Harry Potter fansites gathered around their ‘phones to enjoy a twenty-minute conference call with the man, himself.
He answered our questions on Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part I and II, because he knew that he would be conquering the Great White Way, once again, next summer, and would not be able to commit the amount of time he would like to to publicising Part II.
So I will be sitting on those fascinating answers for another seven months, but can bring you Part I of our report, today. Hear what he has to say about Rupert’s walk… Harry Potter: The Musical… and why this film is all about faith…[note: I am struggling to upload the final two sound clips… bear with me]
DR.COM : poor Tom Felton’s just spent a decade blond… but you’ve been quite lucky with the hair… which hair was your favourite Harry look?
DR : ooh, um… I would probably say… either the third film, or the last one… these one’s we’ve just finished… I think those were the two in which we’ve got the hair most right… and also, to be honest, my favourite time I ever look is when I’m covered in mud and blood and sweat, I think that’s how I look best… it’s obviously hard to achieve that look in day to day life, but it’s certainly how I look sort of, strongest… and I think, you know, with those kind of scenes, it’s weirdly helpful, it helps you actually get into the character and get into the scene, if you are covered up in all that stuff… it’s actually very helpful, in terms of helping your performance.
Q : what was it like playing the other characters in the Seven Potters scene?
DR : it was…bizarre… some were easier than others, to kind of impersonate… the actor, Andy, who played Mundungus was kind of the easiest… he has a very… Andy has a very kind of idiosyncratic walk and way about him… and that was easy to imitate… but, you know, Rupert was very, very difficult… because Rupert’s got a lot of, um… I mean, his walk… I don’t know if you… you wouldn’t expect this about Rupert, but when we actually analysed it, Rupert’s got a real wiggle in the hips, when he walks… and that was slightly unexpected… he was one of the slightly trickier ones… but it was great fun, and it’s going to be a very funny… a very good scene, as well, because normally if you see, you know, split scene stuff in films, it’s often the case that you can see join, as it were, where one actor is playing two… is on the screen at the same time… they don’t really cross over, into each other’s space very often… whereas in this scene, the way we did it was very, very clever, and rather brilliant, so that we can have everything overlapping… and you know, it’s every actor’s dream, seven of me on screen at one time… it’s fantastic!
Q : how was it playing Hermione?
DR : that was fun! The girls were very, very funny… I think the crew was slightly worried that I was walking around a little bit too confidently in those heels of Fleur’s… but it was very good fun.
Q : apparently the split between parts one and two is when Voldemort takes the Elder Wand – how long have you known about this, and what is your opinion of this choice?
DR : well, to be… honest with you… you have been a little bit pre-emptive in that, because we don’t actually know when the split’s going to be, yet… so, that’s not confirmed, I have to say… I haven’t actually hear that, as one of the places that it might be… that would be, as an option, would be kind of very appropriate… and a good suspenseful moment to have… I mean, at the moment it’s sort of within, in or around sort of a few scenes different of where it could be, but I won’t say where it might be, yet, in case I’m then proved very, very wrong. I hate to disappoint you on that one.
Q : or before Malfoy Manor – is there some truth in that – without saying too much?
DR : there is, but it could be… you know… it could be ten scenes before, it could be ten scenes later. We genuinely don’t know, at the moment, I’m afraid.
Q : some of us are looking at other interpretations… there were some rather major fan films and musicals, and so on… what would your reaction be to, once the films are out, to something like Harry Potter: The Musical?
DR : I… my reaction would be pretty negative to that. I mean… I think… Harry Potter is a book, and are films, and you know, hey, a radio play could work… but I don’t know how it would be done on a musical, I mean I’m ready to be proved wrong, but I think it’s a bit of a long shot, and I don’t think it would actually… I mean, in my opinion, it’s not the kind of film that would make a good musical… I don’t think it lends itself to those things… and I think some of the… it would be very hard to achieve a lot of the… what am I trying to say, here? Basically, if I’m being perfectly honest with you, I just don’t think it would work, and I don’t think I would be a big fan of that idea.
Q : what were the most challenging scenes to film physically, and the most challenging emotionally?
DR : over all the films, or in number seven?
Q : I’d say number seven: it’s fresh…
DR : physically? Well, underwater stuff is always pretty tricky, in this case it was particularly tricky, because I’m going under, into the frozen lake, to get the sword of Gryffindor, and obviously the Horcrux is fighting for its existence, and it’s trying to kill me, and we do what will hopefully be a pretty terrifying, almost sort of semi-homage to The Omen, where I get dragged up against the surface of the ice, and sort of torn around, by the locket… that was pretty challenging… emotionally? All the stuff early on in the film, in the first part, with Rupert – I mean it’s very, very hard (as I’m sure you all know) to hate Rupert Grint… even in performance terms… and so that was, you know, that was a challenge… but hopefully some really good scenes will come out of it… also all the scenes in Godric’s Hollow, where Harry sees he parents’ tombstone, they were obviously big emotional moments… and Harry being such a battle hardened, almost desensitised, person at this stage, dealing with emotions that he doesn’t know to show, because he’s buried emotion for so long, and that how he’s managed to survive, and keep his sanity, by sort of ignoring, a lot of the time, putting to the back of his mind his tragic past and how he feels about it… so, to combine the natural grief one would feel, at that moment, with the kind of stoicism that Harry has developed over the last years, that was a challenge, but one I thoroughly enjoyed.
Q : we’ve heard that the first one is going to be more of a road movie, and more of a different film than all of the other Harry Potter films, was it a really different experience playing Harry?
DR : absolutely! It’s a very, very different film. It’s bizarre, in a way… I don’t think, actually… funnily enough, I don’t think we were aware how different it was, at the time of filming… which was your question… I think at the time, we were just doing scenes like we would do any other scenes, we weren’t thinking about how different it was going to eventually seem… but, then, when for instance the trailer, and by the extra footage I’ve seen, it struck me how very different it’s going to be… we’ve never seen these characters in this different context, before… I think it’s one of the things that makes the first film so exciting, is you see these character stripped of their comfortable, safe surroundings and suddenly they’re just out in the wilderness, together… and the first film, as well as being that road movie, because they are all so exposed and it’s such a different situation, you learn a lot more about how those character function in that situation, and it’s a real exploration of the relationships between them, and the flaws… particularly Harry and Ron, I mean Hermione, as always, is the voice of reason, but Harry and Ron sort of fall apart, to some degree… and, so, yeah, that was… a very different feel to it, and I think, hopefully, people will be very excited by that.
Q : for people who haven’t read the books, do you think that the fans’ reaction will turn the first half of the movie against Dumbledore, when we read the book?
DR : um… good question… I hope so… that’s kind of the intention… I mean, that, for me, is what the first film is about… it’s about faith, it’s about how far can one’s faith be tested, before you give in, entirely… and Harry’s a sort of Job figure, in the first part… and also, he hears so much about Dumbledore, that is… that is less than esteemable, and he starts to really question why he is going on this… insane, demanding mission, which is costing him his friends and his… potentially will cost him his life, for somebody he doesn’t even… he starts to question the value of… the values of, sorry… so, yeah, I mean, hopefully, at the end of the first book, people should… first film, I keep calling it book, sorry… at the end of the first film, people should be very much wondering, ‘what is this? What was Dumbledore’s real agenda?’ and they should question it, because that is ultimately what we want them to do… um, I also think that, while I’m on the topic of talking about faith, it’s also about, as Harry loses faith in Dumbledore, and, you know, starts to fall apart, so, Ron and Hermione lose faith in Harry, and Harry becomes… I was also comparing him to sort of like a Roman Emperor, in the last days of the Empire, just become paranoid and isolated and… you know, cutting himself off from his friends… but I also, I’ve always felt with Harry, that he has a kind of… that there is an element of the, um… a kind of a martyr complex, he doesn’t want to reach out for help, he wants to be the sacrifice, he wants to do it alone, and there’s a kind of a pride stroke arrogance, which means he won’t always reach out to other people, when in fact he should… and when in fact he’s actually endangering his own chances of succeeding, in this mission, and therefore the chances of saving the good of the Magical world, by not asking for help, and not accepting help.
Q : now that it’s all over, have you kept any mementos from the series?
DR : I’ve got two pairs of glasses… one from the seventh film, which were lenseless, because we use two sets of glasses on the films, lensed and lenseless, one of which… we use them because of camera reflections, and things like that… and also I have a lensed pair from the first film, which are just these tiny little things, now, that a boy I used to know used to wear… so it’s very sweet, and they both have pride of place in my home… actually, I’m probably going to get broken into, now that I’ve told you that… but they’re the only thing I wanted… I didn’t want the wand, I certainly didn’t want the broom, so, yeah, those are the only things I had my heart set on.
Q : if you had the chance to take the journey that Harry takes in the movie, in real life, would you, and why?
DR : um… I think I would… very good question… I think I would, because if I … if, you know, if I had the same responsibility as Harry has in this film, I like to think that I would be as selfless and as brave as he can be… I think we all would like to think that… and, recognise the importance of what he has to do, and for the good of all those people that he loves, and the people he has to help protect… so, yes, I think I would, although probably… I don’t think any of us are as brave as Harry.