HBP Set Report Preview

Dec 15, 2008

Posted by: Melissa Anelli


I visited the Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince set in Leavesden almost a year ago; filming had been under way for weeks but the future was unclear: it was the midst of the writer’s strike, and while the decision to split the final movie into two hadn’t yet been announced, everyone was talking positively about the possibility.

I’ve been visiting the sets since late 2003, and each year they build on the years past: The Gryffindor Common Room now sports more books and magical-themed games in tiny corners that will never been seen on film; the Burrow (which was new to me this time, but is nonetheless slightly different than it was in Chamber of Secrets) seems to be showing its stuffing like an old armchair, with tiny explosions of Weasleyphrenalia everywhere (Bonnie Wright calls it “higgledy-piggledy”). The vast expanse of green screen sits in the area that used to house some of the largest sets, and then had an outgrowth of crystalline rock that we learned was the floor of the cave. A display case showed colorful boxes of Weasley prodcucts; a heavy, stone ring with a lightning strike-shaped crack down the middle; the tattered and stained potions book; small, crystalline vials of clear liquid marked as memoriesĀ¦

David Yates once characterized this film as very “sex, drugs and rock-and-roll”; he amended this during our visit to “sex, potions and rock and roll.”

Emma Watson (Hermione Granger) agreed with one reporter’s characterization of the movie as the “romantic comedy Harry Potter’ citing specifically some physical humor played by Cormac McLaggen during Slughorn’s party. “They’re both in denial about their feelings’ she says of the often-jealous dynamic between her character and Ron. Meanwhile, Dan Radcliffe speaks of “oddly charged” moments between Harry and Ginny, and Jessie Cave, who plays Lavender Brown, said her kissing scenes made her concerned about “chipping a tooth.”

This is the Harry Potter film that will start to drive the series to its natural, and huge end. By going back, by visiting with the shadow-eyed young Tom Riddle and growing the story down to its roots, we’re heading toward a fuller realization of the scope of the stories. So stay tuned, because we saw a very wide range over the course of one day and we’ll have a lot more to share as the release gets closer.

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