Fan Site Interview: Dan Radcliffe Speaks About “Deathly Hallows: Part One”
Oct 25, 2010
This August, a number of Harry Potter fan sites, including The Leaky Cauldron, were able to participate in a group chat with Dan Radcliffe (Harry Potter) in which the young actor spoke about his experiences filming in the “Deathly Hallows” film, particularly the Seven Potters scene; how moviegoers will experience the first film; and much more. This interview included discussion regarding the second part of “Deathly Hallows” which we will release closer to its release.
Question: What was it like playing the other characters for the Seven Potters scene?
Dan Radcliffe: It was bizarre! Some [characters] were easier than others to kind of impersonate. The actor Andy, who plays Mundungus, was kind of the easiest because he has an idiosyncratic walk and way about him, so it was quite easy to imitate. But Rupert was very, very difficult because Rupert’s got… you know, his walk. You wouldn’t expect this about Rupert but you actually analyze it Rupert has a real wiggle in the hips when he walks. So he was one of the slightly unexpected. He was one of the slightly trickier ones, but it was great fun. I think it’s gonna be a very funny – a very good scene as well, because normally when you see split screen stuff in films it’s often the case that you can see the joint as it were, where its one actor playing two on screen at the same time… they don’t really cross over in each other’s space very often. Whereas, in this scene, the way we did it was very, very clever and brilliant so we could have everything overlapping. And, you know, it’s an actor’s dream there’s seven of me on screen at one time. It’s fantastic!
Q: How was it playing Hermione?
D: 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. [laughs] But it was very good fun.
Q: Entertainment Weekly announced the split point for Deathly Hallows [at the time of the interview], where Voldemort gains posession of the Elder Wand from Dumbledore’s tomb. I just wanted to know how long you’ve known about this split point, why this was chosen, and what your opinion is of this scene being chosen as the end of Part One?
D: Well, to be honest with you, Entertainment Weekly had been a little bit pre-emptive because we don’t actually know where the split is going to be yet. I haven’t actually heard that as one of places that it might be. That would seem, you know, as an option… that would be very appropriate and a very good, suspenseful moment to have. At the moment it’s sort of within… in and around… sort of a few scenes difference of where it could be. I won’t say where it might be yet in case I am proved very, very wrong. So I hate to disappoint you on that one.
Q: There was a strong rumor that it might be right before Malfoy Manor. Is there some truth in that without saying too much?
D: There is, but it could be ten scenes earlier or it could be ten scenes later. We genuinely don’t know at the moment, I’m afraid.
[Readers will recall that Leaky confirmed with DH:1 Producer David Baron that the split occurs right after Voldemort gains procession of the Elder Wand from Dumbledore’s tomb.]
Q: You’ve had different looks… different hair… in the films. What is your favorite Harry look?
D: I would probably say the either the third film or the last one [Deathly Hallows]. I think those are the two which we’ve got the hair most right. And also, to be honest, my favorite 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 I think how I look sort of strongest. And I think with those kinds of scenes, it’s weirdly helpful– it does actually help you get into the character and get into the scene if you are covered in all that stuff. It’s actually very helpful in terms of helping you in the performance.
Q: Some of us are looking at other interpretations – and Infinitus which just passed, there were some rather major fan films and musicals and so on. What would your reaction be to, you know, once the films are out and over, doing something like Harry Potter: The Musical for stage?
D: My reaction would be pretty negative to that. I think, you know, Harry Potter are books and there are films… and I mean, hey, a radio play could work. I don’t know how it would be done as a musical. I’m ready to be proved wrong. But I think it’s a bit of a long shot… and 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 it would be very hard to achieve a lot of hype. What am I trying to say here? Basically, if I’m being perfectly honest, I just don’t think it would work and I don’t think I would be particularly a big fan of that idea.
Q: What was the most challenging thing to film physically, and then the most challenging thing to film emotionally?
D: Overall in the films or in number seven?
Q: I would say number seven. Most fresh.
Dan: Physically? Well underwater stuff is always pretty tricky and in this case it was particularly tricky because there’s a big fight scene and I’m going under in a frozen lake to get [the locket], and the Horcrux is fighting for its existence and it’s trying to kill me. We do will be hopefully terrifying and sort of semi homage to “The Omen” where I’m dragged up against this bit of ice and sort of torn around by the locket. So that was pretty challenging.
Emotionally? I mean, all the stuff early on in the film. In the first part, with Rupert. I mean it’s very hard– as you all know– to hate Rupert Grint in performance terms. So that was a challenge. But, hopefully, some really, really good scenes come out of it. Also all the scenes in Godric’s Hollow where Harry sees his parent’s tombstone. They were obviously big, emotional moments. And Harry being such a battle hardened, almost desensitized person at this stage, is dealing with emotion that he doesn’t know how to show because he’s buried emotion for so long and that’s how he’s managed to survive and keep his sanity. It is by sort of ignoring, a lot of the time… but 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 stoicism that Harry has developed over the last few years, that was a challenge, but one I thoroughly enjoyed.
Q: We’ve heard that Part 1 is going to be more of a road movie and more different than the other Harry Potter films. Was it a different experience playing a different Harry?
D: Absolutely, it’s a really different film… it’s bizarre in a way. Funnily enough, I don’t think we were aware how different it was at the time of filming. At the time, we were just doing scenes like we would do any other scene. We weren’t really thinking about how different it was going to eventually seem. But then when I saw, for instance, the trailer and some of the extra footage I’ve seen, it just struck me how very different it’s going to be because 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 characters stripped of their comfortable, safe surroundings and suddenly just out in the wilderness together. The first one is being described as a road movie because they are being so exposed and it’s such a different situation, you learn a lot more about how those characters function in that situation and it’s a real exploration of the relationships between them. And the flaws in all their personalities, particularly Harry and Ron. I mean, Hermione as always is the voice of reason, but Harry and Ron do sort of fall apart to some degree. It has 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 the fans reaction will turn in the first half of the movie against Dumbledore because of Rita’s book?
D: Good question. I hope so… that’s kind of the intention. Because that for me is what the first film is about. It’s about faith, it’s about how far can faith be tested before you give in entirely. Harry’s a Job figure in the first part. He hears so much about Dumbledore that is less than redeemable and he starts to really question why he is going on this insane, demanding mission which is costing him his friends and, potentially, will cost him his life… for someone he starts to question the values of. Hopefully at the end of the first film people should be very much wondering ‘Well what is this? What was Dumbledore’s real agenda?’ And they should question it because it is ultimately what we want them to do. I also think– while I’m on the topic of talking about faith– it’s also about, as Harry loses faith in Dumbledore and starts to fall apart, so do Ron and Hermione lose faith in Harry. Harry becomes… I was sort of comparing it to Harry becoming a Roman Emperor in the last days of the empire… just paranoid and isolated and cutting himself off from his friends. And I’ve always felt with Harry that there is an element of a kind of master complex in him. He doesn’t want to reach out for help, he wants to be the sacrifice. He has a pride stroke arrogance which means he won’t always reach out to other people when, in fact, he should. When in fact he’s actually endangering his own chances of succeeding 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?
D: I’ve got two pairs of glasses… one from the seventh film, which were lenseless because we use two sets of glasses on films: lenses and lenseless. We use lenseless for when there’s camera reflection and things like that. And also I have a lensed pair from the first film which just seem like these tiny, little things now. So it’s very sweet and they both have quite a place in my home. And actually I’m probably going to get broken into now that I’ve told you that. [laughs] That was the only thing I wanted. I didn’t want the wand, I certainly didn’t want the broom, and so those were the only things I had my heart set on.
Q: If you had the chance to take the journey Harry takes in the movie in real life, would you and why?
D: I think I would. Very good question. I think I would because if I had the same responsibility that Harry had in this film, I’d love to think that I would be as selfless and as brave as he can be. I think I’d like to think that. And recognize 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.