Harrods Blu-Ray and DVD Launch Interview: “You’ll remember Potter as people’s childhood” [Full Transcript]

Dec 02, 2011

Posted by: John Admin

Actor Interviews

Yesterday, 1st December, Leaky attended the Blu-ray and DVD release event at Harrods, where 300 fans had their copies of “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2” signed by Warwick Davis (Professor Flitwick and Griphook), James Phelps (Fred Weasley), Oliver Phelps (George Weasley), Mark Williams (Arthur Weasley) and Jessie Cave (Lavendar Brown). Attendees at the launch event received goody bags stuffed with
t-shirts, scarves, the film’s soundtrack, stickers, keyrings and more! Leaky was given the opportunity to ask the actors questions in a press roundtable shortly before the signing and you can find the full transcript of that interview below, with the audio and photographs from the event to follow later this evening.

Update: Full audio of the interview can be heard right here!

“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2” is (finally!) out on Blu-Ray and DVD in the UK from today, 2nd December.

Interview with Warwick Davis (Professor Flitwick and Griphook), James Phelps (Fred
Weasley), Oliver Phelps (George Weasley), Mark Williams (Arthur Weasley)
and Jessie Cave (Lavendar Brown) at Harrods, London on the 1st December 2011.

What was the last scene you filmed on the very last film?

Warwick Davis: I think it was something to do with the dwarf and whats-his-face¦


WD: Yeah! Don’t quote me on whats-his-face! [Sorry Warwick!] That was my
last day on what was officially the last day, that was my last day.
Oliver Phelps: Mine was filming with James on the battlement sequence
when Fred and George see Voldemort’s army coming in. That was all done
ad lib and that was quite cool.
James Phelps: Same!
Jessie Cave: Mine was my death scene. Which is quite fitting, really.
Mark Williams: Mine was the Great Hall, the big Great Hall scene, mine
was the same day as Alan Rickman’s and Thewlis’ and a lot of other
people, a lot of us wrapped at the same time.

Rosi for Leaky: Because [James and Jessie] had big death scenes, or seen death
scenes, do you feel that meant you had more of a final end to your time
on the films than maybe other people will have had?

WD: Clever!
MW: See, you don’t get away with anything with this lot.
JC: I definitely — it was really nice kind of ending even though I was–
MW: Nice?!
JC: Not nice! Sort of¦
MW: Nice as in precise.
JC: Yes, precise! Precise ending, full stop.
JP: For me it kind of seemed like a normal scene because I didn’t do
anything but it was the fact that because it was in the great hall–
MW: Did you fall asleep?
JP: I did in rehearsals yeah. Because we’ve filmed in the great hall for
like ten years, we’ve shot so many things there so it just seemed like
another great hall scene to be honest with you, but on reflection I
guess it was a fitting end. Luckily it was in the last movie and not the
WD: I died and then I was alive again. It’s funny because when you do
these death things you want to look good and I said to David Yates, I
could be death like this [twists self] I gave him a few options, but he
went for the most contorted one, you see, which was really uncomfortable
and I just lay there for six hours watching Voldemort strut up and
down. But it was quite funny because on one occasion they put so much
blood everywhere, you can’t really see in the film, but there was
gallons of this fake blood all round–
MW: –it was really slippery–
WD: and Ralph slipped on it at one point! With bare feet! So, Voldemort [“scary voice” then mimics tripping] ¦ whoosh!

Is that going to be on the DVD extras?

WD: I don’t know, it could be! But then they furiously mopped the floor to make a path up there so that he didn’t slip.

What do you know about your characters that we don’t? Do you have any scoop on what’s going on Pottermore soon or something?

MW?: [joking] Some tattoos or something¦
OP: No, we’re totally in the dark about Pottermore. It’s the same when
the books come out, the first time we knew what was happening to any of
our characters was when we read them. I think it was only Alan Rickman
who had a slight inkling as to what was going to happen.
MW: Yeah, only because he made her tell him! I’ve got a feeling she
hasn’t gotten around to us, me and Julie [Walters] yet. I think she
might¦[strokes chin, acts out typing] and then you’ll be like¦ “WHAT!?
He had a what?”
WD: That didn’t answer your question, at all, did it?
MW: I’d quite like her to encourage her, actually, to do something about
Arthur and Molly. Their backstory seems to be elided slightly, it all
seems to be roses and stuff but I bet there’s some murkiness¦

Leaky: Maybe you should write it yourself? Fanfiction?

MW: Heaven forfend!

Leaky: Yesterday we found out that there’s going to be a second WWoHP
Park, probably, in Los Angeles. What do you think of the second sunny

OP: Where’d you find that out?

Leaky: The Wall Street Journal released it yesterday.

MW: Really, did they? Couldn’t possibly leave before next, uhhh, Thursday week?
WD: I think one’s amazing but two’s¦ twice as amazing! That was a
brilliant quote, wasn’t it, there? I can do maths as well! No it’s good
isn’t it, exciting? I think there should be the Gringotts ride. That’s
what I’m waiting for, because I can go and work there. Be a great job,
going, “get on the cart!” I don’t speak like that in the film, but I
would at the theme park.
MW: Alright! That would be a new character then!
WD: Yeah because he’s dead, but then he was alive at that point so yeah
we could do it. That would be good, get on that, ride through it.
MW: All indoors.

Leaky: Great!

WD: Tragedy is, I can’t go on the Forbidden Journey ride, I’m too short.
MW: When I went on it, I thought about you! Also, do you know what, I shut my eyes!
WD: Oh okay!

Leaky: I shut my eyes for the spiders bit.

MW: Did you? I just thought [puts on scared voice] I don’t like this!
JC: That will be really successful in Los Angeles, I think.

Imagine if it was in England!

WD: We’ve got the studio tour though.
MW: [still about California] Which line of the San Andreas fault is it through?
WD: I was trying to do a plug for the tour and you ruined it! I was going to segue into it!
MW: Do it again!
WD: It doesn’t matter now, it’s gone, the moment’s gone.

Is there anyone behind the scenes who hasn’t had a shoutout or been rewarded for their work?

WD: There’s loads of people.
MW: Yeah, when we finished, the best thing we’ve ever got off the film — people say “what did you nick” —
WD: [groans]
MW: — and all that. But the best thing is what’s called the Crew Book.
Which everybody contributed to, all departments talked about, pictures
of all departments, everybody’s experiences and that is the most
precious thing. It got delivered and the family kind of went [reaches
forward] and I went [grabbing] NO! That’s actually mine.
WD: Mm, that is a very special book.
MW: But there are lots of people like Steve and —
WD: Yeah you know Steve, write that down.
MW: — and his team who maintained the trailers that were basically our
home from home and we actually spent, when we were working, more time in
there than we did in our beds!
WD: Yeah they made sure the water worked and the TVs.
MW: But also the gas! There was always gas!
WD: You had gas? I didn’t have gas. They maintained a level of comfort for us.
OP: And the thing is yeah, if people like that weren’t doing their job that well
WD: We’d have been moody
OP: Grouchy
MW: Where’s my armadillo!
WD: And even people who’ve cooked thousands of meals, unbelievable, you’re feeding an army really, to keep up¦
MW: Did catering change as they grew up? The only thing they’d eat when
it was a mass of kids¦ chicken nuggets and all the adults would be ¦
right¦ okay¦
WD: And they all went off the menu slowly. And also I miss the ribena cartons!
MW: And then it got spicier and spicier and spicier.
WD: They stocked the fridges, didn’t they, with all that, I used to go
and quickly [mimes opening fridge] it was for all the youngsters.
JP: That’s why they stopped it then.
WD: Did they have Haribo there?
OP: No.
WD: They stopped that.
OP: They stopped it, yeah.

Leaky: They got Jamie Oliver in or something?

MW: Yeah, exactly, yeah.
WD: Sorry, we’re just making up our own questions.
MW: We used to have a thing when we were doing the big battle scenes
where there was kind of order of when people came in and they used to
get the people like me and Jason and Thewlis and all of the kind of
middle aged character actors in at half past, you know, sparrowfart,
[Warwick] was already in there because they were sticking things to him.
WD: Afternoon!
MW: He was like that, exactly. And then they get the older actors, with
due deference, absolutely should have been, quite rightly so, like
Maggie [Smith] and then they get the younger actors like Dan and Rupert
all in order to shoot at 8 o’clock, so we were in about 4 o’clock. So
what you do is you get ready and you can have about two breakfasts and
that was great¦ I used to do it in stages, I used to have some porridge
and a coffee and then maybe a bacon sandwich and then a little bit of a
lie down and then some kippers, I just remember that. By the time you
got to film it was — as you said — afternoon!
WD: Yeah it was, it was long days and stuff but these things take time. I
think people often think that computers solve everything for us on
these films but it’s just a lot of painstaking work because a lot of
what you see in the movie kind of happens right there for us, it’s not
all easy.
MW: It’s not bloody motion capture!
WD: Which you can learn about on the DVD because there’s plenty of
extras! I was going to go on about this and then say: DVD out now.

Leaky [to Mark Williams]: You gave an interview last year when you
talked about losing the physicality of the set [in the film industry as a

MW: Yeah I think it’s very important and I think Warner Brothers in this
series of movies has kind of given a blueprint where what you need to
do is invest, take care, and commit. Everybody’s tried to work their way
around it, tried to do cheap things, it’s not worked. Because¦ we are
human beings, we respond to each other in very subtle and clever ways
and when you’re watching something, you know whether it’s a lie or not.
And things like motion capture are not satisfying enough. It’s like,
Casablanca as a motion capture, you know? You need to be emotionally
committed to the people that you’re watching, you can’t lie, you can’t
skate over these things, it’s becoming divergent and actually the better
path is the path that Warner Brothers decided to take, which is commit
to actors, real sets and proper direction.
WD: And that’s the difference between, you know, for me, having a real
actor in a prosthetic, is: you get a lot more subtleties and things that
you don’t know what they are but you as an audience can certainly read
into that character a lot more than you can–obviously CG is brilliant,
in respects, but there is obviously a difference.
MW: You look at the range of emotion in motion capture, for example
[points to Warwick] I’m not singling you out — motion capture can’t do
fear. The way you respond to an actor who’s frightened is because you’re
responding, you’re picking it up. If somebody’s scared, you’re scared
with them. You’re not¦ cartoon. You can’t be scared for a cartoon
character, unless they’re [¦] which is why Itchy and Scratchy are funny.

Obviously the movie was a huge success and Warner Brothers have really
kicked off the Oscars campaign. What would seeing in recognised by the
Academy mean to you all?

JP: I think that would be huge, obviously but I think it’s one thing for
it to have an award like a Grammy but this latest film won two
Children’s BAFTAs, previous Potter films have won Children’s BAFTAs
voted for by the public so it means more¦
OP: It would be great, it would be fantastic for it to win, but at the
same time we’ve had an award of fans camping up five or six days before
the final premiere. I don’t know any film which could ever have that and
have 30,000 people in central London.
MW: I fail to understand why Stuart Craig [production designer] has not [won an award].
JP: Yeah, stuff like that.
MW: I just think that’s like¦a gross omission!
WD: I think the filmmakers, these other departments who’ve done so much
for these films, as actors and performers we get our moments when we do
events and things, meet people at the premieres but these other hugely
talented people, make-up departments and others deserve recognition too.

Why do you think they struggle to get that from them specifically?

MW: There’s been a lot of movement about family films and comedy films
and this constant weight of intention from the Academy towards disabled,
people playing against their sexuality. I’m sorry, but if you go back
over the past twenty years, you go¦ why? What? Broke [sic] Mountain?
Sorry! No! It wasn’t that good. Was it? Did I miss something?
OP: I think it’s one of those things really but as we see you know it’s
the biggest film saga ever. People are going to remember Potter for the
JP: It would be great if it won a load of awards yeah but at the same
time you’re not going to remember it as “Oh that won the Oscars”, you’ll
remember it as that was people’s childhood.
MW: I think that’s good Oli, that’s good Oliver because I think we should replace franchise with saga.
WD: Let’s do that.
MW: [to Warwick] You can do it! Sorted.
WD: I’ll get my people onto it right away.

From all the interviews that you’ve had over the years, what is the
question that you’d like to answer that you’ve never actually been asked

WD: Someone asked me this in my last interview, what would you like to be asked?
JP: I’ve never been asked that so I’m stumped. Oliver and I are normally
asked: what’s the biggest prank you’ve ever done. But there’s different
pranks and we did an event in Orlando a couple of weeks ago and another
one in Australia last week and we were asked that question every day
and I always had a couple of answers and I forgot one which really,
which I liked which was: there was a work experience girl over from
America, like a pretty blonde girl, and all the crew were like¦[grins]
ooh, hello! I was just having a bit of a joke and there was this one guy
who will remain nameless who was an AD who was a bit gullible. I said,
“yeah, she likes football, she likes soccer” and he went, “oh really,
I’m playing football afterwards”, I was like, “show her your kit!” So I
swear to God–
JC: It’s not that good!
JP: –He turns up in front of the whole crew, and this girl doesn’t
really know anyone and he stands there in his football kit on the middle
of a set in January and started stretching and he’s literally there
going, “Yeah I play centre forward, what do you play? I like this
stretch.” And she’s literally there being polite, we’re all absolutely
howling behind the screen. That’s probably the most guilty I’ve felt,
afterwards, because then he was kind of inclined to say, “so do you want
to come and watch me play football after work?”
MW: [puts on American accent] “What?!”
JP: Exactly.
OP: Whilst standing at the side of the Great Hall.
WD: I just remember the prank Daniel used to do and didn’t quite get
hold of my phone: he used to get your phone and change the language on
MW: Hungarian!
WD: So you could never find it in the settings, it was all foreign so you couldn’t figure out how to get it back again!
MW: On those old Nokias I always remember, because everyone used to do that, you’d go 1, 4, 7, 5!

[Publicist wraps up]

MW: It’s always really nice, your questions, you lot!

The Leaky Cauldron is not associated with J.K. Rowling, Warner Bros., or any of the individuals or companies associated with producing and publishing Harry Potter books and films.