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Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets Press Junket

October 22, 2002
New York City
Melissa Anelli

Note: approximately 150 journalists from from various media outlets were present at this press conference. Questions asked or comments made by TLC are so marked, and some questions (but not answers) have been edited for clarity. We've tried to stress where the interviewees stressed. Be forewarned that not all reporters are as informed as are our readers, so some of these questions are, er..., interesting.

Press conference with Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint

There's a line in the movie of Kenneth Branagh's: "Celebrity is as celebrity does." Well, you guys are celebrities. Can you talk about what that has meant in the last year, becoming a celebrity?

Daniel Radcliffe: The best fame has done for me is at the premiere I met Ben Stiller, who is really cool. Then at the New York premiere I met Tim Robbins, so that's probably been the best thing so far.

Rupert Grint: Getting recognized is really cool. One time I got recognized u pa mountain when I went to Switzerland, and that was cool.

Emma Watson: Probably the best thing is going to the really cool premieres and getting to pick really cool outfits.

This is for Daniel. Chris Columbus said that you developed as a leading man, hero and even a little bit of a heartthrob. Do you feel like a heartthrob?

DR: Personally, I can't actually see it, but if other people can then great!

TLC: Can you predict one thing you think will happen to each of your characters in the books?

EW: She will do something really clever, like she'll be a doctor or something, or she'll be really academic.

DR: Does it have to be my character?

TLC: It can be anything you want.

DR: I think these two [points at Emma and Rupert, i.e. Hermione and Ron] are going to get together. That's my prediction.

WB Rep: Well Rupert, what do you say to that?

RG: Yeah, that's what I was going to say as well. I was going to say hope they don't fall for each other. [said in very 'teenager, grossed out by love' way.]

TLC: But do you think they will?

RG: Yes.

Daniel, last year, you were quite enthusiastic talking about music, and I'm quite curious as what you're listening to now.

DR: I've developed an interest - well more than interest - I just love original punk rock now, not so much the new stuff although the Hives are good. I like the Sex Pistols, the Undertones, the New York Dolls, the Stranglers, those kind of things.

Can you describe the fan mail you get, and is any of it particularly funny or does it freak you out?

DR: I'm just amazed at the amount of effort, because around my birthday time I got lots of presents and things. The effort that was put into them is just unbelievable. It's amazing.

EW:For my birthday somebody gave me a massive, big, white teddy bear, as big as me, and they sent it in the post. I think that was completely amazing, they never even met me or anything.

RG: It was my sister's birthday, and they brought my sister a present as well.

Chris Columbus isn't going to be directing the next movie. Are you excited about that, or a little bit nervous?

DR: I think the important thing to mention is that Chris is still going to be around. He's still going to be there. With the new director it's going to be exciting. It's just going to be a different, new experience.

EW:Dan really said everything I wanted to say. Chris is going to be there to bring everybody in, so it's not like he's gone forever. Alfonso's a really, really nice guy and I really think it's exciting working with someone new.

RG: Yeah, I'm going to miss Chris as well but he's always going to be around and Alfonso is really good.

This is a question for all of you. This certainly is a more active movie, and it's darker. Do you think young kids are really going to be frightened by these scenes, the spider stuff and everything?

DR: I personally don't think so, because it's all in the book. If you take away the darkness in the film, you haven't done the book justice. And so if they've read the book then I don't think they'll be scared at all.

EW: I think fans of the book will be really, really happy with it. I think it just depends on the person.

[same journalist] I was a little scared at times. How about you, Rupert?

RG: So was I. It's pretty scary. It's up to the parent if they want to put their child through that.

What's been the best thing about doing these movies, and the worst?

DR: I think the best thing about it is playing a character who has inspired children and adults all over the world. Honestly, I don't think there is a worst thing.

EW: Again, it's the acting, which I really really enjoyed and even, when you take away all the glamour and attention and premieres and everything, it still comes down to the fact that you're acting. And I just think being with so many fantastic actors, directors, the people we've worked with.

RG: Coughing up slugs and coming to New York.

Which was the best and which was the wrost?

RG: Both are the best.

Daniel, Chris just told us that you've become quite a film nut, and we were wondering if you could tell us what directors and genres you're interested in?

DR: I absolutely love Wes Anderson and The Royal Tenenbaums. My favorite film of all time is Twelve Angry Men. I think it's just one of the most amazing films ever.

This is for all of you - during down time in filming, was there something you guys all like to do together, or what was something funny you guys did during filming?

RG: I don't know. We did loads of funny stuff, I just can't remember any of them.

DR: When we weren't filming I just basically locked myself up in a very small room and watched films.

EW: Me, when I'm not filming, I'm at school, and I play lots of sports and do arts, and hang out with my friends as much as I can.

Dan, your character in this second movie comes back to Hogwarts Academy as a celebrity, like he was treated in the first film, and that that is both good for him and bad. Does your own life reflect that experience at all?

DR:Because I'm at a new school, all the people I've met have been absolutely fantastic. There's no jealousy, I haven't been bullied or anything, because everybody's been really nice.

I wonder if there isn't a spell to fix a wand? I kept wondering about that, if there wasn't a spell Harry could have helped Ron with through the movie. Did you ever discuss this with anybody? And the three of you seem to be such great kids, but did you ever have a fight? Did Chris Columbus have to come in and referee and say, 'Okay, make up, it'll be better tomorrow,' anything like that?

DR:[very serious] I threw Rupert out of a window. [laughter] No, we've never had a fight. The wand thing? I don't think Harry, in his second year, has quite discovered that [spell to fix a wand] yet.

You guys are all in an age where changes are happening rapidly. When you are acting does Chris want you to still play younger or do you just play your age?

EW: Play your age. It's like we're growing up with the books because we're the same age as them. We're just growing up with them.

The three of you got a lot of experience filming the first Harry Potter movie. Can you tell me how that affected you this time around, what gave you more confidence than you had the first time, or how it changed things?

DR: I think I was certainly a lot more confident with Chris, and I could take to him more, if I had an idea or something, I was more comfortable talking to him about it whereas on the first one I wouldn't have been able to do that.

RG: I was a bit more comfortable because [unlike] the first one, we knew what everything was, we knew the scheduling.

EW: I think it's great. I think everyone's a lot more confident and a lot more comfortable because we knew the crew and the director, we knew what we were doing, for starters, which was good. I just think everyone came back a lot more confident.

Would you all like to continue on with the series, doing four or five movies up to maybe the seventh book, if there is a seventh book? [TLC thinks this person meant "seventh movie."]

EW: I don't even know if they're even going to make a fourth or a fifth or whatever, but it's a really, really good experience, I've really enjoyed them.

DR: I'm definitely dong the third movie, we all are doing the third. After that, who knows? It's more or less a year to film, so it's quite a long time before we have to encounter that decision.

RG: Um - what was the question? [laughter, and Rupert is reminded.] I think so, yeah, I really enjoyed doing them all. Yeah.

WB Rep: You'll do many as you can?

RG: Yeah, that's right.

I have three questions for you. The special effects - Emma, being petrified; Daniel, the climactic battle with the snake, and Rupert with the coughing up the slugs - How was it?

DR: The basilisk is, in the books it's supposed to be I think 80 feet long. And they built 25 foot of it and gave him a head, which was actually quite hard to fight because I kept knocking the teeth out of his mouth. So they had to spend hours and hours repairing it. But that's how much was actually there.

RG: The slugs was probably my favorite scene because I had to try all these different flavors of slime. There was orange, lemon, peppermint, chocolate, and it made it taste really nice. I really enjoyed it! [laughter.]

EW: Petrified - it was this amazing wax model of me. I had to have a whole [model] made of me. I didn't actually have to lie there like this [does very cute impression] for a half an hour or anything.

I have a two-part question. Emma could you comment on having to hug Daniel? And my other question is, how are your families dealing with all this attention?

EW: Well...

DR: [very serious, to Emma] Be careful.

[laughter, obviously.]

EW: I'll be very careful. For starters it was 'cringe,' but then it was okay. Where better to hug somebody in front of 300 kids and everyone else in the whole entire world? But I mean, it was okay, it was good. He was really nice about it. You'd think he might not be but, he was very nice.

Dan what were you thinking?

DR: I was thinking, 'Ew, get off me,' actually. [laughter] No, I was cool with it, I didn't mind at all. Mind? Why would I mind?

How are your families dealing?

DR: My parents are really amazing because they help me with absolutely everything I've done in my life and I couldn't have done any of this without them.

RG: Yeah, my parents help me keep my feet on the ground.

EW: My parents, I think they've been really supportive.

Which scene from this movie were you most excited to shoot, dramatically speaking as opposed to the special effects sequences? And for Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, which scenes are you most excited to shoot?

EW: I'm really looking forward to flying on the griffin? Hippogriff, hippogriff. My favorite bit of this movie, was probably the Gilderoy Lockhart scene. I thought that was pretty good.

DR: I think I'm really looking forward to doing, in the third film, all the stuff with Lupin, and Sirius Black and those characters. I think in this film I loved the dueling scene because there's this huge crowd there and I like filming scenes with loads of people, plus Kenneth Branagh and Alan Rickman together was just fantastic to watch.

RG: My favorite scene in this film was the flying car, because that was just wicked. One in the third film, I'm looking forward to meeting one of the Dementors.

All of us grow up believing in Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny and all that, so can you tell us what ages you were when you discovered life wasn't what you thought it was? Also, if you could do magic, what would be the one spell you would most like to cast?

RG: I'd like to have the flying car, I think that'd be really cool.

DR: I'd like to have an invisibility cloak because then if you get into trouble you run off very, very fast.

EW: First, I still love Santa Claus. And I would like to probably, have the invisibility cloak as well.

In this film you have two great actors, Jason Isaacs and Kenneth Branagh, who are amazing in it. Talk a little bit about working with them. Also, did you do anything to initiate them into the group, being the new guys on the set?

DR: It was amazing working with Jason and Kenneth Branagh. Not only are they two of the most fantastic actors in Britain, but they're also two of the nicest people. As far as initiation goes, not that I know of.

EW: Yeah, exactly. They're two of the most fantastic actors on the set, and off two of the nicest guys ever. And also the funniest.

RG: Yeah, I was a bit nervous at meeting them at first but they're just really nice people and down to earth and funny.

You guys had a jump back in to the second film about three days after the premiere, you started back in. This time you have a little bit more of a hiatus, so what are you up to right now, and will you be working on other projects in between?

RG: The little short gap in between helped on the second one because we jumped straight into it. I did Thunderpants in between the two films - about a boy who farts [laughter] - so that was a different character from Ron. That was good.

DR: Now I'm just at school, back at school. I think it actually helped going from one film to the other; we did get a holiday kind of period in there, but it helped because we were still in our characters right at once. I mean, I know I was.

EW: Yeah, same thing. I went back to school, which was good. Pretty much straight back there for me.

Do you guys celebrate Halloween at all over there?

EW: You know what? No, it's not as big.

DR: Here it's so big, it's huge, people have huge Halloween parties, it's really cool.

You wish for a bigger Halloween over there too?

DR: Yeah.

EW: Yeah.

How about you, Rupert?

RG: I don't know, I used to always dress up, but I don't really do it anymore.

What's been the most satisfying aspect of all of this?

RG: Meeting the people, going to things like the New York premiere, coughing up the slugs and seeing the final thing is really good.

DR: I think actually one of the best things there is, is actually seeing the finished product, as Rupert said. It's like you give ten months, you work for ten months, and you finally see it and it's a really great moment when you finally see it all together.

EW: Oh, you both nicked my answer. Yeah, it's basically, you spend ten months doing it, and you haven't seen the special effects, you haven't seen any of the editing, you haven't seen anything. And because you worked on it, it's like this massive surprise when you see it.

What do each of you identify with most about the characters you're playing?

EW: In real life, I don't go around saying "Holy cricket" too much, but, I don't know, sometimes I find myself saying some of the lines from the film, but not very often.

DR: I think I'm going to go and have to have therapy one day. When I keep reading the books, I just find out more about myself that Harry has in his personality too, like curiosity, loyalty, not being afraid to stand up for yourself, getting in trouble.

RG: Yeah, when I read the books I related to them because we're very similar, we've both got ginger hair, we're both afraid of spiders, we both have a pretty big family, and we both like sweets.

How is Harry like you and how is Harry different from you? [asked by young writer from Time for Kids]

DR: This is the weird thing, I don't think he's different. I think sometimes, we don't break the rules, but we bend them, so I just think we get into trouble a lot more.

This is for all of you. You guys will be 75 years old and in your rockers and still be known as the Harry Potter children. Is there a downside to that?

DR: I think if I do go and act or whatever I do, I think I'm going to try and separate myself from the character. But at the same time, it's not something that I should ever, and I don't think I will ever be ashamed of because it' a huge achievement and something I can be really proud of.

EW: I could be 100 years old and in my rocker and I'll always be very, very proud that I was in a Harry Potter film.

RG: Yeah, me too.

Daniel - this character has a dark side to him. How do you relate, as a person, to that?

DR: I think everyone has a dark side, really, and however much you like showing or are afraid of showing, everybody has it. So I think it was great to be able to show Harry's dark side, and it was great to be able to show that he's not flawless, and he's not the perfect person.

It's just been announced that there's not going to be an eighth book, and I was wondering, you guys are all fans of the series, so what are your feelings on that?

EW: I didn't know that...

DR: I didn't know that...

TLC: Nothing's changed. Seven books. There's only going to be seven.

DR: Oh, okay, yeah, I didn't think there was ever going to be more than seven.

It was just a rumor that there would be an eighth book.

DR: I don't even know what to say. I think probably it will be very sad when the series stops and I think millions of people all over the world will be very upset.

Do you have any favorite subjects in school and do you have any thoughts about what you'd like to be when you grow up?

EW: Favorite subject in school - I'm not very academic, so I would have to say sports or art, but if I had to say academic, it would probably be English or History. What do I want to be when I grow up? Absolutely no idea.

DR: I love English in school, that's what I really love, reading gand writing. I might like to be a writer. I've been given a real love of film from Chris Columbus and David Heyman. I might be like a theater actor, I don't know.

RG: Don't have a favorite subject, I think I want to carry on doing this because I really enjoy it.

Child actors notoriously have problems making the transition to being adult actors, so given Chris Columbus had directed other children who have also had trouble making the transition, do you have any fears of taking a wrong turn?

DR: I think you're talking about Macaulay Culkin [laughter], and he's actually, at the moment, he was doing a successful play in the West End and I think it's just recently come to Broadway. I can't really say he hasn't done very well for himself.

I'm speaking to the personal problems.

DR: Oh, I think it's just the way, I don't know, I think it's something that's been made, I guess, because it's just coincidence that these people haven't - I mean, they've grown up and they may not have wanted to.

Do each of you guys have one thing that's already on your Christmas wish list?

RG: I just want more slugs, I think.

DR: I think a DVD of The Royal Tenenbaums.

EW: More clothes.

There's been some interesting news in the last couple of years; people have discovered, 'Oh my gosh, [Harry Potter is] witchcraft.' What's your reaction to those criticisms, and have you encountered anyone who felt that way?

DR: I can't really see how it's like Satanism or anything, because in the first book the thing that saves Harry from being killed is the love his mother had for him. I don't really see how that could be judged as evil.

Is it safe to assume that your voices changed for the second movie and did you do anything about that?

DR: Yeah, it was me. [laughter] My voice did break during filming, but it didn't, like, get high and low, it went from one to the other. And Harry's also at the age where his voice might start to break, because Harry grows at the same time. I don't think it's a problem.

RG:The characters in the book grow up with us. My voice has broken as well.

I think part of the very new technology that's available in this film is that you had more interaction with some of the CG character Dobby. Did you figure out a good way to do that? It all worked so well on screen, I wonder how you figured out how to make it work with someone who was not there.

DR: It wasn't quite not there. There was an orange ball on a stick, which helps. But because it's so animated, because the actual creature is so animated and jumps all over the place, it's hard to actually get a fix on where it is at one time. But it was made so easy by everybody around us that we just go used to it.