Filmonic reviewer/reporter Joe Belcastro covers the Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 release event live at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
On the weekend of the home video release (11/11/11) of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, an assortment of the cast and crew from the Harry Potter realm all gathered at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Orlando, Florida, to yap with the worldwide press and mingle with fans in attendance throughout the three-day event.
Friday was the press conference as everyone from actor Rupert Grint to director David Yates – who helmed the last four Potter flicks – all descended upon the theme park that was inspired by J. K. Rowling’s literary gems in conjunction with the vision of the respective filmmakers, which was brought to life these last eleven years.
Saturday saw a massive red-carpet spectacle that ran through the entire re-created world, with the cast all going up on stage at the base of Hogwarts, while a firework display went off celebrating all they have accomplished.
So without any further ado, yours truly chatted with just about everyone at the presser and the red carpet. Read some quotes and take a listen to a portion of the press conference below:
On whether the cast is sad that it is all officially wrapping up…
“I don’t whether sad is quite the right word,” says Warwick Davis (Professor Flitwick & Griphook).
“I mean, it’s sad the paychecks aren’t coming through anymore,” he says with a grin. “I suppose the thing that might be sad is not seeing everybody so often. We are all used to going to work and hanging out; certainly with members of the cast together, and also the fantastic crew we had at the studios. Going to that place every day felt secure.”
The animated Mark Williams (Mr. Weasley) added, “People ask us that question and we hesitate to reply and I think the reason is that this has never been done before. And we are kind of struggling to understand what’s being achieved. But I think celebration is a good word, I’d go with that one.”
Also reflecting on the moment was director David Yates; who in his gentle voice chimed in with this…
“It was always a very family atmosphere when we made these movies. A real sense of community. And I think that what we all will carry that forward with us, as well as the pride in the work. It’s hard to get an angle on it; we’re so close to it. It was such an extraordinary amount of work that we did together. It’s hard to really contextualize it at the moment. I think Rupert used the word surreal; it feels a little surreal at this point because we are that close to it. But I think we’ll see each other whenever we pass and we’ll always be grateful for the experience and they will be relationships that will continue.”
The family theme came up a lot in all of their response. Mainly because they all realized that this was going to be special. As Jason Isaacs (Lucius Malfoy) succinctly put it…
“We all felt like we were privileged to work there.”
Isaacs also had an interesting response when people come up to him and say they are the biggest Harry Potter fans…
“The biggest fans of Harry Potter that I have ever met are at this table and the table before,” (referencing all the cast & crew that took part in the press conference).
A prime example of that is Evanna Lynch (Luna Lovegood); who admittedly came from the fan world and she is still in awe of being a part of something she loved so much.
Stanislav Ianevski (Viktor Krum), also a fan, gave a deep response to what’s going on in his mind…
“To be honest, it’s very difficult for me to take in the moment that it’s come to an end. I’d rather believe that it’s never going to come to an end, because Harry Potter and everything that’s done – for over eleven years now – you know, I think is going to live on forever in people’s hearts. I’d rather think that, we are going to live in their hearts forever.”
That thoughtful answer put Domhnall Gleeson (Bill Weasley) in an interesting spot (for he was next to answer), as in: how do I follow that?
“Yeah, what he said (smiling). It’s amazing. So good to see everyone again, he says laughing.”
Focus shifted to David Yates and he revealed what his personal goals were when taking over the franchise…
“I think we had to absolutely get the last film right in its totality; because there was so much pressure riding on that story,” says Yates. “People had followed that story for ten years and there was a huge expectation about the finale. So we carried that pressure with us for some time. It was tricky of getting that balance of comedy, adventure, action sort of coordinated in the right way.”
And his most memorable directing achievements while working on the films…
“One of the scenes I’m proudest of, which I adore, is the kiss between Ron and Hermione in Hallows Part 2, just because of its charm.”
“I still remember the scene very fondly with Rupert and Emma; it was a delicate scene to get right because Rupert and Emma know each other really, really well. And it’s quite a challenging thing to snog someone you know really well.”
The overall tone of the press conference was celebratory and that stemmed from the questions being asked. They all talked about the little souvenirs they “took” from the set while filming. Producer David Barron gave a funny story how passionate (or rabid) the fans are, when one approached him for an autograph. Rupert Grint briefly told one that happened at one of the premieres…
“Yeah, I had kind of an encounter with an interesting character,” says Grint. “It was actually at one of the premieres, the fourth film maybe, in New York, and we were just about to be put away in the limo, and this man in a wheelchair grabbed onto the back bumper. And we towed him along for a few yards.”
Grint also elaborated on how he and his now infamous “Ron” persona coexist…
“I kind of feel we merged into the same person in a weird way. I always could relate to Ron, and not just cause we’re both ginger.”
With the home video release (DVD, Blu-ray, Download & Ultra Violet Digital Copy) producers David Barron and David Heyman said those expecting extended or a bunch of deleted scenes will be surprised that there are not that many on the disc. Just about all the the footage that they shot was used in the film (Good!)
The inevitable chance of another movie had to be asked. Artistically, there is no need to ever try to add on to this amazing achievement in filmmaking. Well, unless J.K. Rowlings decides to conjure up another phonebook sized novel. But with the business of Hollywood and how nothing is sacred, David Yates and David Barron answered with this…
“You could only do something additional to the eight films we have if it originated from Jo herself (Rowlings),” says Barron. “We would have to have the integrity she would give it. And I can’t see what it would be, because she told a singular story over seven volumes that we took eight films to tell that same story. And we reached the end of that story. I can’t really imagine what it would be. We know what happens to Harry – he got married, he had kids, he rebuilt the school, it’s no big mystery. I think she did that on purpose really, so it was not left open”
“And there’s a sort of a time and a place for a story such as this,” added Yates. And it seems wonderful to leave it where it is somehow. I think that will gain value in time. And I think it would be a real shame to continue.”
“But we’d like a part,” says the quick-witted Mark Williams. And David Barron appropriately followed that up with, “And we would like to work on it, too.”
Finally, we come to the A-Ha moments. The moment when they all personally realized that this Harry Potter phenomenon was bigger than they thought. And they were a part of it. A few of them – including Rupert Grint, James and Oliver Phelps (Weasley Twins), producer David Heyman, Jason Isaacs, Evanna Lynch, George Harris (Kingsley Shacklebolt), Nick Moran (Scabior), David Bradley (Argus Filch) and Devon Murray (Seamus Finnigan) – specifically recalled what they were doing and/or where they were when it more-or-less “hit” them that they played a role in the biggest movie franchise of all-time…
Below are a few audio interviews containing their ‘A-Ha’ moments:
In order: Nick Moran (Scabior), David Bradley (Filch), David Heyman (producer), George Harris (Kingsley), Phelps Twins (Weasley Twins), Jason Isaacs (Lucius Malfoy) and Evanna Lynch (Luna Lovegood)