Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 comes to theaters on November 19, and I promised you interviews with Daniel Radcliffe (who plays Harry) and Emma Watson (who plays Hermione), so here they are! Keep in mind, that they have already finished filming Part 2, so some of their answers refer to both movies. Sadly, we have to wait until 2011 to see Part 2, and all we can do now is imagine them in the final scene when they are all older. . .
Q: My friends nicknamed the 7th book Harry Potter and the Prolonged Camping Trip because of the uneven pacing especially in the beginning. What do you think about splitting the book into two films?
Daniel: You’re right, the first part is very different from the 2nd. The 1st part is an exploration of character and how these characters react to each other. They’re in a totally different environment. When Jo [Rowling] was writing the 7th book, she wrote to me, and referred to it, “I’m writing The Deathly Hallows and at the moment it’s like a very weird road trip,” and that’s kind of how we saw it going in. And the 2nd part starts out as a heist movie and then turns into a war film, so there are many different phases to the book, I think it will actually be what makes the film exciting and what makes it so different than the other films.
Q: In Deathly Hallows, what does being on the run do to Hermione, Ron, and Harry’s friendship? Did you use your own life experiences to act?
Emma: I definitely think the kind of pressure that the three of them are under because they’re on the run, and the fear and the anxiety has an effect on their friendship. Ron particularly becomes very irritable, and Harry and Ron actually end up having a big fight, so Hermione is trying to keep everyone calm and together. So, Hermione is pretty crucial in all of that, but it definitely takes a toll on their friendship.
Yeah, I use my life experience and my experience with friends and friendships in my acting. Definitely. Definitely. When I’m acting with Harry, I always pretend he’s my younger brother Alex, who’s 17, because I feel like Hermione has that kind of sisterly or maternal relationship with Harry.
Q: Are there any embarrassing moments from the set that you could share?
Emma: I had to kiss what feels like my two brothers. I mean, that was pretty bad. I would definitely count that as an embarrassing, awkward moment. Neither of them were bad kisses. That’s not the point, but it definitely was pretty awkward.
Q: Describe Harry’s emotional journey in this film, and also your own emotional journey given the fact that it’s wrapping up now.
Daniel: Dumbledore leaves Harry this mission and almost no information apart from three rather cryptic bequests in his will to Harry, Ron, and Hermione, which make no sense at the time, but gradually as the films carry on, make more and more sense. And he’s hearing all this stuff about Dumbledore constantly, stuff he didn’t know before that makes him doubt the man’s integrity, something which he had never even questioned before, and —it’s always dangerous drawing religious comparisons—but it is sort of a Job-type test of faith and how far that faith can be pushed before Harry gives up. Ultimately every time Harry finds himself in that dark moment where he thinks it’s a worthless quest and he doesn’t even know why he’s doing it, something happens which just allows him to continue on. As far as his relationship with Ron and Hermione goes, it’s them realizing that Harry has no idea what to do. He has no plan— he’s just winging it, and so as they lose faith in him, he starts to become more paranoid and isolated, and I suppose angrier, but it comes across as desperation.
In terms of my own personal emotions, it was a very, very long film. It was very exciting. It was at times very hard work, but that’s why we do it and that’s why we love it. I didn’t have any of the more traumatic emotions that Harry had, but obviously it was very, very emotional. We all cried a lot. And since then, it’s been very odd. The first month away was strange, but luckily, there were lots of times where I saw people who worked on the films. I will know these people for the rest of my life, no matter where I go or what happens. So, yeah, there is some sadness in leaving it, but also now, I’ve gotten to the point where I’m excited about the future and I’m also very excited to see the films. You know, the journey is not over yet in the sense that people still have to see these movies and make their own opinions, and I’m excited to see what people think.
Q: What was going through your mind on the last day of filming?
Emma: Oh my goodness. I can’t believe this is it. I can’t believe this day has finally come. I just thought it would never end, you know? I thought it would never be over. It just felt really strange, so I had to pinch myself. It was pretty weird.
Q: What was the scariest stunt you had to do?
Emma: There’s a scene where we’re [trapped] in Gringott’s Bank and Hermione has this crazy idea to jump on the back of a dragon. She’s on this second story balcony and she jumps off the balcony onto the dragon’s back and doing that stunt was terrifying because I essentially had to jump off—it was a mat that caught me—but just doing the jump and everything was pretty scary.
Q: Daniel, what was the hardest scene for you?
Daniel: To be honest, a lot of scenes I’ve completely forgotten about because you film something for 18 months, and if there’s something in the trailer from the 1st month of filming, it’s like, “Oh my God. I’d totally forgotten about the scene.” I suppose getting beaten up by Ralph Fiennes [who plays Voldemort] in the 2nd part was physically quite demanding. What I love about that scene is that it’s the moment that I’ve been wanting to happen for years. I’ve always wanted a moment when the magic is not enough and he just tries to kill Harry physically by beating him up. So that was a challenging scene, but I mean, there was a lot of physically challenging stuff in the film, but I love that. I love running up and down and falling over and getting hit around. I love all that.
The stuff early on in the 1st part with myself and Rupert [who plays Ron] where we’re fighting and hating each other, that was emotionally challenging, because it’s very hard to hate Rupert Grint, even in acting.
Q: Who is your favorite character in this movie, other than Hermione?
Emma: I love Bellatrix. I think you will love Helena Bonham Carter [who plays Bellatrix] but just because she is so scary and crazy and evil and just the opposite of Hermione.
Q: There is a lot of secrecy as to what your make-up looks like for the older versions of you. Can you tell us about what went into looking older?
Emma: It was a pretty lengthy process. I think it was like over 2 hours. But it was really subtle. They had like this thin film that they put on our faces which went into our wrinkles to make all of that happen. Really subtle details made a huge difference. I wore fake teeth and a wig, but it all looked really real, so it was cool.
Daniel: Obviously, I was concerned about the aging scene and I was concerned about how we were going to do it and everything, but I tell you the makeup looks fantastic. Particularly, I hate to say it, but I’m very pleased with my makeup. Harry ages much more flatteringly than Ron does. I think as soon as they presented Rupert with the fat suit he was like, “Make it bigger.” We had great fun doing that scene and I think it turned out very well.
Q: Emma, you said you were almost exactly like Hermione when you were 9. In what ways do you think you’ve grown apart from the character since then?
Emma: I hope I’m a little bit less serious than Hermione. I’m a bit more mischievous.
Q: What do you walk away with after 10 years, as an actor and as a person from the experience? Daniel: As you said, 10 years, it’s everything. I will never be able to watch one scene in any of these films without connecting it to the memory of that day on set or the memory of what was happening in my life. I walk away with a wealth of experience that actors would kill for in terms of the people I’ve been able to work with and watch and learn from, and the most amazing group of friends anybody could wish for, and I’m not just talking about the cast. So many of my best friends are in the crew, and these are people that I will know forever. I feel very, very lucky.
Q: Looking back, what one particular element would you redo?
Daniel: If I were young enough, I would probably go back and do the first 2 again. Because I still find those very embarrassing to watch. To be honest, I don’t really look back on the films too much because I probably would just be sitting there going, “There is so much I want to change about what I’ve done.”
Q: Do you have one standout memory from filming these movies?
Daniel: It’s not necessarily my favorite memory because that would be too hard to choose, but one of the moments I had where I stepped back and thought, “No matter how long you act for in the rest of your career, you will probably never get something like this to happen again,” was when I got to burst out of the water in the 6th film surrounded by a ring of fire. I think for a few years, I’ve taken for granted the fact that I get to play an action hero and it’s very rare that actors get to do that and it’s a lot of fun, so I’ll miss that certainly.
Q: Emma wasn’t able to change her hairstyle for 10 years because of filming so she cut off all of her hair after film wrap. Is there anything you weren’t able to do because it conflicted with your character?
Daniel: Not particularly. I haven’t really even cut my hair since we’ve finished filming to be honest. It’s been growing and growing. I’ve always been. . . I was a lot less constricted than Emma has been probably in that respect.
Emma had sort of hinted that she was going to do that, so I wasn’t as surprised as perhaps the rest of the world was, but I think she looks fantastic. It’s a very, very cool haircut. But to be honest the girl could look pretty with a plastic bag over her head, you know. I mean, she’s a beautiful girl, so any haircut I’m sure would look wonderful.
Q: Emma, you threw a party for the whole cast on the last day. Can tell us about the festivities? Emma: I threw a dinner. I just bought a new apartment in London. I tried to make it look really nice. I bought tons of flowers. I lit candles everywhere and everyone had place settings and I made food for everyone to come and eat and also I put together . . . I made like a book for everyone and I had silly questions like who was your first crush on the set? What was your best memory? What was your worst memory? Who was your favorite director? . . stuff like that, that’s just really fun. And everyone had a piece of paper to write it all down, but we all discussed our answers and went around and listened to people’s stories and what they remembered. It was just a really nostalgic evening basically, just all of us sharing stories. It was a really nice evening and it was warm weather, so we sat outside as well, and I bought disposable cameras for the tables, so everyone could use those, and it was just fun. It was just chill.
Daniel: It was lovely. It was fantastic. Emma cooked and she was very impressive. She was very much the hostess with the mostest. I’ve never had a dinner party in my life—the idea terrifies me, so I would have been so intimidated by that, but yeah, she got sort of the core of the young cast members and we all went round to her house and it was great. It was really, really nice, very dripping with nostalgia, all reminiscing about early days and how young and cute and innocent we all were. Yeah, it was a really, really good night and we were all very grateful. ‘Cause to be honest with you, if you talked to me or Rupert, neither of us would have had the wherewithal to put together a dinner party, so the fact that she did was really appreciated.
Q: Are there any souvenirs you took from the set?
Emma: Yeah, I took my wand, and I took my time turner, and I took a cloak, and that was about it really.
Daniel: The only thing I wanted was the glasses. I didn’t want the wand; I definitely didn’t want the broom. I actually ended up getting two pairs of the glasses. I got one—the lens-less—because often the glasses we wear on set are lens-less because of camera reflections and they’re the ones we use a lot of the time, so I wanted them from the 7th film, but I also got the lensed versions that we had from the very, very 1st film. I didn’t even know they still kept them. So I got two pairs of glasses, one from the 1st and one from the last, and I’m very happy and they’re both in prided place.
Q: Wizarding World of Harry Potter just opened and you had a chance to visit it. What was your favorite attraction?
Daniel: The dragon challenge. That was the best part. I did it 5 times. It was awesome. I was convinced that I wouldn’t start feeling nauseous and then I really, really did, but it was just the coolest thing. I went on the front; I went on the back; I went at night. It was amazing. The Phelps twins (who play Fred and George) were on the other dragon and we saw our faces sort of steaming towards each other at 60 miles an hour almost gliding and then veering away sharply at the last minute. It was great.
Emma: Just stepping inside, they’ve done it on a small scale, so the level of detail is just amazing and it feels very authentic, which I was really relieved and impressed by. I loved the sweet shop because I’m big into sweets, oh sorry candy. The dragon ride was amazing— it was so good. I went on it like four times back to back. And also the themed ride; I actually got really emotional. Out of everything I was expecting to feel, I was not expecting to feel emotional, but I got really choked up because there’s a hologram of the three of us that looks like we’re actually standing there talking to you, which is really bizarre. The whole ride is a big going through taking all the best parts out of all the movies so it brought back so many memories for me, so that was cool.
Q: Emma, how would you describe Daniel and Rupert when you first met them and at the end of the series?
Emma: It’s funny. It started out that Dan and I were the shy ones and Rupert was the talkative one, and then we seemed to swap. Rupert hardly speaks. You’re lucky to get anything out of him these days, and then Dan and I do a lot more of the talking. Dan is really intelligent and very sweet, and Rupert just has a wicked sense of humor and he’s very eccentric and very unique in the way that he does things. He’s like a big kid. I feel like he’ll never grow up, which I love.
Q: Have you ever had a young fan think that you really know magic?
Emma: Yeah, I’ve had kids be scared of me because I think they thought I was going to do something, which is kind of cute, which I love. It’s so, so sad when kids lose their imagination.
Q: Would you ever date a Harry Potter fan?
Daniel: I wouldn’t date someone because she was a Harry Potter fan. That would be, I think, the height of egomania. But yeah, absolutely, if the person in question would be able to see me as something other than Harry Potter, then I would see no reason, because the truth is most people are Harry Potter fans. It’s hard to avoid them. Even girls I’ve been out with in the past have liked the films and loved the books, but it’s certainly never been the focus of a relationship.
Q: If J.K. Rowling called you up tomorrow and said, “I’m writing another book. I decided to come out of retirement and write more Harry Potter, would you want to star in that next movie?”
Emma: Oh my goodness. No, I wouldn’t. It feels so complete what we’ve done. It would just be weird. No. No way. It would just be really strange.
Daniel: No, probably not is the answer because 10 years is enough. I think the films have reached a rather perfect and wonderful conclusion, and I have had assurances from [Rowling] that she will not be doing that.
Photos courtesy of Warner Bros.