SURPRISE: Harry Potter Post-Holiday Present!
If you’re wishing for one extra gift for the holidays, sorry, I can’t help you. But if you’re wishing for TWO extra holiday gifts, you got it! Because our own Marie Morreale traveled to London to the set of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part I for exclusive cast interviews, and this week we’re bringing you not ONE, but TWO Weasley twins. So get comfy, snuggle up with your computer, and enjoy the chat with James and Oliver Phelps, aka Fred and George Weasley.
Q: Can you tell us how you got the roles for Harry Potter?
James: Our friend had seen the advert in the paper. We’d never done any acting or anything so Mum came into our room and said, “You fancy it? It’s there if you want to.”
[Ratha: I love how those Brits talk!]
It’s like near the end of school term and she says, “Unfortunately it’s a Wednesday. So that would mean you’re going to have to take a day off of school.” So we were like, “Oh, Gosh no!”
Oliver: Any fourteen-year-old would probably say the same thing. So we go to this audition and they’re auditioning for every single part in the film. There’s probably three thousand people there going for different parts. And I’ve never seen so many people with glasses with just frames, no lenses or anything. Kids walking around with lipstick lightning bolts on their head!
James: There were loads of guys there with huge portfolios from the acting schools and everything, and we turned up with nothing. We didn’t even have shirts that matched because we never ever wore the same thing, apart from our school uniform.
[Ratha: In England, many schools require a uniform. Usually it's a polo shirt/sweater, and trousers/skirts/shorts. I also had to wear a uniform when I was in grade school, and let me tell you, it cut way down on clothing expenses at the mall!]
So we quickly legged it over to the nearest department store and just grabbed two shirts off the rail. Then we waited for two-and-a-half hours and eventually met the main casting director. Then six or seven auditions and screen tests later, we got the parts. And that was nine years ago.
[Ratha: Boy does time fly.]
Q: How many other sets of twins auditioning were there?
Oliver: We saw about five but I’m sure there was more. And the two guys who came out as we were going in, Si and Chris, actually turned out to be our doubles on the first film and we still keep in contact to this day. It’s quite nice. Being our first audition, we didn’t know how it worked, so we didn’t have anything to get nervous about. And we always went with this attitude, “Well if this doesn’t work out, I’m not going to see these people again. Why should I care?” I think that kind of carried over into the characters, how they are.
Q: In the films you guys speak in unison. Does that ever happen in real life?
James: It kind of came across because of that. In the films that happened because Oliver said something and I just cut him up to carry on pretty much exactly what he was saying. And Alfonso [the director of Prisoner of Azkaban] said, “I like that. Let’s put it in.” So he literally got the script, crossed a load out and mixed it all up and it came from there. So I guess we do. I don’t know why. Probably been around each other too much.
[Ratha: Any twins reading this? Does this happen with you too? Let us know in the Comments!]
Q: Have you managed to take any of the props as souvenirs?
Oliver: A few may have found their way into my bag. We were on tour for the Half-Blood Prince and I was going through one airport. I took my laptop out of my bag and I found a puking pastie. And the [security] dude who was working was like, “What’s that?” And I was like, “. . . puking pastie?” And he says, “What does that do?” “It makes you sick.” “Why have you got that?” And I said, “You’re not gonna believe me if I told you.”
[Ratha: What I wouldn't do for a pair of extendable ears. . .]
Q: In which situation is it most obvious that Oliver is thirteen minutes older?
Oliver: I’m probably a bit more sensible than James!
Q: During the years you’ve both had different haircuts. Which ones did you like most?
Oliver: It was kind of an accident, how they got longer and longer, between the third and fourth film. And when we finished filming I actually kept it even longer than that. Looking back at the photos now I think how did I think that looked good? But at the time, maybe I thought I looked cool.
[Ratha: I can relate. In 8th grade, I used to curl my bangs with a curling iron every morning, then spray them with a half can of Rave hairspray until they looked perfectly immobile and fabulous standing 2 inches above my head. NOT!]
Oliver: Our natural hair color is brown, and they had to dye it back [red] recently and it took four or five hours to get the color back to match the continuity of the film. So I think I’ll be quite glad when I’m not having a load of dye put in every three weeks or so.
[Ratha: That's what Tom Felton [Draco Malfoy] said about dying HIS hair blond for the Harry Potter movies.]
Q: Can you tell us any secrets about some of the stars in the film?
Oliver: [laughs] I think Rupert’s [Rupert Grint who plays Ron Weasley] math skills are something to be desired, especially if you’re playing him at a sport. We play a lot of golf and table tennis, and it’s amazing when you finish playing a hole of golf. “It was six Rupe.” And he’ll say, “No it was a four. It was a four!” And he’ll start inventing new rules like, “Oh I’m allowed to throw off the tee on every nine holes,” or something.
James: Alan Rickman [who plays Severus Snape] his deep voice and everything and the kind of character he plays, you’re quite intimidated. But he’s such an outgoing and funny guy!
Q: Which movie was your favorite to work on?
James: I’d have to say Goblet of Fire. Oliver and I were always the oldest out of the junior cast, but at that time there were guys our age there. It just so happens Rob Pattinson was in it, who has now gone on to do Twilight (rated PG-13).
[Ratha: From Cedric Diggory to Edward – not a bad move!]
Oliver: I didn’t realize how big Rob was until we came to America and I’d say eighty percent of the magazines on there have his face on the cover.
James: It’s quite surreal for us because Rob’s a mate we know from here.
Oliver: We can remember going through the pub in London with him, and no one would say a word to us!
[Ratha: Wow – these talented British actors hang together – how cool! I know she's not British, but I wonder if Kristin Stewart and Emma Watson would ever hang out?]
Q: Would you like to keep acting?
Oliver: I’d like to yeah. I’d like to definitely give it a go for a while any way. We kind of learned from a who’s-who of British TV and film.
James: As Robbie Coltrane said to us on the first movie, “This is like having a Rolls Royce for your first car.” So you’re never gonna get better than this.
Well I’m not sure about that. I think James and Oliver would be fab in their own movie someday. Or maybe they could have a Weasley Brothers spin-off. Could be a twisted comedy. Hmm. . .
Hope you enjoyed the interview! Let us know in the Comments. Bye for now!
— Ratha, Stacks Writer
Interview by Marie Morreale.
Photos Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures.