Interviews

Daniel Radcliffe & Rupert Grint

Interviews

Moviehole sat down with Daniel Radcliffe and Rupert Grint on the set of ”Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1”. We interview them separately as Rupert has kindly swung by on his day off whilst Daniel is on set for ”The Deathly Hallows – Part 2”, and will be popping in when he’s finished a scene.

We ask Rupert how this film differs from previous installments. “It feels like a very different film as we’re out of the safety of Hogwarts. Specifically for Ron, he has quite a hard time in this first part, because his leaves home as well as Hogwarts, so he’s worried about his family and he has doubts whether Harry really is The Chosen One; if he can really pull this off. So he has a lot of paranoia.” One of the things that will make this seem like a unique entry in the story is that much of the film takes place outside, in forests, on beaches and in the muggle world that Voldemort and his forces increasingly threaten. “Yeah, its always good for me when I get a bit of location, otherwise most of it is done here {at Leavesden Studios}, its nice to get out. We did some scenes in Piccadilly {Circus, London’s equivalent of Times Square}, and they closed off the whole road – that was quite amazing”.

It’s not all darkness for our trio of young heroes however, as evil closes in it gives ample reason for Ron to find comfort in Hermione Granger. “That really takes a whole new level in this one. I don’t know why but I never really saw this coming!” He says with a laugh at his own naivety , “I suppose its always been there kind of quite subtlety, and in this one, by the end we’re a proper couple really. In the beginning he’s quite paranoid, he thinks Harry and Hermione, there’s something going on there. There’s a lot more going on for Ron in those scenes.” As he’s brought up Hermione (and by extension actress Emma Watson who can’t be with us today as she is studying at University), we ask if he has any plans to continue his education. “No plans really at the moment” he laughs, his attitude to all things academic turning very ‘Ron’ for a moment, “I stopped studying when I was 16, I just made the decision to pursue this {acting – he has 4 film coming out in 2010/2011, two ‘Potter’s and two ‘non Potter’}. I guess I can always do some sort of course, but we’ll see.”

Although I try and avoid any questions about their private lives, a couple of other cast members have mentioned that they sometimes get together to play cricket and socialize at each others houses, so I figure that their relationships with each other off set can take some gentle probing. “We’ve got a really good relationship, with all the cast really.” he says with fondness, ” We’ve been through all this together and its been quite an intimate few years really, because its every day, all day and you do get to know each other really well. Its a really good atmosphere, and that goes with the crew as well as a lot of them have been here since day one, before us really.”

As he needs to leave us I ask him if there were any new challenges that this film brought, considering he’s been playing Ron for the best part of 10 years. “I had to push myself a lot more in this one because the character is much more complicated, there’s a lot more dimensions to him. A lot more stunts…a lot of running, which I’m not really that used to, but yeah, its been fun, I’ve really enjoyed it”.

With that he’s out the door, and soon replaced by Daniel Radcliffe, who’s run over from shooting a scene from Part 2 and clearly loving his work.

Anxious readers may be concerned from what Rupert has said, that Part 1 of the film might be unusually quiet and foreboding, so we spoke to Daniel about these concerns. “The thing about this film is that it is dark and it is tough.” he admits, but points out the support the characters offer each other, “What’s wonderful is that you have these three best friends and no matter how abject and appalling the situation is, they will help each other through it, part of the time through laughter. I can’t think of specific funny scenes in this film, because for the last six months we’ve been filming really hard, depressing dark ones, and lots of fighting and death scenes. But i’m sure there are some, I promise. I’ll put some in, and if they’re not there already I’ll get them to write some!”

He remarks that although Harry Potter has changed his life in many amazing ways, and given him wonderful opportunities, he is hard pressed to find many negative intrusions. “…the occasional kind of frenzy of press interest about twice a year, and then other than that I am genuinely left quite alone, which is very nice. Yeah, you get people coming up to you on the street and all that but that’s fine, thats nice, they’re always very polite. Its not really an issue. I mean there are obviously inappropriate moments where they come up and you’re having dinner with a girlfriend or whatever, and that’s odd or it can be, or… if you’re having a row in public with your girlfriend and then they come up to you – thats even worse! But no, generally speaking it hasn’t had too big an effect on my private life, which I’m very grateful for”.

Being a bit of a film and music buff, he’s also thankful that the franchise has attracted a who’s who of British acting talent. One actor seems to have made a lasting impression on him. “All the stuff in the 5th film with Sirius…was great because that was probably the biggest lesson I’ve ever learnt as an actor, and having someone like Gary Oldman around helps because he is completely fearless. He taught me a lesson in losing your inhibitions and doing it and not actually analyzing it too much and trying to keep self doubt and self criticism out of it until you’ve actually finished. His body of work is one of the most wide ranging, varied…I think he can do anything.” Sensing an appreciation that runs beyond the years that he’s been in the industry, and hoping to get an idea of how he wants his career to progress I ask him to name some other people whose work he follows. His answer takes me by surprise. He turns his head around and names people within sight and how long they have been in the industry, be they grips, cameramen or lighting technicians and highlights films from their resumés and people that they have worked with in the past. “To me, that is amazing. Just to learn from them and watch how they are on set, how they conduct themselves, and how they go about their day. Of course, they have the same failings as everybody else in the film industry does, they can be grumpy or anything BUT they bring to their jobs, and know what they’re doing and are wonderful to watch”. Its refreshing to see the lack of division in his eyes between cast and crew, especially from the star of the show. He calls out to someone about 50 feet away, who looks over his shoulder and waves back. “Will has been my dresser on Potter for 10 years and is my best friend. I look up to him as a person and as a professional because the attitude that he takes towards his job is meticulous. The job comes first and he’s wonderful, absolutely wonderful.” Daniel seems genuinely in awe of people who have worked in the industry for a long period of time, and maybe that mindset comes from being a child actor in a situation where the press focus with each film on how much he’s grown, and the never-ending speculation of what his career will be once released from the Harry Potter franchise. It also helps that the atmosphere at Leavesden has not only nurtured these young actors, but kept them out of mischief.

The kind of hijinks that do seem common across the years I’ve been on set are the good natured but deliberate planting of information by the actors to journalists, so they’ll wind up their friends and co-workers in interviews later. I decide to try and make Daniel squirm a little by asking about the rumours that he’d been seen on set walking around in a dress. “It wasnt a dress!” He protests, “It was girls clothes and a bra! When Fleur takes the polyjuice potion to look like Harry she’s wearing her own clothes, so when she transforms into me, it’s me in her clothes.” His voice lowers to a whisper “And I just thought I looked GREAT! It was these skinny jeans, and sort of this white shirt and this little blue jacket number with a little button detail which was really cool. I thought I looked like something from ‘Spiders From Mars’ or something… was thrilled!”

The Polyjuice potion was first introduced in the 2nd film ”The Chamber of Secrets” and allows the drinker to assume the appearance of someone else. In this film it is used extensively, and gave reason for the actors to really study how each other, how they act, move and talk. Daniel explained the process for the thrilling escape from Little Whinging (the Dursley’s home village) by the Order of the Phoenix that takes place at the beginning of the film, that called for Daniel to play seven people all pretending to be Harry Potter. “We filmed all the scenes with them, so we filmed the other guys doing all the lines, and then I did my best to mimic. You’ll notice that my impressions are such that you either don’t know who I’m supposed to be, or I’m kind of ramming the impression down your throat. There’s either no detail, or no subtlety.”

Taking a guess (incorrectly) at who might have dropped the ‘Daniel in a dress’ comment, as he leaves us he fires a volley back over the net with “Rupert is really hard to do, because there is alot of stuff about him that you don’t realize, like have you ever realized what a wiggle Rupert walks with? He really really shakes his hips when he walks!”

Moviehole looks forward to bringing this to Rupert’s attention when we reconvene for the conclusion to the Harry Potter story next year. ”Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1”, which concentrates on the desperate attempt to track down the horcruexes and destroy them, will test our heroes relationships to the breaking point and ultimately change them forever. This film opens this weekend in cinemas worldwide.

– James Kennett

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