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Feature: Harry Potter

Somebody nasty whose name we shouldn't mention

As Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix hits DVD, stars Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint tell us why the fifth Potter is the darkest yet

If there was one album that could be Harry’s soundtrack during this movie, I think it would be OK Computer by Radiohead,” says Daniel Radcliffe, “which I think tells you all you need to know about the character.” Harry Potter, like the actor who played him, has come a long way from the bowler haired moppet who first whipped up some movie magic in 2001’s Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. Five films in and Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, like the book on which it’s based, is a far darker and more complex affair with Radcliffe and his co-stars getting to let loose some pent-up teen Angst.

“I don’t think you realize when you’re growing up,” he says when asked how maturing in front of movie audiences has affected him. “I think it’s just one of those things that sort of just happens to you, like when somebody shows you a photograph of yourself when you were 10 and you recoil in horror.” Emma Watson, who plays the feisty Hermione Granger concurs: “Everyone always asks this question. I’ve never grown up any other way so I don’t know. That’s the way it’s always been so I can’t remember what life was like before.”

In Order of the Phoenix, life for Harry Potter is anything but routine. Having come face to face with his noseless nemesis Lord Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes) in the previous film, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, the fledgling wizard, along with recently outed Hogwarts headmaster Albus Dumbledore (Michael Gambon), tries to warn the magical fraternity that ‘He who must not be named’ is back. When the Ministry of Magic discredits and demotes Dumbledore for his beliefs and appoints the rather useless Dolores Umbridge (Imelda Staunton) as the new Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher, it’s up to Harry to whip his classmates into a fighting force capable of fending off Voldemort.

For Radcliffe, commanding ‘Dumbledore’s Army’ gave him the chance to add new, more meaty dimensions to his role. “I loved doing all that stuff,” he enthuses, “because David kept referring to Dumbledore’s Army as being like the French Resistance which was a metaphor that really appealed to me and also, Harry as a leader and a teacher was able to show off his wizarding skills.” Radcliffe wasn’t the only one getting the chance to cut loose with both Rupert Grint who plays red-headed hero Ron Weasley and Watson unleashing their conjuring skills. “In the last one Ron was a bit of a wimp and sort of stayed away from the action side,” says the affable Grint. “This time it was quite cool that he got to be a bit tougher and got to fight.” “It felt really nice to kind of be back in the action again,” agrees Watson. “We had a couple of stunts to do, a couple of harnesses and that sort of thing which was really fun. All the different spells had different choreographed specific movements that went with them. I think this is the first one where you get to really see the craft behind the magic.”

by Jim Reynolds

Read the full interview in
Ultimate DVD #87

Photo © Warner Bros
Feature © Visual Imagination 2007. Not for reproduction

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Ultimate DVD #87
Film Yearbook 2008
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