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Feature: Harry Potter 5
Harry's Army Needs You…
The wait is over and the war has begun, as stars of Daniel Radcliffe, Katie Leung and Matthew Lewis tell us…
After spending almost half his life as Harry Potter, Daniel Radcliffe’s become accustomed to dealing with the press. As we meet him on set during the shooting of fifth movie The Order of the Phoenix, he enters without prompting into a crisp briefing on its storyline for the benefit of anyone who hasn’t read the book – is such a thing possible?
“I get back to school, and Professor Umbridge has taken over,” he says, introducing the movie’s addition to the ever changing roster of ill-fated individuals who’ve tried to train Harry in Defense Against the Dark Arts, “and from the beginning there is this sense of looming danger, and a sense that very, very soon the magical world is going to be at war.
“So the Ministry is interfering with Hogwarts. Umbridge is, for a lot of the film, the main focus of Harry’s hatred, someone who torments him with this mad detention thing which we’ve filmed already and it’s great. I haven’t actually got it on now but there’s a big hand scar that is on for the last third of the film, and then…” he pauses, “and then there’s Dumbledore’s Army.
“I form Dumbledore’s Army because we don’t feel we’re learning anything about Defense Against the Dark Arts from Umbridge because it’s all theory; we’re not allowed to do spells. The Ministry is so convinced that Dumbledore is building up an army that it needs to weaken all the students by not teaching them properly, and that’s what Umbridge is doing. Harry sets up Dumbledore’s Army to teach his classmates and prepare them for this war that he does feel is coming."
Cho Chang may have been already attached, to Cedric Diggory, but Harry soon had eyes for no other, and then tragedy left the field clear for him. But first love rarely runs true, and in The Order of the Phoenix his budding relationship with Cho fizzles and dies…
“The relationship between Cho and Harry,” muses Katie Leung, the 19-year-old Scot who’s played her since the fourth film. “After this film there’s not really much going on, because there’s a lot of focus on the six guys who go to the Ministry, but it kind of deteriorates after the kiss, because, as most people know, Cho is the snitch! She tells Umbrage about the Room of Requirement. It wasn’t her fault, but Harry doesn’t know that.” That’s a slight change to the book, where Cho merely defends the real snitch, Marietta, but as Leung says, Harry and Cho’s relationship was always ill-omened. “It was ill-fated to begin with because of Cedric and all that jazz!”
In The Order of the Phoenix Neville Longbottom steps out of the shadows, becoming one of Harry’s first recruits to Dumbledore’s Army, before joining him in the final daring assault on the Ministry of Magic.
“It’s really strange having played the same character for nearly six years now,” comments Matthew Lewis, the actor who’s waited five movies for his moment in the limelight as Neville. “It’s very strange having to lead these two very separate lives. It’s not like when I’ve done some TV things; you’ve been there for days and then you go back home, it’s very strange doing it for a long period of time, but I’ve got very used to the character now, so when I go back to London it’s very easy to slip back into his character and think how he would react to certain situations, and the directors we’ve had so far have been very, very helpful in doing that as well, and getting me into the right focus and frame of mind.
“I think what that has taught me to do is to be able to really get into the depth of a character a lot more, instead of just saying the lines as they’re written down on the page, it’s helped me to realize that you have to do a lot more than that. You need to go and find out the background of the character, you need to go and find out a lot more and find out what effects them in a deeper sense. I think that definitely shows in this new fifth one, David Yates is very keen on doing all that and looking back into the background of the characters rather than just the words written down on the page.”
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