Earlier this month, much of the cast of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows — Part 1 gathered at the SoHo Apple Store in New York City to commemorate the opening of Harry Potter: The Exhibition in Times Square. (Click here to read Mandi Bierly’s on the scene report from that show.) Moderated by EW senior editor Thom Geier, the panel — featuring Michael Gambon (Dumbledore), Bonnie Wright (Ginny Weasley), Robbie Coltrane (Hagrid), David Thewlis (Remus Lupin), Helen McCrory (Narcissa Malfoy), James Phelps (Fred Weasley), Oliver Phelps (George Weasley), Warwick Davis (Prof. Flitwick and Griphook), Evanna Lynch (Luna Lovegood), Natalia Tena (Tonks), Freddie Stroma (Cormac McLaggen), and producers David Heyman and David Barron — is finally available for all as an iTunes video podcast this week, just in time for the DVD and Bluray release of the film today. But just in case you don’t quite have a chance to download the panel right away, here are some highlights from the all-too-brief 30 minute event:
• While J.K. Rowling eventually revealed that Albus Dumbledore was gay, director Alfonso Cuarón apparently had a similar notion for the werewolf-y Remus Lupin (David Thewlis) in The Prisoner of Azkaban. Explains Thewlis: “Alfonso Cuarón, in the rehearsals, without J.K. Rowling’s knowledge, told me that [my character] was, in fact, gay. So I’d been playing a part like a gay man for quite a long time. Until it turned out that I indeed got married to Tonks. I changed my whole performance after that. Just saw it as a phase he went through.”
• David Heyman explained that, after the producers made the decision to split Deathly Hallows into two films, screenwriter Steve Kloves thought there may be enough material in for three films. “But,” said Heyman with a wry smile, “I think that may be pushing it a little bit far.”
• The biggest change over the years was obviously how much the child actors have physically grown, but there were other changes too. “Dan was interested in World Wide Wrestling Federation to begin with,” said Heyman. “Now he’s interested in …” Robbie Coltrane jumped in: “Women.” Everyone agreed.
• When Michael Gambon signed on to replace the late Richard Harris as Albus Dumbledore in The Prisoner of Azkaban, he adopted a light Irish accent to match Harris’ inflections. But Gambon didn’t adopt every choice Harris made. “My first action when I got on the set was to go up a flight of stairs to a picture on the wall, and so I ran up the stairs,” Gambon explained. “And the costume department [said to me], ‘You shouldn’t be doing that, because Richard wouldn’t run up the stairs.’ So I ran faster.”
Finally, each of the panelists revealed one of their favorite scenes from the entire series:
Gambon: Standing on the dais in the Great Hall doing a long speech, “which I never quite knew, so they put it on big boards at the end of the hall so I could read it.”
Heyman: Harry flying the Hippogriff over the lake in Prisoner of Azkaban, and Harry and Hermione dancing in Deathly Hallows — Part 1.
David Barron, producer: The scene in The Sorcerer’s Stone, when the Dursley’s house is inundated with letters inviting Harry to Hogwarts.
Coltrane: Wee baby dragon Norbert setting fire to Hagrid’s beard.
Warwick Davis: The Yule Ball in Goblet of Fire. “There were huge speakers under the stage, and literally the Great Hall was vibrating with the sound. And I got to stage dive — I only suggested that as a joke to [director] Mike Newell. Monday, he came back and said, ‘You know what you said on Friday? We’re going to do that.'”
Thewlis: When the films “become funny … against all the darkness,” like the opening scene of Prisoner of Azkaban “when the wicked aunt is inflated.”
Natalia Tena: Flying on bloomsticks. “You’re in this massive green room, really high up, on this movable [broom], and there’s these two sexy, strong guys blowing wind at you. It’s like you’re on a Harley or something.”
Oliver Phelps: Breaking director Mike Newell’s rib fighting on Goblet of Fire. “We were having a fight, and Mike said, ‘Who wants to fight me?’ And like I fool I said, ‘Oh, I will.'”
James Phelps: The Weasley’s joke shop in The Half-Blood Prince. “The detail that went into all the props was fantastic. I really just wanted to show everyone everything that was there.”
Evanna Lynch: The wedding scene in Deathly Hallows — Part 1. “You see in the background all these wizards, dancing. I don’t know, I’ve never been to a wizard wedding, but it was pretty cool.”
Freddie Stroma: While playing Quidditch in The Half-Blood Prince, he accidentally hit a costume designer on the head with a quaffle.
The final two come from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows — Part 2, so if you want to remain SPOILER free, stop reading now. Seriously, some BIG SPOILERS FOLLOW:
Bonnie Wright: The epilogue in Deathly Hallows — Part 2, “in which we jump forward in time. It was such a bizarre feeling. It was a complete cycle of a generation, because the young girl who was playing [Ginny’s daughter] Lily Potter was 10, and it was her first ever experience on a film set, and I was her age when I started in exactly the same set, on Platform 9 and 3/4.”
Helen McCrory: What she has to say about it is so lovely and so damn tantalizing, I’m going to quote it in full: “Mine’s a cheat — I can’t really talk all about it, because you haven’t actually seen it yet. But the culmination of Harry looking at Voldemort, and all of us being present in that scene that we did with all those extras — they were really there, the place was on fire — it was extraordinary. The silence and the concentration at 10 o’clock on a cold, frosty morning, with that grey-blue light that we only have in rainy, rainy London town, and realizing that for one of those people, he had been waiting literally all his life to say those lines and finally stand up and to prove, in his character, that this character is a man fighting for what is good, was an extraordinary thing to witness. We filmed it in real time. It really happened, and it was a privilege to be there. It was electric.”
So what are your favorite scenes from the Potter movies, PopWatchers?