It wasn’t quite an actual trip to Hogwarts, but it was an enchanting evening nonetheless for 50 or so lucky Harry Potter fans last night in NYC, who got to go to a special screening of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows — Part 2 in 3-D, which was followed by an occurrence rarer than finding a horcrux: A 30-minute Q&A (moderated by EW’s own Jess Cagle!) with Daniel Radcliffe, director David Yates, and producer David Heyman — and yes, the Potterphile in me was totally freaking out.
After the movie screening — which was awesome, but you knew that already — the anticipation for Radcliffe and Co., was building and, in one of the most surreal moments I’ve ever experienced, as soon as the epilogue ended and the credits rolled, the lights came up and walking down beside me onto the stage was Harry Potter himself. Seeing “Harry Potter” immediately after seeing Harry Potter was jolting. Try telling me all this magic stuff is not real now, friends haters.
The wide-ranging Q&A focused mostly on the overall Potter experience, with the three of them sharing their favorite memories, funniest stories, and most challenging situations. And speaking of challenges, Yates dove right in, discussing the controversial epilogue of the film. The aging scene divided fans when the book was released in 2007, and the movie certainly hasn’t put an end to the debate. Yates claims he knew what they were getting in for when they filmed it. “It’s just so anticipated,” he said. “We fretted about the makeup, and we may have overcompensated.”
The original epilogue they filmed was cut — in the first version, the look just wasn’t a good fit. Heyman explained, “Rupert [Grint] looked 65,” and Radcliffe chimed in, “And 150 pounds heavier!” The original was shot at the actual King’s Cross station, but the reshoot (which is the cut in the film) was done at their home base studio — with a little less makeup.
Also interesting was their discussion about the relationship between the “fiercely intelligent,” according to Radcliffe, J.K. Rowling and the filmmakers. Heyman reminded everyone that Rowling’s knowledge of the universe was “infinite,” but said she was always very cognizant of the fact that the books were a different entity than the movies. He shared that Rowling made just two suggestions over the course of filming that they might want to change something: 1) As has been widely reported, Kreacher was originally cut from the fifth movie before Rowling suggested keeping him in, and 2) In the first movie, she thought the original wands were too elaborate, so they were scrapped and made simpler.
An audience member asked about what the funniest moment on set was, and Radcliffe deadpanned, “What’s the funniest thing that’s happened to me in the past 10 years?” One moment, though, that stood out to him was his “Henry V” speech to Dumbledore’s Army in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. He shared that he would wear shoes with blue covers on them so not to mark up the floor. During one take, while delivering the big rousing speech, Radcliffe looked down and realized he had put his shoes on the wrong feet. “Patton would not have done well if his shoes were on the wrong feet,” he laughed.
When it came time to talk about worst moments on set, Radcliffe was quick to respond “Quidditch,” explaining that riding a broom is much more painful than it looks. In terms of best, he shared, “It’s impossible to pick. This is my life. I see a scene, it’s a moment from my life. I had a blast on these films.”
The best part of the chat for the audience? To the surprise of no one who’s checked out any of his interviews over the years, Radcliffe brought the charming awkwardness that’s endeared him to so many, laughing constantly throughout the chat. He also got genuinely personal: “The day we finished [filming], I cried and cried,” Radcliffe said. “In that moment, when the thing you’ve been doing for 10 years ends; I just thought, ‘What am I going to do now?’ … I had a moment the other day where I was feeling very nostalgic for it.”
Nostalgic for Harry Potter? He’s more like us than we realized.