MuggleCast 235 Transcript
[“Hedwig’s Theme” plays]
Andrew: Because David Yates and Oliver Phelps still have a lot to say about Deathly Hallows – Part 2, this is MuggleCast Episode 235 for July 29th, 2011.
[Show music begins]
Andrew: This week’s episode of MuggleCast is brought to you by Hypable.com, a brand new entertainment website created by the staff of MuggleNet. Hypable is a MuggleNet for multiple fandoms: passionate, complete coverage for all the fandoms that we cover, now with over 40 fandoms including Glee, True Blood, Breaking Bad, The Hobbit, Doctor Who, Merlin, and many more. Visit Hypable.com for news coverage you can count on. That’s Hypable.com, H-Y-P-A-B-L-E dot com.
[Show music continues]
Andrew: Welcome to MuggleCast Episode 235! This is a special edition, it’s not your normal episode, because we have two great interviews to present you with this week. Micah, tell us who you interviewed. You have been busy at your news desk, or real actual desk, speaking with people. Who are they?
Micah: Yeah, it was – got the opportunity to interview director David Yates back in New York City during the US premiere of Deathly Hallows – Part 2, and that was a literal sitting across a desk from the director, so it was a little bit nerve-wracking, I’m not going to lie, because obviously in the past, I may have been critical of some of the films that he’s done and so there he is sitting right in front of me.
Micah: It was…
Andrew: Well, luckily, he probably has not heard you criticize him before, so…
Micah: Yeah, I don’t – I wouldn’t say that he’s listened to the show, but it was a really good interview, I thought. He had a lot of cool things to say, and provided a little bit more insight into some of what went on behind the scenes of Part 2.
Eric: And even on the red carpet, too, he talked a little bit about that. That was really cool.
Andrew: And then – who’s the other person?
Micah: And then earlier this week, got a chance to talk with Oliver Phelps who plays George Weasley, one half of the Weasley twins in the Potter films.
Andrew: Awesome. So, we’re going to get to those in a second, but first we’re going to go through a couple of news stories throughout the show just to get everybody up to date. And then later, in a few more days, we’re going to have a new, more regular episode of the show, where we talk more about Deathly Hallows – Part 2. We’re going to get Richard on. Everybody remembers his Part 1 thoughts were not so positive.
Andrew: But I think he’s feeling better about Part 2, so he’s going to be on for that. And then also, we’ll be talking about Pottermore because the Beta is going to be opening up, and there’s obviously going to be a lot of new information that’s going to be worth discussing about Pottermore and the new information that JK Rowling released within Pottermore. So…
Micah: Now, what do you think the chances are that all three of us get access to Pottermore?
Andrew: I’d say that won’t be difficult.
Eric: Well… [laughs]
Andrew: Sorry to make your question less interesting, [laughs] but I think it’s going to be easy.
Eric: Do you think they blacklist our e-mails, like if it’s “at staff dot MuggleNet” they’ll just set it aside?
Andrew: I think we’re going to be able to jump the Beta-invite line, but that’s not for certain yet, so…
Eric: Oh, okay.
Andrew: And plus, we’ll know exactly when and how to get through ó to get in, you know what I’m saying?
Andrew: So, I don’t think we’ll have any problem, nor will MuggleNet visitors, so – that’s just my guess, though. [laughs]
Eric: Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah. Just – yeah. [laughs]
Micah: If you were a betting man.
Andrew: Yeah, but this is not on any factual information, [laughs] so – anyway, what’s in the news, Micah?
News: Deathly Hallows – Part 2 Box Office Numbers
Micah: Well, we have some box office numbers to talk about for Deathly Hallows – Part 2. It started off really strong, which I think most people anticipated. A little bit of a drop off this past weekend, but it set the midnight record with $43.5 million here in the United States. It set the opening day record with $92.1 million, and it set an opening weekend record with $168 million. And it was the fastest movie ever to half a billion dollars. It currently stands at $833 million after just over – what, about ten days in theaters, I would say?
Eric: $833 million.
Micah: So, it will…
Micah: …inevitably pass the $1 billion mark, it’s just a question of where it’s going to end up. Top five all time may be a little bit too much to ask for. What do you guys think?
Eric: Is it?
Andrew: I think it’s still kind of early ñ too early to tell. But yeah, I mean, this is of no surprise to me. I mean, I expected many people would be coming out more so than other films to catch the last one just because it’s the last one of eight.
Andrew: After ten years.
Micah: Yeah, and now it’s actually up to $840 million, so little bit of an update there. But the other huge thing that we reported was that it passed Star Wars as the highest grossing film franchise of all time, and that’s notable, I think, when you look at the fact Star Wars has been re-released in theaters so many times. A lot of people were saying, “Well, Harry Potter had eight films and Star Wars only had six,” but Star Wars actually was re-released, and also they created the special editions. I know, Eric, you talked about them a little bit, that they released these, I guess, enhanced versions of the movie in the late 90’s.
Eric: Yeah, late 90’s. It was, I think, 1997 where they did those Star Wars special editions and it was the first – it was Episodes 4, 5, and 6 – A New Hope, Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi – in theaters, with some added content. It was mostly just a few touch-up scenes and things like Han Solo [laughs] shooting after he gets shot at, things like that that George Lucas re-released, but it was leading up for the excitement for Episode 1. But that was twenty years after the first film. So, Star Wars – the idea that this timeless age series since the 70’s and Harry Potter was able to just come in and surpass it. It’s really cool.
Andrew: Okay. Well, now let’s begin the interview with David Yates, conducted by Micah Tannenbaum.
Interview: David Yates
Micah: I guess I’ll start. There was kind of a special moment at the world premiere…
David Yates: Yep.
Micah: …between Dan, Emma, Rupert, JK Rowling, you, David Heyman, David Barron, and Steve Kloves, and you were thanking each other in a very emotional manner. Did you expect that at all, or was it kind of out of the blue?
David: We didn’t quite expect it. It was inevitable, though, after working on these films for such a long time. You realize when you’re up there on that stage that that’s the last time collectively you’re together to celebrate all these movies and the books and everything. So, it just spontaneously happened that we were there, and we could look in each other’s eyes and say those things. I’ve never seen Rupert hold eye contact for that long.
David: He held eye contact with Jo Rowling, and that was really moving and really tender, but it wasn’t planned. We didn’t say, “Hey, when we get up there, we’ve got to say this and that and that.”
David: It just all spilled out.
Micah: And what was it like, I guess, first arriving at Trafalgar Square, sort of the atmosphere that was there?
David: It was electric. You’ve got twenty – I found out yesterday that there were twenty-five thousand fans there, apparently, and they’re in Leicester Square. And so – and only Harry Potter, I think, could get that kind of space in central London, to kind of close everything. And it was electric, it was exciting, it was moving, because as you go along the line of fans, they’re from Sweden, Argentina, Chile, Japan, and they’re there because they love the material, they love the world. And it was – yeah, exciting and moving, I would say.
Micah: Now, as far as the movie goes, there were a couple of noted changes…
Micah: …I think fans…
Micah: …were talking about a lot. One of them was sort of this epic battle that’s taking place…
Micah: …between Harry and Voldemort…
Micah: …and it’s – everybody knows from the book it happened in the Great Hall.
Micah: But in this movie – and I saw it the other day – it’s this great battle that sort of takes place throughout Hogwarts. What was the – yeah, I guess the idea behind the change?
David: I wanted that final confrontation between the two of them to be a little bit more expansive, and so that you had a greater sense of climax, given that we had spent so long with those characters, and their animosity and their hatred for each other. So, it felt to me as though it would feel much more personal and dynamic if they were to head off away from the rest of everybody and continue fighting. So, that was the idea behind it. We had an earlier version of it, which finished in a similar way to the book, and it worked really well in the book, but in a movie, I think we needed a more kinetic conclusion.
Micah: Yeah, it’s quite a short scene, actually, in the book.
David: It is quite short. And I love the notion of them – I love the notion of Harry pulling Voldemort off this precipice…
David: …and them sort of morphing together…
David: …as though they were one. For me, it kind of captured so much of their odd relationship together, that they’re kind of one, but they’re not one, in a weird kind of way. And so it was mainly to make sure that the movie felt like it had a theatrical enough ending to satisfy all the fans of the books and all the fans of the movies.
Micah: And then the other was Snape’s death?
David: Yeah, and that was – two reasons we changed the location is, one, I felt the boathouse would be a more atmospheric place with the lapping of the water, and you could see the reflection of the school on fire in the water, so it would be more haunting as a space. But also, much more practically, the only way to get to the Shrieking Shack, based on Stuart’s design, was to get across the wooden bridge and we had blown the bloody wooden bridge up…
David: …so physically getting there became a bit of a number in terms of screen geography. So, it was much easier to get down to the water, and it felt like a more atmospheric place to finish and kill Snape.
Micah: Yeah. It was a great scene.
David: Yeah, cool.
Micah: Yeah, very cool.
David: Yeah. No, I’m glad. That’s good.
Micah: And I mean, talking about those two things in particular, how important is it, do you think, for the fans to kind of differentiate between the books and the movies, and kind of realize that not every word that JK Rowling writes can sort of end up on the screen?
David: Well, I know the fans feel very strongly about all sorts of things, but if they were just a little bit more like Jo Rowling, who’s just a – completely understands the difficulty of adaptation, how hard it is…
David: …to sort of get all that wonderful stuff that she’s created into a two and a half hour frame. It’s really challenging, and I think that some of them are great, the fans, in terms of the fact that they understand and appreciate that it’s two different experiences, in a way. And some of them, obviously, still feel frustrated at some of the things we take out. I get frustrated at some of the things we take out, too, because we’re all fans of the material.
David: The original books, but you have to make choices sometimes to make sure that what we end up in the theater ultimately works on its own terms.
Micah: Sure. Now, were there any additions or removals, changes that JK Rowling had for specifically Part 1 and 2? Anything that came to mind?
David: Generally, she was just very supportive and brilliant. She was really helpful with the Aberforth scene in Part 2. But generally, she was very kind and supportive, and off the top of my head, there wasn’t anything she had a real problem with, or challenged, and she was always there on the end of the phone if we needed her help, basically. She’s the best collaborator you could ever want, honestly, for this. David Heyman was just saying that when he first sat with her and they were talking about the adaptations, she said even ten years ago, “I know the films can’t be the same as the books word-for-word. I completely get that.” And she stayed true to her word, whereas some authors, I think, could be potentially more territorial about it all.
David: But Jo is kind of wiser than that, in a way, and generally, she really enjoys the movies.
Micah: Mhm. Was there – can you talk a little bit about working with Desplat…
Micah: …for Parts 1 and 2?
Micah: How they are different from, I guess, Order of the Phoenix and Half-Blood Prince?
David: Yeah. Nick Hooper was the composer on Order of the Phoenix and Half-Blood Prince, and he’s a good mate. And I’ve worked with him many times, and he’s composed all the earlier work I did. And Nick got very tired, basically, after Half-Blood Prince, because it’s exhausting. The pressure is enormous, delivering one of these scores and delivering one of these films, and he bailed out. And I really liked Alexandre’s music, I thought it was terrific. And he’s French, he’s funny, he’s incredibly collaborative, he’s joyful, he has a wonderful team around him, music editors – and we worked with the same mixer, a chap called Peter Cobbin, Abbey Road, and Peter is a genius, basically. So, doing the music for these movies with Alexandre was probably one of the most enjoyable parts of the whole process of making the movie. And what we would do is Alexandre would compose a piece for a scene, I would go in, sometimes with a David, sometimes not, because they weren’t there all the time, and I would give notes to Alexandre about what was working and what wasn’t working. Some pieces of music didn’t require notes. Some pieces of music we needed quite a bit and changed a bit. And we left some time at the end of the schedule to come back, once we had seen all the music together, and re-recorded some bits and pieces if we wanted them. So, it was really fun and he’s a great composer. And I think for Hallows: Part 2 he’s made a really muscular, moving, exciting score, and it’s my favorite score, probably of the four films.
Micah: Yeah. I mean, just when it opens up with – you see Snape sort of in the window there…
Micah: …staring out. It’s kind of very dark feeling.
David: Yeah, I always wanted a really haunting feeling, too.
David: And so we always wanted a vocal and we heard all these singers, and the one we liked most was this Japanese lady called Mai, so we flew her over from Japan because she’s really clever and we recorded that vocal with her.
David: Yeah. Clever lady. Lovely lady. Tiny.
David: Tiny lady, but wonderful, haunting voice because you listen to it and you go, “That sounds like a mother,” you know?
Micah: Now, if you could take us back to the beginning when you found out you were going to be directing Order of the Phoenix…
Micah: …had you seen any of the previous movies or read the books prior to the job?
David: I had seen three of the previous movies but I hadn’t read any of the books, so I read – I quickly got the first two books, which I loved, obviously, and it was those first two books that really got me into it. And then I went on to the fifth book which they were asking me to do, and there’s something – it’s difficult not to fall in love with the world, it’s difficult not to fall in love with those characters, basically. And – but I was kind of a Potter virgin, if you like…
David: …because I had never read any of the books. I had seen the movies and I had enjoyed Chris’s films and I thought Alfonso’s film was really clever, but I wasn’t really wrapped up in the universe like everybody else.
Micah: And what was the first day like, I guess, at Leavesden?
David: It was intense and exciting. Actually, it was really exciting…
David: …because you would turn up and there’s this beautiful set that we’ve built, and Grawp – this bloke wearing a green suit with a big stick. And it was just really – I don’t know. I stood there on that very first day, thinking, “Crikey, this is my first big Hollywood movie.” It was a real – I felt very honored and very privileged to start that journey, and it was quite – a little bit scary, but you got used to it very quickly.
Micah: Now, if you had a chance to add one more scene into the films, what do you think it would be? I mean, if it was something that was, let’s say, even in the books that didn’t make it in.
David: Looking back?
Micah: Or something maybe that was in one of the deleted scenes.
David: There have been deleted scenes all along the way that I wish we could have kept in the movie. There’s a lovely scene at Hallows: Part 1 where Harry says goodbye to his cousin at the Dursley house in Little Whinging, and Harry says goodbye and it’s a really moving scene which I absolutely loved in the book. And I shot it, and I loved the scene and I had it at the beginning of Hallows, and no matter how many times we tried we couldn’t quite make it work in the structure of the opening that we had. And I think it’s on the DVD now, so…
David: Yeah, and it’s a really sweet scene, and it’s scenes like that I miss. In Hallows: Part 2 there’s a scene on the beach where Hermione comes up and says, “How do I look?” and they have a little exchange together. And again, rhythmically it didn’t quite flow in the way I wanted it to and so it kind of came out.
Micah: Okay. And then given the size of Books 5 and 6, seeing that you directed Order of the Phoenix…
Micah: …and Half-Blood Prince…
Micah: …was there ever any consideration to split those, or was it always, “We can get this in one movie”?
David: We always felt we could get it in one movie, and also the precedent hadn’t been set, so – but it was Hallows that we suddenly felt, “This would be good to try.”
Micah: Do you think, also, that that’s started to set a precedent for book adaptations being split into two? Because I think The Hobbit is now going to be in two parts, and several others.
David: That’s interesting. It might make it easier for some studios because they’ve got their head around it now. They might say, “Oh yeah, well, those guys did it so we should do it.” But I’m sure Peter Jackson made that decision based on the material and…
David: Rather than following anything. They probably thought it made sense to do that. But certainly the studio, Warner Bros., who are also making The Hobbit, probably thought, “Well, we’ve done it and it kind of works. We can do it again.” So, it probably makes the studio feel more comfortable, but I’m sure Peter Jackson did it for the right reasons.
Micah: Mhm. Now the last couple of questions I have are kind of really quick.
David: No problem.
Micah: Really quick questions.
Micah: What was your favorite book of the series?
David: My favorite book of the series, I would say, was Goblet of Fire. I think it’s a terrific story, and I like Deathly Hallows. I think it’s a really enjoyable – she almost – Jo wrote it almost like a movie. Actually, no, now you ask me that, I have to say probably it’s the first one because that’s the first experience I had of reading a Harry Potter, and the charm of it and the tone of it is difficult to beat, so I think I’d say the first book.
Micah: What about character?
David: I really love Lupin. I think Lupin is a really fun character.
Micah: Yeah. Creature?
David: Dobby, without question.
Micah: [laughs] What about – any favorite spell?
David: Favorite spell would be – I don’t know, I think Expelliarmus is always quite fun because you can disarm your enemies which is great. But of course, Expecto Patronum probably has to be the one because at every point you get – Expecto Patronum.
Micah: And speaking of that, what do you think your Patronus would be?
David: That’s a really good question. My Patronus would probably be – I hope it would be a really wonderful Chesapeake Bay Retriever.
Micah: All right.
David: It’s a really beautiful dog with a sort of – very quiet, quite gentle, much more elegant than I am, though. Doesn’t drink as much beer as I do.
Micah: [laughs] And if you could have one of the Deathly Hallows…
Micah: …what do you think it would be?
David: I would probably go for the Elder Wand…
David: …because it’s pretty cool.
Micah: Yeah. Even though he snaps it and throws it off a cliff…
Micah: …at the end of the movie.
David: I could get some glue. It will be fine.
Micah: [laughs] It will be fine? All right, the last question I have, what overall message do you want the fans to take away from your Potter films? What’s sort of the lasting legacy that you want to leave?
David: The things that are really important in Potter for me were the notion of loyalty and friendship, and the idea of faith, and sticking through difficult times and keeping faith. And the power of love, the fact that love is such a powerful force, and I think that’s key to much of her work. Voldemort doesn’t have love.
David: He leads by fear, and Harry has the love of his friends and that gets him through.
Micah: Okay. [laughs]
David: Yeah, cool. Yeah, pretty much…
Micah: Thank you very much.
David: Yeah, thank you so much.
Micah: Thank you also for everything that you’ve done…
David: Awww no, thank you, mate.
Micah: …on behalf of all of us at MuggleNet.
Micah: We really appreciate all the films and everything…
David: No problem.
Micah: …that you guys have done. We spoke with David Heyman I think months ago, or probably last year, June of last year…
Micah …and just – you guys care so much about taking that story…
David: We do.
Micah: …and putting it on screen.
David: Yeah, we do. There’s a lot of love, not just me and David but everyone who works on the movies.
Andrew: Micah, great job with the David Yates interview.
Micah: Thanks. I think he had a lot of interesting things to say, particularly with respect to the notable changes that fans were worried about and didn’t know how they were going to turn out, particularly the fight between Harry and Voldemort, and also Snape’s death scene being in the boathouse as opposed to the Shrieking Shack.
Eric: I like also when he talks about working with – on the scores, and bringing – he said he flew that lady in to do the vocals at the beginning of the film from Japan, and he just – so much care. I think that’s so evident in the films.
Micah: What was interesting was as we were walking out of the Warner Bros. offices in New York City, he turned and he asked me what I know about Pottermore.
[Eric and Micah laugh]
Micah: And I said, “I know about as much as you do.” So, it’s just interesting to see how involved all these cast and crew members are with the series as a whole.
Eric: [laughs] So, he asked you what you knew about Pottermore?
Eric: That’s funny.
News: A Celebration of the Harry Potter Films
Andrew: All right. Before we move on to the Oliver Phelps interview, first one other news story to talk about. Universal Orlando and Warner Bros. announced A Celebration of the Harry Potter Films. It will be taking place this November over three days, November 11th to the 13th, at Universal’s Islands of Adventure, home, of course, to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. And they’re calling this a pretty big special event. I will quote the press release. It says:
“Guests can celebrate their favorite memories and stories of ‘Harry Potter’ with filmmakers, cast members and fellow fans. While all theme park guests will be able to enjoy ‘The Wizarding World of Harry Potter’ during their visit, only a limited number of guests and those who buy special event packages will have access to exclusive benefits such as a spectacular evening gala in the theme park, autograph signings with the stars, Q&A sessions with filmmakers and cast members, and screenings of all eight ‘Harry Potter’ films.”
So, more information about this can be learned by visiting MuggleNet and you’ll see a link in the news there for A Celebration. They’re also selling vacation packages that are timed over this, and with the vacation package for extra money, you can get access to that special content – the special events that I just mentioned. So, cool idea. I’m not sure why this exists other than for them to send…
Andrew: …people back to the park.
Eric: Well, it’s exciting because they are finally doing something, right? I mean, this is the first event I think that’s held in part by the Wizarding World since the grand opening celebration…
Andrew: That’s true.
Eric: …that I recall, and I mean, they didn’t even really celebrate Christmas or Harry’s birthday or anything. I know I expected them to before this, but – so this is the first really exciting, Universal says we are going to have some fun in our own darn park.
Eric: I should have muted my phone.
Micah: It’s a bit expensive though, isn’t it?
Eric: Well, is it? Because the celebration package which starts at $369 per adult is for four night hotel accommodation at a Universal partner hotel, and I just wanted to say from when we stayed there during LeakyCon, I know rooms at Universal or in Florida can cost anywhere from $210 a night to up. It only ever goes up.
Andrew: Here’s the thing, the premiere package – well, first there is the celebration package, that comes with the hotel, the park ticket, the early admission, Q&A session, Blu-ray set of Harry Potter films, and a couple of other smaller things. For $300 extra, you get the admission to the nighttime gala event, reservation to one in-park cast member autograph session, and breakfast at the Three Broomsticks. So for an extra $3, you get the party in the park, an autographed autograph, and breakfast. That does not seem worth it to me.
Eric: Okay, so you’re saying that the jump between the celebration and the premier package is steep?
Andrew: Yeah, but what’s the point of going to this if you can’t even get into the nighttime gala, the party in the park? I think that’s going to be the best thing.
Eric: Well, is there more than one party in the park? Because I’m looking at…
Eric: Well, it says – on the edge, it says autograph sessions – but that says premier package only. But then it says Q&A sessions with cast members, and Q&A sessions with filmmakers and the creative team, and that is not specifically for just the premier package. So, it does seem like they will have some events for…
Eric: …just the celebration package, right? But not the nighttime party in the park event.
Andrew: Right, which in my opinion is the only reason really to go. I mean, I’m not – that’s the best reason to go. All right, so more information about that can be learned on MuggleNet and…
Andrew: …we’ll probably have reports from it if somebody’s there, so…
Micah: Yeah, I was going to say – I mean, I think the other side of it, too, is there is no airfare included, either.
Andrew: That’s important.
Andrew: And the cost of food, in general.
Micah: Right. Oh yeah.
Eric: Yeah, I think, though, the hotel really is more expensive. I think if people were to get flights right now, like now for November, it would be probably a lot more affordable, probably be cheaper, but I think it’s a great discount on hotels. It has to be.
Micah: Yeah, well, you know what? Actually…
Eric: Plus a park ticket, actually, a one-day park ticket. Now that I think about it, a one-day park ticket is at least $85 and a couple-day park ticket, as this is, would run $140, $150, on top of hotel and on top of – which just shows how much they gauge you normally, but I think this package thing is a cool idea.
Micah: I was just going to say, do you know who had some thoughts on the Wizarding World?
Micah: It’s a…
Andrew: Oliver Phelps must have!
Micah: There you go.
Andrew: Good flow!
Micah: There you go.
Andrew: Okay, now it’s time for Micah’s interview with Oliver Phelps.
MuggleCast 235 Transcript (continued)
Interview: Oliver Phelps
Micah: Okay, we’re now joined by Oliver Phelps who plays George Weasley in the Potter films. Hey Oliver, how are you doing?
Oliver Phelps: Yeah, awesome, thank you.
Micah: All right, I wanted to start off by asking you: If you could describe a little bit, what was it like arriving at Trafalgar Square a few weeks ago? Were you ready for that crowd?
Oliver: Kind of in a sense that we’d been told how big it was going to be. I knew that it was going to be a big thing because the map they showed us was an A to Z map which was like a big street map, really. But I think I was just blown away by the amount of people who were there. I think James and I were outside pushing the three hour mark, trying to meet everyone who had been waiting for hours and hours and days, even. So, it was pretty insane but really, really cool to be part of.
Micah: And no rain, right?
Oliver: Yeah, that was it. It was really weird because earlier in the day, James and I went out to an interview. We went to a magic shop down the road in London, not far from Trafalgar Square, and it was really coming down hard and we thought, “Okay, it’s going to be raining all day.” And yeah, thankfully someone was spying up on us upstairs, as it were, and it was really nice and sunny, which was brilliant.
Micah: Cool. Now, what’s it like looking back over the last ten or so years, and now knowing that there’s no next movie to go to? It seems like there was a pretty set structure that you guys had where it was moving on to the next film to the next film, but now, there’s no Movie 9 to go to.
Oliver: No, I think it’s one of those things where – I mean, I really – I accepted a long time ago that we were doing the last movie, as it were. But it was quite odd at the premiere, seeing a load of people for the last time, that we’re all going to be in the same room, say, for a while, I would have thought. But it was good fun and it’s kind of one of those things where – what next? But at the same time, what better way to end the series and not go on to a number nine, because…
Oliver: …the films are the biggest, it’s the biggest movie ever, and that’s pretty cool.
Micah: Now, what’s the experience been like going through it with your brother, always having somebody there who you’re going through this with?
Oliver: It’s been – I mean, it was all really new for a long time, that’s how we perceived the acting world to be, and to have James there with me was cool because – especially going in something when you’re not from an acting background at all, to have someone there who you know, who you get on with, was really good to be able to share that with him and obviously we related always in that to our family when we’re back home – is quite handy because one of the things – I forget something and they all jump in.
Micah: Yeah. Now, as far as Deathly Hallows – Part 2, it shattered a lot of records both here in the US and abroad. What are your thoughts on how well Part 2 is doing at the box office?
Oliver: Yeah, I think it’s awesome and when we are making the movies, obviously we don’t judge how many people are going to be going to see these things, but I think that that was – I mean, my Twitter page was going wild…
Oliver: …on it every night. [laughs] Some people can’t know how – I think – I mean, I’m not exaggerating, it was over a thousand messages within about three hours or so of it opening in the States and everything. It was just insane. But that’s so cool to say I’m part of history, as it were, I’m in now. It’s going to take a pretty big chasm of time I think. That top spot as you say, breaking all the records worldwide, it’s – yeah, it’s pretty mind-blowing, really, because as you say, you don’t know how many people are going to be watching these things until you see it’s all over the news.
Micah: Yeah, I think it actually – it just passed Star Wars as the highest grossing franchise of all time, so – I mean, that’s just…
Oliver: Yeah, that’s pretty – especially because Star Wars has got probably twenty, thirty years on…
Micah: [laughs] Yeah.
Oliver: [laughs] Yeah, it’s mind-blowing, really. I think when James and I became part of it is because we chanced and went for an open audition, what, eleven years ago now? And we kind of just went on a whim. So, I think if you were to tell me eleven years ago, “Oh and by the way, yeah, it will be bigger than Star Wars,” I’d probably laugh at you.
Micah: That’s a pretty good whim.
Oliver: Yeah, yeah, it was. I mean, it was – I mean, I’d read the first three books because the fourth one had just come out when we went to the audition, so I was familiar with the characters, as it were. But it was – yeah, it was kind of a – oh, you’re going to have to miss a day of school then. Oh no…
Oliver: …what can you do? So, [laughs] yeah. So, massive, massive – it took a back burner for today, so to speak, and yeah, it worked out to be in our favor.
Micah: Yeah, definitely. Can you talk about the shift that – I mean, you guys have always been sort of involved on the comedy side of the films and it got a lot more serious in this film, particularly for you guys and having to film Fred’s death. What was that like?
Oliver: Yeah, it was a huge shift as opposed to what we had done in any other film before that. I mean, even in Part 1 it gets quite serious because Fred and George do have quite a bit of banter with each other. But yeah, to portray the same characters in a totally different light was pretty interesting, and not many actors get to be able to do that. But it wasn’t a scene I’d like to do too often because it was quite – very emotional because the way David gets you to – like trying to get you to react is to relate it to a certain part in your life to bring it real, which I’m all for because you really get the real emotional side of it. But it was quite draining seeing my own brother laid out on the floor all pale and not moving. It was quite an emotional couple of – I think we only took about five takes because it was so…
Oliver: It was – yeah, it was quite weird because I thought at first it would be a closed set, which means that no one is on set except the director, the cameraman, and the people in the scene, and then I walked into the Great Hall and – you see in the film, the whole hall was just filled with people. So yeah, that was a bit odd because I’m not really a crying type of guy, and to do that in front of a couple of hundred people was different, to say the least. [laughs]
Micah: Yeah. No, I would imagine it’s a pretty difficult scene to be able to shoot. But I guess kind of flipping it around, what was your favorite part of Deathly Hallows – Part 2?
Oliver: My favorite – what do you mean, to film or to watch?
Micah: Ahhh, both.
Oliver: Both. Well, I think to film, it would be – there’s the scene when Voldemort comes into Hogwarts and when we were filming that, it was quite a chilly day – and I think it was just before Christmas, yeah, so it was quite crisp in the air, as it were. And yeah, we were just standing there and the performance, what Ralph Fiennes gives, is just the ultimate villain, and you see how evil this bloke is and it sent shivers down my spine just filming it, so to do that was such a cool scene. And to watch – I mean, I quite like the scene when Matt Lewis, Neville, gets to chop off Nagini’s head.
Oliver: It was quite a cool scene.
Micah: Yeah, it was really cool.
Oliver: I think Matt is going to be talking about that for years.
Micah: Did you see that in 3D where the head sort of flies off at you?
Oliver: Yeah, yeah, it was awesome. I mean, the first time I saw the film, we were in Madrid on the promotional circuit, as it were, and there was only eight of us in this screening room for it, and it was this high definition 3D projector thing. And yeah, and to see it in that I thought, “Wow, it adds a totally different dimension to the school as well, engage a good size and scope of the whole thing.”
Micah: Yeah. Now, have there been any scenes over the years involving the Weasley twins that you would have liked to make the films but they didn’t? And it can either be maybe something that was deleted or something that you read in the books that you thought was really cool.
Oliver: Yeah. I mean, there’s a few, obviously, we would’ve liked to have them in. I think the swamp scene in The Goblet of Fire would have been cool, but that was never even in the original script, so – obviously timing purposes, but something like that would have been cool. Or maybe to have Peeves throughout the series would have added to the Fred and George thing, but it worked quite well without that. And scenes we filmed that didn’t make it – I can’t really remember too much, to be honest with you. You actually forget the scenes, when you filmed them, and then those are not in the film.
Oliver: [laughs] I’m not too sure on that, to be honest.
Micah: No problem. What has the fondest memory been at Leavesden over the last ten years? I mean, I guess you have a decade’s worth of memories there.
Oliver: Yeah, you really do. There’s a lot of people who come and go as well throughout the whole thing. I mean, one of my fondest memories was the Yule Ball scene in The Goblet of Fire, walking onto that set, because there was so much going on. There was – although The Weird Sisters didn’t make the final cut because there was some – there was a band called The Weird Sisters or something and it all got a bit political, so unfortunately that didn’t actually make it, but it was like a proper concert. One day when they were filming and they didn’t tell us anything that was going to happen, so there was all these pyrotechnics going off in the background…
Oliver: …and it was so cool. And it was just before Christmas as well, so everybody was getting into the festive spirit, actually.
Micah: That’s cool. I have a couple of Twitter questions here, that people sent in, and the first one here is from Bethany McCoy. She wanted to know:
“How did you guys decide who was going to play Fred and who was going to play George?
Oliver: We didn’t have the decision, it was quite funny. When we got to the first read-through – basically all the cast sit down in a big room and read through the script so they can gauge timings on it and everything. And we got there, and we didn’t know who was going to be Fred and who was going to be George. So, Janet Hirshenson, who was the head casting director, was there and we said, “Do you know who’s playing who?” She said, “You’re kidding, right?” and I said, “No.” So, we had to trot off and go speak to Chris Columbus, David Heyman – and JK Rowling was sitting there, and she came up and said, “Ahh, James, you’re Fred. Oliver, you’re George.” So, we’d like to think that there was a lot of thought and…
Oliver: …real thinking about what was going to happen, [laughs] but it may have just been, “Oh yeah, you can be George.” So, I’ll never know that question, but I probably don’t want to know the answer, to be honest.
Micah: David Givon says:
“What was your favorite prank that Fred and George played throughout the series?”
Oliver: I think there’s the scene in The Half-Blood Prince – was it The Half-Blood Prince? No, not at all. The Order of the Phoenix when you see them testing out the Skiving Snackboxes, and there’s this one lad sitting there and he gets the mumps, and his jaw just swells up and drops down. That was really funny.
Micah: [laughs] Payola says:
“If Fred hadn’t died, where would you have seen him and George nineteen years later?”
Oliver: Nineteen years – I think they’d probably have a chain of Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes. Yeah, they’d probably be up there, a franchise in itself, I think. But yeah, I’m not too sure what their personal stance is. They’re probably married with kids who are causing just as much trouble as they do.
Micah: [laughs] Now, did you get a chance to take anything, any props, from Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes?
Oliver: There was only – I mean, you’re not supposed to, but I think everyone was having a go that day…
Oliver: …so I thought, “Oh, I’d be quick.”
Micah: Hypothetically speaking. [laughs]
Oliver: Hypothetically, it would be – yeah, there’s a bag, what they sell in – or what they put all the products in when they sell them, and I would have taken one of those, so to speak. It looked really cool to have and it’s quite different. It’s not like the normal part of props. So yeah, I’d have that and have that framed on my wall because that was only Fred and George’s thing.
Micah: Nice. And Tom asked – this is a bit of a different question. You’re a big sports fan. Do you follow anything here in the United States?
Oliver: Yeah, the NFL would be the main thing I watch over there. Obviously with the lockout, I’m not sure if we’re going to see it. So, I’ve been to the last two NFL games in London.
Micah: Oh wow.
Oliver: Yeah, I never really got into it because we were in Chicago for the world exhibit, and they were opening it there and the guy said to us in the warm-ups, “What do you want to do?” So I said, “Oh, I’d quite like to see the Bears play. They’re playing tonight.” So, we were fortunate enough – I felt really – I felt like I was taking it from someone who really deserved it, but we went to – we were actually able to go on the field before the game and everything, and I got really into that then. But it’s more of a tactical game so I think if you don’t understand it, it could seem quite boring. But yeah, I really got into it, so ever since then I’ve been watching it all the time and yeah, my team is the Bears. They’re actually playing in London this year, so hopefully I’ll be able to get down there and see them kick stuff.
Micah: Yeah. Yeah, I think the lockout is actually supposed to hopefully resolve itself in some capacity today, so hopefully…
Oliver: Oh right. Oh cool. Yeah, because the news here is a bit hit and miss at times in between, really, over here, so sometimes you hear that they’ve – that something’s happening and other times you don’t, so – oh, that would be awesome if it does.
Micah: Yeah, absolutely. All right, the last few questions I have here are kind of like really quick questions. What was your favorite book in the series?
Oliver: The Goblet of Fire.
Micah: What is the favorite scene that you filmed as George?
Oliver: The ear scene in Part 1 when they bring him in and he’s all a bloody mess.
Micah: The holey scene.
Oliver: Yeah, the holey scene.
Micah: [laughs] Favorite character?
Oliver: Probably Voldemort, to be honest. As I say, you got the ultimate villain. I don’t think there’s ever been a villain in film or literature where he just doesn’t seem to have any leeway, like you see him in Part 2 where he just kills this bloke who questions him once, because – yeah, I can’t remember why now. He says, “Don’t you think you should give the kids some more time?” and that’s the end of him.
Micah: [laughs] Favorite creature?
Micah: Favorite spell?
Oliver: Probably Expecto Patronum just because – I was able to do it in the film, but I never saw what the Patronus was for George. I would have been intrigued by that.
Micah: What do you think it would be?
Oliver: Probably something like a monkey.
Oliver: Like a cheeky monkey or something like that, always up to mischief. You don’t know what it’s ever going to be doing.
Micah: And if you could have one of the Deathly Hallows, which one would it be?
Oliver: What would it be? Probably the Elder Wand just because it could come in handy when you’re doing jobs around the house, like I’ve just come back from the promo tour last week and I still have all my stuff to do, like cleaning and everything, so I think the Elder Wand would come in handy for that.
Micah: Yeah. All right…
Oliver: Yeah, it could just get all my stuff, and wash it and everything.
Micah: Yeah, you were traveling around quite a bit, right? It seemed as if you were all over the world.
Oliver: Yeah, yeah, we really enjoy doing the promo things because it’s a good way to go and meet all the fan base. As I say, you don’t understand how many people have seen it when you’re filming, so to be able to go and watch it, and meet people – I mean, we went to Helsinki, the noise out there was insane. It was so loud. And then – yeah, we do. So, in the space of about two weeks, we went to Florida, to the Wizarding World in Orlando at the Universal Resort. Then we went to Madrid, Amsterdam, Rome, London for the main premiere, Dublin, Helsinki, Paris, and then Hong Kong.
Oliver: So, it was quite a fun trip, but we have [unintelligible], so you got to make the most of these things while you can.
Micah: So, you racked up a few miles there.
Oliver: A few. Yeah, I did join a few…
Oliver: …loyalty clubs, shall we say, so I may cash those in one day.
Oliver: It’s one of those things you think, “Oh, do I really want to do this?” I mean, we were always very fortunate with the way we travel. It’s not like we’re doing it in a shoebox. They would put us at the front of the plane, so to speak, so we have some nice leg room. I mean, I’m quite tall. I’m six foot three, so I’m really glad with the leg room that we get.
Micah: Yeah. No, I’m about six foot, so I understand where you’re coming from.
Oliver: Yeah, especially on the long-haul trips.
Micah: Yeah. And just quickly, speaking of the Wizarding World, I mean, what’s it been like going there after having spent so much time on set?
Oliver: It’s absolutely amazing to see that they’ve been able to do that in a totally different environment, really. I mean, it’s not like a film set where you’ve got time to set things up and it’s all – everything needs to be built and really well out there, and I think that’s the cool thing about it because when they told us originally that they’re building a theme park at Universal for Harry Potter, it’s like, oh right, okay. Yeah, it’s just going to be a roller coaster and I’ll stick a Harry Potter sticker on the side of it, that type of thing.
Oliver: And it’s totally all about Harry Potter. I mean, we’ve been fortunate to go there three – four times now, even. And the guys at Universal really know their stuff and – we went back there last month, it was the first time that we had seen – like, with people in there, and it’s just been so cool. They said it was a quiet day, God knows what the busy days are like. So, within a month, they passed a million people on the ride, and within I think eleven months, over seven million people had gone on the Forbidden Journey ride. So, it’s doing well, I think.
Micah: Yeah, what did you think of the Forbidden Journey?
Oliver: Yeah, it was awesome. I’ve never seen technology like that. It was fantastic. I remember when we did a little cameo at the end when we’re just standing waving in the Great Hall.
Oliver: And again, they were using these huge cameras to get the whole realistic thing of it, and the thing with the ride is that you don’t really know where you’re going to be seeing it or anything like that, but it’s just a fun, fast-moving ride, which is really cool. And I think the best way to describe it to people who haven’t been on it is it’s almost like an arm for what they used to make cars. It’s probably the best way to describe it, the robotic arm type of thing, and you’re on a seat in that, and it’s taking you all around Hogwarts and everywhere.
Micah: Yeah, yeah, they flip you a million and one different directions, too. You never know what’s coming next.
Oliver: Yeah, exactly. Yeah, exactly. So, it’s – and it’s a really cool part when the Dementors come near you and you see your face in the…
Oliver: …clouds and everything. It’s pretty cool.
Micah: Yeah, that was really cool. Yeah. Well, before I let you go, I just wanted to ask, do you have any future projects that are coming up?
Oliver: Yeah, there’s a few things certainly in the pipeline at the moment. Both James and myself are looking to do stuff separately. I think that’s the important thing, or how we see it, is to define ourselves and [unintelligible], which we’re happy to do and we like doing it, but it will just be good for our own self-esteem, I think, to be able to go out there and do something different apart from each other. So, there’s one thing that I’m still waiting to hear on, that’s looking quite promising, which is a film. And there’s another thing which is I’ve been asked to do a film called Latin Quarter, but I’m not too sure when that starts filming, it keeps getting pushed back, but – yeah, hopefully that will be sometime in the near future.
Micah: Cool. Well, really appreciate you taking the time to come on the podcast with us.
Oliver: Awesome. No problem. Well, thanks for all the support over the years.
Andrew: All right, Micah. Good job with that. How would you rate that one? You gave us a description of Mr. Yates’s interview.
Micah: Well, this one wasn’t…
Andrew: Was it fun talking to him?
Micah: …across a table. I was at home on my own computer talking over Skype, so it was a little bit different, a little bit more relaxed, I think, and talked a little bit about football, the NFL lockout being over now, and so it was more of a chill conversation.
Announcement: Harry Potter Alliance’s Climate Crisis Contest
Andrew: I see. Very good. Let’s go into the final news item of the day, which is concerning the Harry Potter Alliance Climate Contest plug – [laughs] or just Climate Contest.
Andrew: Eric, I think you got this one?
Eric: Yeah, sure. So, the Harry Potter Alliance is teaming with a group called Splashlife, they are a charitable group and they have a contest running right now. Entries are closed, but essentially they ask for art and ideas to fight the climate crisis. And actually, I submitted – I worked on a music video with a bunch of friends. We wrote our own song and recorded a music video, which you can find on Splashlife and it’s on YouTube. But if you guys could just go there, watch it – there’s also a bunch of other good ideas that other Harry Potter fans everywhere have submitted for fighting climate change. But it’s really cool. There’s a lot of cool ideas and it’s just kind of – that is going on from now until July 31st, Harry’s birthday. Obviously, I would love it if my music video could place in at least the top five, so please if you can, go to Splashlife.com, find me, and vote on it. Thank you so much! But also, there’s lots of good ideas on there for making change happen and it’s a good contest, it’s a good charity. I think the HPA has gone above and beyond with organizing this and making sure that all the votes are in and that everybody can submit. They extended the deadline a bunch of times, first because LeakyCon, people were distracted there, but it’s going to be good. It’s going to be a good contest and it runs until July 31st, so that was it.
Andrew: And finally, MuggleCast.com has all the information you need about this show. Just visit MuggleCast.com and on the right side, you can find links to our iTunes, our Twitter, our Facebook, our Tumblr. And then at the top, you can click on “Contact”…
[Show music begins]
Andrew: …and from there, you can fill out the feedback form. If you have any comments concerning maybe the Oliver Phelps or David Yates interviews today, whatever you would like to let us know that’s on your mind, just go to MuggleCast.com and you can find all the information there. Thanks everyone for listening! I’m Andrew Sims.
Eric: I’m Eric Scull.
Micah: And I’m Micah Tannenbaum.
Andrew: We’ll see you soon for Episode 236. Goodbye!
[Show music continues]