Event Transcripts

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Ralph Fiennes Gala Tribute - October 10, 2013

Ralph Fiennes Gala Tribute - October 10, 2013

Transcribed by Tracey Wong

Daniel Stern: So, this tribute was intended to honor and celebrate the work of an individual working in film who has made a significant contribution to film over in the past and will continue to do so in the future. The way I sort of think about it is you look at those artists if you’re into film like I am, you look at their filmography on IMDb, and you look at their history, and you think, “I can’t believe they did all that work. How could one person do this?” And clearly our honoree tonight is like that. And then you realize how old he is, and you think, “What’s the future going to be? It’s going to be more incredible.” This is one of those film artists that has an incredible filmography and [unintelligible], so we couldn’t be more excited to have him. I’m sure you would all agree. As you know, he burst on to the public [unintelligible] with his harrowing, Academy Award-nominated performance in Schindler’s List in 1993.

[Audience applauds]

Daniel: Since then, he’s continued to raise the film industry standards of excellence, as you know, with riveting performances in so many films like The English Patient, the Harry Potter series, Skyfall, and many, many others. We’re going to get the chance to chat with him after a minute, so I won’t mention them all because he’ll go through them. And tonight, you can see his latest, his second directorial effort, The Invisible Woman, which was an official selection at the festival this year and will screen right after our [unintelligible] Kent Jones. So, we’re really excited. I think you’ll enjoy the evening and enjoy the film. So, for a minute we’ll take a brief look at film clips of the brilliant career of Ralph Fiennes. So, welcome to the festival, welcome to this evening, and please enjoy.

[Audience applauds]

[Video montage plays]

[Audience applauds]

Kent Jones: I noticed backstage that you were actually looking at the clips. What is it like to look at your work in that way, kind of in a series of free moments from all films?

Ralph Fiennes: Well, I haven’t seen any of those films for a long, long time, so I was remembering things. Seeing Liam in Schindler’s List, that’s something that’s… I haven’t seen Schindler’s List for a long, long time, so in my mind I was going back to when we were shooting it and remembering the atmosphere on the set and [unintelligible] my mind was flashing back. I haven’t seen [unintelligible] the dialogue. I had forgotten a lot of those moments.

Kent: What was the atmosphere of this film? Just out of curiosity.

Ralph: What I loved about making Schindler’s List was the incredible energy of Steven Spielberg. It was infectious and he was really driven to making the film and he seemed to be… he said to me, actually, [unintelligible] just done Jurassic Park. I think he said, “The story of all these films is I feel like I’m making a film for the first time.” He seemed possessed, I think, in a great way. I love the energy and speed in which he [unintelligible]. And then on films [unintelligible] it seems slow and you’re waiting a long time and you feel the director [unintelligible] stuff happen. It just seemed to keep coming. I loved being on it, and you’ll see the end and his direction. He did a wonderful thing, which I liked, which he would run the camera without cutting. He’d say, “Go again, go again.” Because I think sometimes you come onto a set [unintelligible] and I think you breakdown an actor’s subconsciousness. When you cut the camera, the energy sort of stops. It has to be held, it stops. When the director just keeps the film run and says, “Keep going, keep going,” something then starts to spill out, accidental stuff, breaking through the actor’s preparation, breaking it down, and suddenly there’s more chance of something spontaneous.

Kent: And how does that contrast with the way that Robert Redford directed Quiz Show?

Ralph: [unintelligible] I remember Rob was very specific about certain things, and he did a great thing: he took me in to see some [unintelligible] of the scene, and he said, “I want to show you some… the scene was good. I want to show you some takes, I want to show you what we think is the good thing.” And take the scene, take three takes, I think, he asked me, “What do you think? Which do you like?” And I said, “I think I like that one,” and he said, “Yes, I think you’re right.” So, it was [unintelligible]. He did a thing, I remember, which was he would say, “Okay, are you good? You want to go again?” And I would say, “Yeah, okay.” And he would say, “Are you happy?” And finally, I would say… I think he said, “Well, let’s go again.”

[Audience laughs]

Kent: Did you find yourself starting to think about possibly directing early on? You had an inkling or something?

Ralph: No, I don’t think I thought of directing. Maybe around the time of The English Patient. Anthony Minghella is a brilliant communicator with actors, and involved [unintelligible]. And I think something about Anthony’s energy as a director has increased [unintelligible]. I think my eyes opened to seeing a director at work and how he… he would say, “I want your input, I want your ideas,” and I found that very attractive and compelling. And I suppose that maybe – thinking about it – was the time it started the curiosity about “Would you like to direct something?”

Kent: When you say that he was a brilliant communicator with actors, how did he communicate? Because many different directors have different ways of communication with actors.

Ralph: Well, first of all, Anthony had a great gentleness about him and he would continually support what you offered up. And he had a delicacy about… he had written the screenplay, so you would maybe in rehearsal or in the early takes, he would say, “Yes, I love that. I’m getting this sense. There’s such a reserve in what you do. I like it. Now, what I’m not hearing is such and such. Is there a way you can give a bit more X or Y or something?” And so… I think that’s good direction, is someone that’s saying, “Yes, keep giving it to me. Maybe, can I just suggest this direction?” I think it’s less helpful when someone goes, “No, no, what are you doing?”

[Audience laughs]

Ralph: And he used to say… he would often share his surprise. He would say, “Yes, you said that line in a completely different way to what I had imagined. I imagined it [unintelligible]” Well, cheekily he said, “I heard the best [unintelligible] version in my head.”

[Audience laughs]

Ralph: I think he meant a deep version, but… he just had an urgency about the way he would guide you. [unintelligible]

Kent: And you found yourself, actually, for the most part, choosing parts because of the director or the material?

Ralph: I think more and more the director is really important, and I think you start to know when you have… the less rewarding experience is with the director and [unintelligible] and then you realize how much it’s a really important factor. You get casted to a role and the role is fantastic, and you might perhaps ask yourself, “The director, is that the right…” in the end, I think you’ve got to have trust. You want to trust the director. And of course, actors are usually quick to pick up something that’s not right, doesn’t feel right. That’s the nature of it: you go into a project, you go to make a film, and you have to swim with all the different energies of the different people who are working with the director. Most probably with the other actors, you have to be able to… you don’t know what energies are going to come through from the other people. I think it’s good not to put up barriers, to try and set stuff. And often that’s when the interesting stuff happens. And sometimes it’s difficult working on a certain film. Maybe you feel frustrated, you feel lost, you feel confused, and you have to battle something now. And sometimes with that battle and that frustration, something new can happen.

Kent: Well, there’s a particular film that I wanted to ask you about. In so many different ways, it’s astonishing, Spider with David Cronenberg, which is… a character that you play is almost inarticulate. He’s mumbling through the film. It is an enormously powerful performance. I can just imagine putting that all together, preparing for that, and actually doing it. It must have been a little bit of an acting challenge.

Ralph: In spite of something that I… it was a brilliant book by Patrick McGrath, a wonderful book, which I read and loved, and a wonderful producer called Catherine Bailey. I had wanted to produce it, and early on she approached me and went, “At the moment, no director attached,” so there was no director and I said, “Yes, I would love to do this.” It was very hard to finance and we didn’t have a director for a long time, and so it didn’t look like it was going to happen until David Cronenberg. So, he wanted to direct it. And I guess he said he would be happy for me to play Spider. [laughs] But I think I had a strong visual sense of Spider and I kept thinking [unintelligible], that image. In fact, the image of [unintelligible] himself kept coming to me. And it was one of those things. Sometimes things just come and [unintelligible] imagination is principle too, I think, and it’s not analysis and it’s not too much intellectual thinking. It’s relying often on your imagination. And I remember just finding the clothes, the styling, and the original case he has. It was a physical thing, I think. It was where the imagination needs to… a physical instinct, if you like. And I remember cigarettes, I remember having smoked, and I remember practicing. [unintelligible]

[Audience laughs]

Ralph: But all that stuff happens. I don’t know. And I remember… so there was a make-up test. Make-up tests are really useful, I think, because you don’t have the pressure of having to do the performance. You can start to practice, no one is looking at it. And I remember that was just [unintelligible] and something that I think… and I think I sensed from David that it was… I mean, David is an extraordinary man because he doesn’t say that much. He just seems to… you know when he likes it, and he’s very, very [unintelligible] to quickly soak in. Don’t think that I remember… and [unintelligible] of Spider. We’d be shooting the film, and then I had heard or had met some people suffering from schizophonia. Somewhere in the back of my head, I had this idea that sometimes people [unintelligible] disturbance. And in one scene, I suddenly made a conscious decision to do this. I had never done it before. And David said, “No, why are you doing that?”

[Audience laughs]

Ralph: I think… he said so little…

[Audience laughs]

Ralph: So, I suddenly realized he was watching over me.

Kent: Ah, I have to ask you about Curse of the Were-Rabbit, Wallace and Gromit, because that’s just a great, great performance.

[Everyone laughs]

Kent: A great movie. I mean, that’s a whole different kind of movie.

Ralph: Well, it was very difficult. A few gentlemen who made those wonderful films, they have… I think they… it was very, very hard. They have a sense of how they want the lines to be, and it was this very extreme vocal, it’s cartoon, and I had never been vocally exhausted. [does an impression of Victor Quartermaine]

[Audience laughs]

Ralph: So, there wasn’t all this [unintelligible].

[Audience laughs]

Ralph: It was funny. I did one recording session with Helena Bonham Carter and she’s great to work with; we get each other on. But I remember… they obviously had a very clear… had a [unintelligible] image and they wanted to mantle this image with what the puppets’ faces were going to be with these voices. And of course they know what they’re doing, but… because you’re given a little booth recording, it seems surreal to me. But… yeah.

[Audience laughs]

Kent: What’s the experience like for you of working with green screen, special effect apparatus? Because [they’re required] for the Harry Potter films. What kind of adjustment do you have to make as an actor?

Ralph: Well, again, it’s an imagination thing. It is very alienating. You go on… and it’s sometimes weird. Harry Potter was… you go on to these huge, big sound stages. There’s a huge thirty, forty foot green screen, and there are all these men around, with belts and tools, and being tough.

[Audience laughs]

Ralph: And also, slightly bored.

[Audience laughs]

Ralph: “All right, Ralph? Hello. Good morning. How are you?”

[Audience laughs]

Ralph: And then I come along with long, flowing robes.

[Audience laughs]

Ralph: No, but you have to… it’s cold and there’s a screen and there’s nothing and not for the other actors… due to David Yates, who directed the last three or four, I think, he actually was great, David, because he could so easily think… you know, he could so easily just give a sort of circus Voldemort snarl. David would go, “Come on,” and then he pushed me, constantly… he made it seem [like] he was the real deal. So, despite all this funny [unintelligible] and stuff that made you feel unconnected with any kind of story, any other character, David… again, the director pushing you and really wanting, David really wanting you to explore something. Even in these moments of wand jabbing…

[Audience laughs]

Kent: So, just… I started thinking about the question of directing and approaching that. I wonder, what was the [unintelligible] to want to make a film of Coriolanus? That’s a real tough Shakespearean…

Ralph: Coriolanus is tough Shakesperean. It’s not really… it has a reputation of not being very audience friendly. I was in a play of Coriolanus on stage thirteen years ago and…

[Audience applauds]

Ralph: Thank you. And I believed… I loved playing him. Also, I felt frustrations with myself. I felt… it’s a role that can lead you… cause you to be enraged a lot. You have to raise your voice a lot and extend the passage of complicated rhetoric. And I felt the difficulty of the play doing it, but I also remember thinking this is an amazing story, and actually if… it just somehow lodged itself in my head that it could be a film. And I suppose I had some kind of unfinished business with the role, and the idea would leave me, and I had this idea of it being filmed and of playing the part again. I realized it would seem profoundly unrealistic and [unintelligible]. And Shakespeare films are hard to play anyway, [unintelligible] idea to me, even though I wanted to do it. But I couldn’t let go. Actually, my friend and agent, Joel Lubin, at the time was the person who was responsible for me getting serious about it because I had a meal with Joel and he said, “What do you want to do?” And I said, “This is what I want to do.” And I think many agents might have said, “No, come on,” but Joel said, “You should do it.” And so, shortly after I came back, I started it. I worked with a picture [researcher] to bring together all kinds of images because I felt it should be a contemporary setting and I’ve been in a production of Shakespeare Julius Caesar setting, contemporary setting. And once I saw this imagery come together, I was trying to break it down into what actually played, this would be… it started to come to life. And another breakthrough stage was meeting the screenwriter, John Logan. I pitched it to him and within a few hours he said, “I’m in,” to writing the screenplay. And so that was some kind of affirmation that the idea had some length, I suppose, when John Logan got behind it. And then within a few weeks, he wrote an extraordinary first draft, which was really, really accessible in reading.

Kent: If you wanted to film in Serbia, orignally, instead of…

Ralph: Sorry?

Kent: You wanted to film in Serbia, orignally.

Ralph: Well, I went on a location scout to Romania, Serbia, Montalegre, and Bosnia. The challenge was that logistically it was… no one was going to put a lot of money into this. You need people, you need crowds, you need cities, so where can you afford to do it? For a very limited budget, it can kill your scale; there needs to be a sense of scale. And I came to Belgrade. This was… I mean, there were two great things. The fabric, the atmosphere of the city seemed right for this idea of Rome, a place calling itself Rome – so not literally Rome, it’s Rome as a metacity. Any big city is a kind of Rome, I suppose, the thinking behind it. Anyway, and also it was affordable, the rates there; it worked for the producers. But I love the atmosphere of the city. To my eye, coming there as a foreigner, it has a sort of bruised quality, and of course… I feel like [unintelligible], that I wasn’t trying to set the film in any kind of post-Yugoslavian conflict. It was not that idea. That can play along as an element. It was an imagined, modern state. Belgrade was not that great, it was just a city, but it did offer us many great locations, including the Serbian national parliament, because you needed to have, in one important scene, a semi-chamber, which we could never in a million years afford to build. And we saw many council rooms that suddenly we were able to use. I think with no feat that will happen on location. We have a great shot of a semi-chamber from [unintelligible], which sells the sense of the politics of the place.

Kent: Well, that brings us to talking about your new film which, I have to say, is absolutely extraordinary. I guess I was wondering [unintelligible] was there anything about Dickens [unintelligible] the story of his relationship?

Ralph: No, it came and surrounded me, I suppose. I didn’t… a wonderful lady and producer of Coriolanus, Gaby Tana, one day gave me a screenplay called The Invisible Woman. And this was a draft by Abi Morgan, adapted from the book by Claire Tomalin. And I had no knowledge about the book, I had very little knowledge of Dickens, and had never been particularly interested in Dickens. I liked and enjoyed adaptations of Dickens, and had read Little Dorrit and felt I wanted to devour any more Dicken.

[Audience laughs]

Ralph: But then I read this book and suddenly, actually I was really moved by this character of Ellen Ternan, and the way Abi had dramaticized her dilemma, which I guess you’ll see in a minute. And Dickens came along with it, and Claire Tomalin’s descriptions of Dickens alongside Abi Morgan’s writing of Dickens, suddenly my eyes opened. It was Nelly Ternan and her story which led me, and I didn’t initially wanted to play Dickens, to direct and act at the same time, but I have to say, working on it… he’s an amazing, fascinating man, so the hungry actor in me couldn’t, in the end, resist playing the part.

[Audience laughs]

Kent: I also want to just say that the film has such an extraordinary sense of daily life in the 19th century. That’s something that’s a real achievement, I think.

Ralph: Well, thank you. I mean, I think trying to be as accurate… I guess constantly asking myself and everyone involved on the team, wanting to get – and the actors, of course – under the skin. So, just reminding ourselves that these were people like us. They may have had different dresses and bonnets and top hats, but actually, their bodily emotions, the physical, spiritual journeys, are… which is why Dickens is a great writer anyway, is that we can relate to so many different situations and characters. But these people are us and trying not to let this idea… the period film happens over there and of course it’s another time, but when the film is set in another time, I think it has to connect emotionally with our experience and that seems, to me, very essential. And Nelly is… I know we’ve talked too much in the past about her, but the idea that a woman… or anyone, really, but in this case, a woman and a man, they’re keeping within a history of intimacy, which had marked them, and they haven’t had closure with it, and that seemed to be something that most people deal with. Whether it’s a lover or a brother, sister, mother, father, friend, you have these intimate connections in your life and then they finish, and how do you deal with what it did to you? And that was the sort of hook for me. That’s the situation that Nelly is in.

Kent: Well, we’re very proud of you showing this film, and I suppose it’s time to introduce it.

Phelps Twins at Supanova Sydney - June 21-23, 2013

Phelps Twins at Supanova Sydney - June 21-23, 2013

Transcribed by Selina Dhanani, Felicia Grady, Katie Kerekes, Erica Lee, Celia Ludwinski, and Charee Savedra

Moderator: Look, there are so many of you. I know you’ve got questions. Raise your hand. I will try to get to as many of you as I physically can, though you guys are right in my walkway, [laughs] so I’m going to have to go right the way around.

Audience Member: Hello.

James and Oliver Phelps: Hello.

Audience Member: I wanted to ask, what have you learned about yourselves personally through the process of playing Fred and George?

James: Quite a lot to be honest with you. When I was fourteen, when we first got the roles, I was very shy. This kind of thing would scare the living hell out of me. But playing characters with such charisma and everything, you kind of have to do it, and then it becomes part of you, so that affected my life. I also learned to appreciate having your roots done…

[Audience laughs]

James: … which is something which I never thought I would, but… so there’s that, and then anything else?

Oliver: Eyebrows being dyed. Other than that… and also I think just an understanding of traveling the world, which has been wicked. It’s one of the best things we’ve been able to do with these films, is to travel and to meet people like all you guys, and I just see how far-spread the world of Harry Potter goes. It’s really special.

Audience Member: Hi. I’m sure you both know that you’re both very gorgeous.

[Audience laughs]

Audience Member: On that note, what’s the most…

[Audience laughs]

Audience Member: What’s the craziest fan girl experience you guys have encountered?

Oliver: [laughs] A couple of years ago we were in Newcastle in England – northern England – and we were walking down by the riverside with Sean Biggerstaff, who plays Oliver Wood. So we were walking down, and then these three Geordie girls – these girls from Newcastle – recognized us and started running after us. So we kind of – “Ahh!” – ran the other way.

[Audience laughs]

Oliver: And then it came to that awkward moment where we couldn’t be bothered to run anymore, they got to us, and then it’s kind of a, [pauses] “Hi.”

[Audience laughs]

Oliver: So that was a bit strange.

Audience Member: Hey, g’day. I’m a really big fan of your work. So yeah, it’s really cool to see you. I have a question: You’ve probably been asked this a lot, but do you guys really talk in sync off set? Do you finish each other’s sentences and talk at the same time [like] you guys do in your movies?

Oliver: Occasionally.

James: Yeah, a little bit.

[Audience laughs]

James: Actually, how that happened in the films is we met with Alfonso, the director of the third film, and he was coming up with ideas, and as we were talking to him, he noticed that we were doing that, and you could see this lightbulb go off right above his head. He’s like, “Oh! Okay, I got it.” And then, yeah, so when we got the next script version through, Fred and George were doing just that. So I suppose it kind of happened naturally.

Audience Member: Hi. What’s your favorite memory on set?

[Prolonged silence]

Audience Member: Of Harry Potter?

[Audience laughs]

James: There are so many, to be honest with you. We'[ve been] filming these movies for over ten years, so quite a few. One that really stands out in my memory would be the Yule Ball in the fourth movie because first of all we had to learn how to ballroom dance, which wasn’t on my list of priorities at eighteen years old, but it was fun to do, and then after that they decided they’ll throw in a mosh pit and a lot of headbanging, so that was cool. It was just a fun couple of weeks. Right before Christmas as well, so with a nice, snowy, icy set. That was really cool.

Oliver: Yeah, that whole scene was wicked. I don’t think it made it in the film, but we actually did one segment where Warwick Davis was crowd surfing…

[Audience laughs]

Oliver: … over everyone in the Great Hall. So bits like that really stand out.

Moderator: Right up the back.

Audience Member: Hi. Even though you didn’t share a lot of scenes with the late Richard Harris or Maggie Smith or Alan Rickman, what were they like to work with?

Oliver: They were… yeah, as you said, we didn’t spend too many scenes with them, but I can remember chatting with Alan Rickman when he was in the make-up chair next to us. Which is pretty cool to just ask these people [for] advice on certain scenes you’re doing and stuff. Or even talking about how to set an iPod up.

[Audience laughs]

Oliver: So we exchanged info. Yeah, it was pretty special, and certainly now, when I look back and think of the careers – what those guys have had – and the experiences that they’ve been able to share with us has been… money can’t buy stuff like that, and it’s certainly a good life lesson to listen to those people.

Moderator: Okay, once again, right up the back behind the video camera.

Audience Member: What was it like acting with Harry, Ron, and Hermione?

[Audience laughs]

James: It was cool. Dan, Rupert, and Emma, and Tom, Matt, Devon, Alfie – they’re all our mates. It’s really weird because if you imagine, we were all friends before the first movie came out because we were working together. So to us, they’re just our friends, and we still keep in contact with a hell of a lot of them now. So they’re just our good friends and we’re very lucky to have them.

Audience Member: Hi. I just wanted to know, if you guys weren’t twins and you got the chance to play any character in any of the movies, out of the hundreds that there are, which one would you have loved to have played?

James: I was going to say George, but if I’m not a twin…

[Audience laughs]

Oliver: Was that in any film? Or Potter film?

Moderator: Any Potter film.

James: I don’t know. I know he wasn’t in the films, but Peeves would have been pretty cool.

[Audience laughs]

Oliver: I think maybe to do the voice of Kreacher would be quite good because he’s kind of a lot like me early in the morning.

[Audience laughs]

James: I can vouch for that.

[Audience laughs]

Audience Member: Hey, boys. If you were able to travel by Floo Powder for real, where would you like to go?

James: Well, Sydney after that twenty-four hour flight here.

[Audience laughs]

James: That would be the first one. I don’t know, all over the place. If you could travel as quick as that, I would be… I love traveling, but I hate the traveling side of it. So yeah, I would probably go all over. Probably the World Cup next year. Congratulations to the Socceroos.

[Audience cheers]

Audience Member: Hi. One of you did the AD or runner role in I think the fifth movie. What was it like being commanded around?

James: It’s horrible. [laughs] It was cool. For those of you who don’t know, on the sixth movie, we were signed up, obviously, for the whole shoot. But we were only actually down for about three or four weeks of filming. So I decided that I wanted to try my hand on the other side of the camera in the assistant director’s department. The first thing I learned was [it is] a 5 AM in the morning and at 9 PM at night, and I learned more about the film industry in the first week of doing that than I had the previous six years of being an actor. But it was really good. I understood what different departments did, what different jobs were, and it was something which I… if you ever get the chance to work on a film crew, I definitely recommend it because everyone thinks it’s all like the premieres and everything, but it’s really not. It’s a lot of early mornings and late finishes. But it’s a really cool industry to be in.

Audience Member: Hi, guys. This is a question for Oliver: I was just wondering what it was like to have to play out your brother’s death.

Oliver: It was a right laugh.

[Audience laughs]

Oliver: No, it was interesting. It wasn’t quite as… I mean, we did probably about six takes on it. But I can remember beforehand, I was chatting with Julie Walters about it and I said, “How would you go about that? Making yourself tearful and everything?” And she said to me that if you get yourself into that zone before you go on set, and then even if you walk into set, when people try to talk to you, almost look blankly so you are in that zone. You can always apologize later. And just doing it, it was surreal in one way because, first of all, I thought it would be a closed set, meaning there would only be the Weasley family there and the director. Wrong. It was the Great Hall, and there was about as many people as you in a room about this size, watching me cry like a little girl.

[Audience laughs]

Oliver: Which was all right. But apart from that, it wasn’t as bad as I… people will send me photos online, on Twitter, and there’s a lot of wording on it which says, “When Oliver and James filmed Fred’s death scene, they cried and they hugged each other at the end and said I love you.”

[Audience laughs]

Oliver: Nah.

[Audience laughs]

Oliver: No, we didn’t really do that. In fact, James went to sleep and I left him on the floor because I went to lunch.

[Audience laughs]

Oliver: But it was an interesting scene because it was a very final “that’s it” for these as a double act, as it were. It was different to a lot of the days we had on Potter.

Audience Member: Hi. Thank you so much for coming to Australia. I was wondering if you are familiar with A Very Potter Musical, and if the other cast has any comments or whatever.

James: Yeah, we saw it last time we were in Australia, actually. Which was… yeah, it was cool. It was cool. It was fun to see that what we’ve been able to portray is being portrayed in other ways as well.

Audience Member: I wanted to ask, after the movies were finished, did it feel weird to see yourself in the mirror and not see you with ginger hair?

James: [laughs] Nah.

[Audience laughs]

Oliver: To be honest, in between the sixth and seventh film, we actually dyed our hair back to brown as well. But it kind of became normality whenever we put the hair on, really. The dye went on and everything like that. And it kind of just became… it wasn’t too… I mean, when we first had it dyed off, yeah. Oh God, how dark is our hair, you know? And I did miss it for a while. But I didn’t miss, as James said, every six weeks, getting it touched up.

[Audience laughs]

Audience Member: First of all, you are the most awesomest twins ever. And I was wondering, who do you think the more attractive twin is?

[Audience laughs]

Oliver: I don’t know.

Moderator: I’d just like to point out that that’s a question to twins, from twins. Ladies and gentlemen…

Oliver: Okay, reverse question.

Moderator: Twinception.

Oliver: Which… okay, there you go. Fair enough.

[Audience laughs]

Moderator: Now, who’s waiting? Oh, you. Step through.

Audience Member: How do you feel being the younger twin?

James: I feel a lot more youthful being the younger twin.

[Audience laughs]

James: Less wrinkly, more hair. [laughs] To be honest with you, it doesn’t really mean anything, does it?

Oliver: Well, no. I mean, my back is playing up these days.

[Audience laughs]

Audience Member: Hi. Do you guys ever get the cast back together and hang out and play backyard Quidditch?

[Audience laughs]

James: No, but that could be something cool to do. We’ve all seen different members of the cast at different stages, but obviously because everyone is all over the world doing different things, it’s quite hard for us all to be in the same room at the same time. But we still meet up every so often. Like, we played golf with Rupert last week. We play on the same cricket team as Alfie Enoch. So yeah, we still hang out.

Audience Member: Hi. If you actually had to go to Hogwarts, what house would you be in and would you be in the same house together?

Oliver: Well, we’ve actually been sorted. Yeah. And they sorted me into Gryffindor and James made it into Hufflepuff.

[Audience cheers]

Oliver: So they split us up.

Audience Member: Hi, guys. Just wondering, what are you guys doing nowadays and are you working on any films together?

James: Actually at the start of the year, I did my first ever stage show. I didn’t even do stage show at school, so my first of one I was cast as the lead and I had three weeks to learn 41 monologues for a really random show, which was about a lad who wanted to become Woody Allen.

[Audience laughs]

James: So yeah, that was fantastic. I had to learn this whole New York accent and all that kind of stuff. But it went really well, and subsequently from that I’ve been asked to do another show. So hopefully at the end of the year if I could do that. Oliver and I have also been approached to do a movie in the fall, in autumn. So our autumn, not your autumn. Your spring, I guess. So yeah, we’re still keeping busy.

Audience Member: Hi there. I was just wondering if you have a favorite book or a favorite scene from the books.

Oliver: I think my favorite scene from the books, they didn’t actually make it in the film, which I was a bit gutted about. But it was the whole swamp scene in Goblet of Fire, so I was really like, “That’s going to be awesome!” But yeah, unfortunately it didn’t make it. But in the books, that was one of my favorite bits.

Audience Member: Hi! Oh.

Moderator: [mimicking her voice] Hi!

[Audience laughs]

Audience Member: Did you guys always make sure that you stuck to George or Fred, or did you sneak around on set and swap your characters?

James: I’d say for 99.9 percent of the time, we were always the same character. One rehearsal on the second movie in the long Great Hall scene, we switched from side to side of the table. And we told this in an interview once, and from that we’ve heard stories of how we were caught and they had to reshoot the whole movie. And this reporter was asking us this and was like, “Is this true?” No. No, it’s not.

[Audience laughs]

James: But it’s on Wikipedia, it’s got to be true.

[Audience laughs]

Audience Member: Hi. I was just wondering what your favorite scene to film was.

James: I’d say either the Yule Ball which I said earlier, that one, or I think the joke shop because that was… you walk onto a set and when the whole thing has been purposely built for your characters, it’s pretty cool. And the whole building side was wicked because they flew in a guy from Paris to make these tailored suits, so there was a bit of improv with that to make it all very much showmanship style. And that whole scene was wicked to film because there was that much attention to detail of everything inside of it. It was really, really cool. I don’t know if anyone here went to the Exhibition, what was at the Powerhouse down the road.

[Audience cheers]

James: Which was really good. There was actually some stuff from the joke shop in there, and you would have seen the detail that went into all the props and everything.

Moderator: Once again, right up the back.

Audience Member: Hi. I was just wondering, what was it like on the making of Harry Potter?

James: It was fun.

[Audience laughs]

James: That’s the only way I can describe it. It honestly didn’t feel like work. You go into a shoot everyday to hang out with some friends, film a scene everyday. And everyone around the world seem to enjoy it, so we’re very, very lucky.

Audience Member: Hi. In the future, would you guys consider doing movies separately where it doesn’t involve twins or anything like that?

Oliver: Yeah, definitely. We’re actually standing quite far apart now, so it’s like a head up.

[Audience laughs]

Audience Member: Hi. I was wondering, what’s the best prank you guys have pulled off as twins and what do you think the best prank for twins should be?

James: We don’t really do that many pranks on the twin thing, really. The best one we did… is there one we can say?

[Audience laughs]

Oliver: No, we probably shouldn’t tell the best ones we’ve done because they’re probably not…

James and Oliver: Friendly.

[Audience laughs]

James: We did… I know there was… well, kind of going on the twin thing. There was a lady who worked on the first four movies, Fiona, and she could tell the difference between us, and she told my dad on the fourth movie – so this was five or six years into making these films – “Yeah, I know how to tell them apart because James told me in the first movie that he’s got a mark on his nose where he was shot by a farmer for trespassing.”

[Audience laughs]

James: Realistically, it was a chicken pox mark from when I was a baby. And my dad was like, “No?” I don’t think she’ll ever forgive me for that because that’s a long lie to carry on.

[Audience laughs]

Audience Member: Hi, guys. My question was: You’ve worked on the Harry Potter films with lots of really great classic British actors. I was wondering, what’s the best piece of advice [that’s] been given to you?

Oliver: They all kind of shoot in with bits and bobs whenever you wanted to ask them anything. I always remember when Michael Gambon would say, just enjoy it. If you’re into it and really enjoying it, then that will be portrayed and that will come out very well. Try and get into it. And he actually gave… we were doing a reading with the Halle Orchestra, weren’t we? And when James was on set, he asked him a bit of advice and…

James: So essentially, when we were doing the sixth movie, Michael was shooting – spoiler alert if you haven’t seen it – [laughs] the end of Dumbledore. So he was outside and I was out there as well and he said, “So what are you up to on the weekend then, James?” And I said how Oliver and I are reading Peter and the Wolf with this orchestra, never done it before, don’t really know what to do. He said, “Well, I’ve done that before. Come on, sit down, get the script out, and we’ll go through it.” So this is Michael filming a quiet moment in the film, and he was there sitting down with me, showing me how to read this script out loud in front of an orchestra and a theatre. So that was pretty cool.

Oliver: While in the Dumbledore…

James: While in Dumbledore gear, yeah.

Audience Member: If you had a superpower, what would it be?

Oliver: Probably to Apparate. It would help me out a bit. Yours?

James: Super strength would be good.

Oliver: Yeah. Any reason?

James: No.

[Audience laughs]

Audience Member: Hey guys, how are you going?

James: Hi.

Audience Member: I think you’re awesome, but I have got a question for you – it’s a favor – would you be able to say happy birthday to Georgia Clark? She’s probably one of your biggest fans.

Oliver: Happy birthday, Georgia Clark.

Audience Member: Yes! Thank you so much.

[Audience laughs]

Moderator: Is Georgia Clark here? Well, that was a waste of time, wasn’t it?

[Audience laughs]

Moderator: You, you’ve got your wand up.

Audience Member: Hi. First, my friend couldn’t be here so she’s going to kill me if I don’t say that Maddie loves you. And also, I saw an interview with you guys when you were in Prisoner of Azkaban. You said the weirdest gift you’ve ever gotten is a bra with potatoes in it. So, what did you do with it? And has anything topped it since?

James: A couple of things, I couldn’t… I think we kind of just looked at it and went, “Hooray.”

[Audience laughs]

James: We had… last year, someone sent us – we’ve got a fan mail address – this huge box came and it was really heavy. [laughs] So we kind of picked it up and I was like, “Oh, this is going to be good. This is a gift.” Put it down, “This is a TV.”

Oliver: Yeah.

James: I mean, this thing was huge and heavy. Open it up, and inside was bubble wrap. Unwrap the bubble wrap. And there’s a watermelon with a note saying, “Please sign the watermelon and send it back to this address.”

[Audience laughs]

James: Half the watermelon went back, the other half of the watermelon stayed at home.

[Audience laughs]

James: Yeah, that was pretty random.

Audience Member: If there was to be a [unintelligible] version of Harry Potter, who would you want to play Fred and George?

One of the twins: I have no idea what that means. [laughs]

Audience Member: So if girls played all the guys and guys played all the girls. So if Fred and George were female characters, who would you want to play them?

Oliver: I don’t know, really. I think I would quite like it to be an unheard of like James and I were, I think.

Audience Member: Hello. This is a serious question: Do you put your sauce in the fridge or the cupboard?

[Audience laughs]

James: I think that’s a private question, so I’ll keep it to myself.

[Audience laughs]

Moderator: I’d like to point out to you that that girl has been waving at me madly for the whole panel. Sauce? Really?

[Audience laughs]

Moderator: Do you have a better question? Are you sure? Good.

Audience Member: I love your work. There’s a couple of favorite lines that I have. What is your favorite line that you’ve ever said in any of the movies?

James: Mischief managed.

Oliver: Morning.

[Audience laughs]

Audience Member: Hello. I was just wondering, where is the best place you’ve traveled because of doing the movies, in the world?

Oliver: Probably the funnest trip we’ve ever had was when we came to Sydney. And I’m not just saying it because we’re here, but it was a ten day, long… just kept going. And I think it was more of the guys who were here with us as well. We had a really good laugh doing it, and we did finish everything the city had to offer. And the response of everyone, what with coming out… it was at the Powerhouse Museum about 18 months ago. That’s certainly one of them. And it was one of the last ones. We did everything, from going on… climbing the bridge climb to skydiving over Wollongong. So it was a cool, fun-filled trip.

Audience Member: Hi. I was just wondering, I read on the IMDb website that you are going to be in Hamlet. Is that true?

[Prolonged silence]

[Audience Member laughs]

Oliver: [laughs] Maybe. Yeah. We’re in late, advanced talks with that.

Audience Member: Oh, okay.

Oliver: So it should be quite interesting, something totally different. So yeah, hopefully it will all come good.

Audience Member: I was just wondering, when you were playing the twins on Harry Potter, did you have a crush on anyone?

[Audience laughs]

Oliver: Not really, no. We were always a bit older. I mean, when the Beauxbatons turned up, everything got a bit like, “Ooh, hello.”

[Audience laughs]

Oliver: But no, nothing too much. No.

Audience Member: Hi guys, again. I was just wondering, being famous and everything, have you guys got any stories of anyone that you’ve met that you’ve idolized that you’ve just been starstruck and been like, [gasps] “Oh, my God”?

James: Yeah, I actually met Slash from Guns N’ Roses.

[Audience laughs]

James: [That] man has the hardest handshake. You’re literally just like, “Phew.” But yeah, that was pretty… [speaking nervously] “Hi. How are you?”

[Audience laughs]

James: So it was pretty cool.

Oliver: Hmm. I’m trying… yeah, that was a weird, fun night. We went to see a concert when they were in [unintelligible] Velvet Revolver. And after the show, they were like, “Do you guys want to come to the party with us?” And I was there with a couple of guys from the film. We were like, “Okay.”

[Audience laughs]

Oliver: Don’t take my hand off.

[Audience laughs]

Oliver: Yeah, that was an awesome night. And I think it’s meeting people you… music you’ve been listening to for years and years, and you get to hang out with them and chat with them about how they do things. It was pretty awesome.

Moderator: This is going to be our second-to-last question. Sorry, guys. And I know that means that most of you are going to hate me.

Audience Member: Hi!

[Audience laughs]

Audience Member: Do you have the most embarrassing moment on set?

James: One for me would be on the fifth movie, and it’s the first time we’re actually given our wands. So I was doing the whole… you know [when] you’ve got a drumstick and you’re spinning it and all that kind of stuff? I must have [gone] through four wands.

[Audience laughs]

James: Because it was in the Room of Requirement and that had like a mesh floor, and it kept getting trapped in the floor and broken. So I kept going over to Gary the prop guy, like, “There you go. And there you go.”

[Audience laughs]

James: And actually, in the last… and then I kind of thought I’d become a bit more professional and not do that, until we were shooting… we did the stills for the poster for the last movie, where Fred and George go into battle mode kind of thing, and I actually broke that before we shot… I was doing it again and it broke. So the actual wand, I’m only showing half of it because it’s only half in my hand.

[Audience and James laugh]

Moderator: And this is our last question, and she’s completely lost it. [laughs] She gave me a hug just for pointing at her.

Audience Member: Hi.

Oliver: Hello.

Audience Member: I love you so much. Thank you for existing.

[Audience laughs]

Audience Member: What’s your favorite band and do you like Nutella, and what’s your favorite color, and what are you allergic to?

[Audience laughs]

James: Very good. [laughs] Okay. I’ve slightly got hay fever, so I guess that’s what I’m allergic to. Yes, I do like Nutella. My favorite band would either be Foo Fighters or The Verve or AC/DC.

[Audience cheers]

Oliver: No real allergies. Nutella? Yeah, a little bit, but I prefer Marmite.

[Audience responds in disapproval]

Moderator: Ooh, the crowd turns!

James: This is another thing which differentiates Oliver and I. He likes Marmite, I hate Marmite.

[Audience cheers]

Oliver: We should really do an advertising campaign.

[Audience laughs]

Oliver: And favorite band would be a band called Alter Bridge. You should definitely check them out.

Audience Member: Do you like Blink-182?

Oliver: Yes. I saw them last year, they are awesome.

[Audience cheers]

Moderator: [laughs] You need to sit down, my love.

[Audience laughs]

Moderator: Sit down. I know you want to touch them, I know you want to love them.

[Audience laughs]

Moderator: You’re in a room full of a thousand other people who would also… look after her.

[Audience laughs]

James: They were good questions, though. Thank you.

Moderator: Ladies and gentlemen, thank you so much. I want you to put your hands together and thank these two exceptional young men.

[Audience applauds and cheers]

Moderator: Keep it going for the wonderful James and Oliver Phelps!

James: Thanks, guys.

Oliver: Cheers.

James: Have a good weekend.

Moderator: Go on, make some more noise. You know you love them.

[Audience applauds and cheers]

Moderator: Now, somebody get that lovely girl some really good drugs.

[Audience laughs]

Moderator: Or just a bag for her to hyperventilate into.

"Kill Your Darlings" Q&A - January 31, 2013

"Kill Your Darlings" Q&A - January 31, 2013

Q&A with director/writer John Krokidas and writer Austin Bunn

Not all questions were asked by MuggleNet since this was a general Q&A. Some mature content and spoilers.

After the film screened, John Krokidas was introduced to thank the people in the audience and others who made the film happen.

John: This movie was shot in 24 days. Each scene that you saw was, on average, shot in three hours or under. One scene was even shot in twelve minutes. Basically, we got shut down by Columbia five hours earlier than we thought and what you didn’t see was all the equipment being pulled out from behind.

[Audience laughs]

John: But this production would have never gotten made if it weren’t for a bunch of family members, old friends and new friends, and I want to introduce some of them to you. First off, isn’t the cast amazing?

[Audience applauds]

John: Laura Rosenthal, my casting director. Give it up for Laura. Jared Goldman, a friend of mine for over ten years who helped me produce this and was there from the very beginning before we had any money. David and Julia from ‘Killer Films’ (production company) are here tonight. Those are the people who do all the hard grunt work. I see Rose Ganguzza, the godmother of the film, who got us the money. My production designer, Stephen Carter, this was his first film with a budget over one million dollars. My costume designer, Christopher Peterson. Okay, what you don’t know is right before this, he picked out the thongs that did Magic Mike. Peg and Lori, hair and make up – they took a break from Woody Allen – I kid you not – to work on this. I don’t know how I suckered them in but they did a fantastic job. Stephen Lippross, he kept the whole thing together on budget. Brian Kates, one of my best friends since I was 22-years-old, who I met in film school. I helped him get his first job on The Woodsman with Kevin Bacon, and he got famous. It took me this long, but I convinced him somehow to come back and help me.

[Audience applauds after each person is introduced]

John: Okay, I know I have one person left, but I may have left someone out… I have a list because I didn’t want anyone to be the Chad Lowe. I think I got it all, except for one person. Come down here, anyone who wants to come down, but Austin come down here. My college roommate, my best friend from college. He spent nine years working on this with me. [Austin Bunn walks onto the stage]. So now we have time, if anybody has any questions for any of us, feel free to ask.

This is one of your first films, how did you get all these amazing actors? How did that casting process go?

John: Laura [Rosenthal, casting director]. Laura was a big help. Basically, when Christine Vachon and ‘Killer Films’ came on board four years ago, I made a list of all the young actors under 30 that I wanted to work with. And when I wrote down the name ‘Daniel Radcliffe’ I thought to myself… hmm…the role is somebody, a dutiful son, who’s only kind of shown one color of himself to the world, who has so much more inside of him. And by the end of the movie he’s a poet, he’s a rebel and he shows everyone that there is so much more to him. I had a feeling that Daniel could identify.

And we sent him the script and he literally responded within a couple of weeks. And I was sitting across the table from him while he was doing Equus, and they say meeting your actor is like a first date and you know within five minutes. The hour meeting became six hours and we ended up sharing so many stories about ourselves and there was trust between the two of us. And just to give you the kind of idea of what a great person he is, at the end of it he offered to audition. Who does that?! Because he wanted to make sure that our chemistry was going to be strong enough to make it through a film of this short production period, and also that he had everything for the role I wanted him to be.

So, there was one problem. His agent said that he had just two movies left to do before he could do another one – the Deathly Hallows 1 and Deathly Hallows 2 – so he wouldn’t be available for two years. So, I took my other first choice, Jessie Eisenberg, and we tried. And we built the cast around him but then the financing came together, the financing fell apart and then Jessie got The Social Network. And after that came out, he called me and very pointedly said, “John, I think I’ve just played the most iconic Ivy League college student I could ever play, and I think I need to play grown ups now.”

So the film didn’t have a cast, it didn’t have financing, but I remembered two years had passed…and I had Daniel Radcliffe’s email. So I wrote him in the middle of the night and I was like, “I hope you don’t think I’m stalking you, but do you remember this movie? Do you remember meeting me? If you’re still interested I would love for you to come on board.” And the next day he wrote me and said, excuse the language, “abso-fucking-luteley.” And so once we had Dan, you would think that the movie could get made, but there’s people with calculators who will tell you whether or not these actors, what they’re worth, can get a movie made. And at that point they said to me, Daniel Radcliffe cannot open a movie without a wand in his hand. So I said, he’s playing Allen Ginsberg, there will be somebody’s wand in his hand by the end of the movie.

[Audience laughs and cheers]

John: But no, then with the help of Laura, I told her, lets do a Social Network cast. Let’s get all the young actors that we love and just create a really solid ensemble. My boyfriend, Daniel, of nine years, loved In Treatment and mentioned Dane DeHaan at the same time Laura mentioned Dane. Jack Houston, I love him from Boardwalk Empire, he’s so fantastic and so versatile. Ben Foster I’ve admired for years. And Michael C. Hall, come on. Six Feet Under is one of my favorite shows of all time. Laura helped me build the cast and once we had this whole cast of people to see what kind of film this is that’s when the money came – that’s when we realized we were going into pre-production.

How did your sexual orientation influence you in creating this film?

John: Obviously quite a bit.

[Audience laughs]

John: I mean, the thing that kept me going all this time, for me, there has to be something that has to piss you off. And what really pissed me off was that in 1944, you could get away with murder by portraying your victim as a gay predator. And for me that was a fire that kept burning, that kept me going for all these years. And, you know, also this is a coming of age story. It’s a finding your voice story and in some ways it’s a coming out story. Austin…

Austin: I think like probably most people in this room, I discovered the Beat generation writers in college. Allen Ginsburg got me through my freshman year of college. I mean, just the spirit of honesty and the exorcism of shame, and that was like the expression that came through, that we bounced back and forth. He’s one of those writers that’s like a virgil to the next version of yourself. I think that’s what we were trying to capture in the film – I don’t think it counts as a coming out story – it’s sort of a coming into yourself story.

How did you learn about this specific story of the Beats?

Austin: Well, once you start reading the Beats, you end up reading a lot of the Beats, they’re like an intoxicant. And it’s funny – if you read the Kerouac back catalog and the bios, they all mention the murder of David Kammerer, but John always talks about how they entered that as a footnote. And they all have the same footnote as if they’d all been handed the story and no one had really dug into it. And what you see in the film, in the newspaper articles, this was front page new articles of the New York Times in 1944! So it’s not that obscure really, but Lucien Carr who just died, he didn’t want people to know too much and as we say in the end titles, he kept a lot of this from coming out while he was still alive.

John: And then when we talked about it, you know, the secret origin story of murder that brought all these writers together. You know, Austin wanted to write a play. He was a playwright and a journalist at the time and I was like, “No. You are not going to write this as a play, you are going to write this as a screenplay and I’m going to teach you how.” And that was kind of the beginning of the development for a while. Peter from the Ginsberg estate was here earlier and what’s really fascinating that he shared with us is Lucien and Allen kind of shared a co-dependent friendship for most of their lives. But Lucien kept every single one of them from telling the story or publishing anything about it and, you know, after we finished the script, Lucien passed away before we started writing it, but the Kerouac/Burroughs book came out and then Allen Ginsberg journals came out, and they’re the journals with the actual story that he wrote about the murder. And you start reading from all these accounts that they held back until Lucien passed away, that David Kammerer was a more sympathetic man than we thought and the relationship is more complex.

Everything from the hair and clothing to the sets is kept to period. Can you explain the choice to mix modern music with the old music of the 1940s?

John: This is not your father’s biopic. I didn’t want it to be a dusty biopic. It was about being young and rebellious and I thought to myself, “Hey, what would the Beats do?” And, you know [in a sarcastic tone] the intellectual thing is by crossing genres and by using contemporary music which conflicts against the period thing, you create an interesting tension. But the truth of the matter is, Brian [Kates, editor] was there, it was two in the morning, the period music was so cheesy – we’d tried everything. I said, “Let me put on a song I would actually listen to,” and it clicked. And the next day we were like, “Are we crazy?” And we watched it again and it brought excitement and it brought energy to it and it just brought a kind of feeling that we brought with the fast cutting… just trying to get that feeling of being 18 for the first time, and going to New York for the first time, and falling in love and having sex for the first time.

Can you speak about the art direction for the film, particularly the graphic transitions using the moving New York City Subway map?

John: Basically we had had a very distinct color palette from the movie that Stephen [Carter, production designer] and I worked on which, you know, when you don’t have much money, a restricted, limited color pallet really helps kind of give the film a style. And Steven and Alex [Chrysikos, art direction] found a map that was within that color palette and that was period. And then the kind of decision to do the map came with my friend Steven Winter, who kept this production historically accurate. Give him an applause. He said what about a unique transition? Kind of an Indiana Jones feel. What about a subway map?” And it worked!

There’s an emphasis placed on the film of breaking the rules in standard poetry writing form. Did you break any standard rules in the screenplay writing process?

John: Well I can tell you for a fact the Beats never broke into a college library.

Austin: That was us. We did that. [audience laughs]. We started this film to be a noir, which is why it begins the way it does, like Sunset Boulevard, where you end kind of at the crescendo Pietà image, and then it just got funky. We just decided to go in other directions, like the montage sequences, that are really a creation of Brian and John together in the edit room. And those are the most ‘Beat’ parts of the story, where we just let the rhythm drive the story.

Can you speak more about the cinematography and getting that 1940s period feel for the movie?

John: Reed [Morano, cinematographer] is amazing. She’s not here, she should be. Basically I heard that Ang Lee for The Ice Storm used to gather a book of like fifty pages in which you defined the era in terms of color, in terms of architecture, in terms of clothing, in terms of style, you name it. So I was like, I have to make my book. And so I did make a fifty page book with the help of Steven Winter and my friend Jackie and picked all the colors for the movie, the initial ideas, and pick the kind of cinematography we wanted. We wanted to go from more locked down conformist point of view from the beginning of the movie, but then when Lucien showed up you might notice, the camera all the sudden became jazzy and handheld. And then when Allen’s journey, we he got kind of stuck again in whether or not to lie for Lucien, everything became much more locked down again until he finally wrote the deposition, and then the movie becomes handheld once more.

So I made this book to share with all my production heads, so they could see what’s in my head. And then you get to set, and you realize, you have 24 days, that shot-list of 14 shots you came up with has to be two. But the amazing thing about it was by that point we all trusted each other so much that we could throw the book over our shoulders and just kind of feel the energy of what was going on with us. And what the actors brought, what the department heads brought, had so much kind of energy and vitality that wasn’t in our initial conception as being a more kind of stated film noir, that at some point you just kind of go with it. And then the movie just kind of starts writing its own voice, and like a child you just have to start letting it be who it wants to be.

But Reed did all of that, I mean there were times when we had no shot coverage. And we had a little signal… they would tell you, “you only have one shot before we’re closing you down!” So we’d give each other a wink and that meant shoot the wide, and then without cutting I would go “RESET!” And Daniel Radcliffe would run back into the first position and Dane would run back and they’d fix each other’s hair and put back the props. She’d go in for the close up, and we’d get coverage for the scene that way. And what I was most impressed by, she’s so intuitive; like a documentary camera person knowing and following the actors, she knew what moment to get. While creating this amazing kind of beautiful palette and light at the same time.

What was the relationship like between you and the actors, and how was it like for them to step into these iconic roles?

John: We spent time getting to know each other before we started and building a real level of trust with everyone and I think everyone knew they were getting into a crazy production and there wasn’t going to be any time on set to really make choices. And so getting to know everyone and really building that trust really helped. And then I stole a method from Coppola; we did a week of rehearsal in which we did improv scenes that weren’t in the script, so people wouldn’t get attached to line readings and wouldn’t feel un-fresh when they got to set. But we still formed connections. Like with Jack [Kerouac] and Edie [Parker], the scene where we first meet them for example. The actors started building relationships with each other. So when we got to set, everyone had a good idea of who the character was.

And the other thing we did, obviously there was a lot of homework that everyone had to do with this movie. But not to be under the shadow of these big legends – and we kind of did this too to some degree in the writing. In the biographies, I only let them read up to where the characters were at this point of the movie. I didn’t want them playing the big heroes at the end, you know, later on in their lives. I wanted them to play awkward insecure characters. Like Jack Houston came up to me and was like “I’m fucking terrified to play Kerouac.” And I’m like, “You’re just playing a guy named Jack, he’s a jock, he doesn’t fit in, he’s got the soul of a poet. Go.” And that I kind of think freed everybody and kind of took away any need to portray somebody bigger than life.

Can you speak about the decisions made on how to handle the drug sequences and the writing process, which are done in a very unique way?

John: That came out of a lot of rewriting in the edit room with my editor Brian. That first montage where Allen starts to create and that backward kind of motion, we were trying to figure out something that everybody’s been trying to figure out for decades, which is how to visualize the writing process and not just have the stereotype: the smoking, the sitting at the typewriter. And so we started playing with the idea of going back into memories in the movie. Cause the way Austin wrote the poem in the movie, which is really brilliant, is he took those words and pieces from Allen’s experience over the course of the film to build a poem. And so by going back actually visually to those moments, it made it much more active.

What is the future of the film in terms of wider release?

John: We were very fortunate that last week at Sundance, Sony Classics picked us up to distribute the film.

[Audience applauds]

John: And I was just in their office coming up with a game plan today. I can’t tell you exactly when, but sometime in the fall. And if you know anything about fall movies, you know what their agenda is. And that’s very, very cool.

[Audience applauds]

Could you keep going with sequels?

John: There could be five sequels to this movie! What with the drama these guys had in their lives. I don’t think we’re gonna be the ones to write it and direct it though. After spending nine years with these guys, you kind of want to make some new friends. But yeah, the next chapter is them all getting together in New York and hanging out with junkies and you know, starting that phase of their life. And getting arrested, new crimes, new murders, new everything in their lives.

Do you see any changes you want to bring to the film for the fall release?

John: Every time I see it. You never stop wanting to change it. Let’s just say there are a lot of scenes that are on the cutting room floor. There’s much more to this movie than what you saw. They [Sony] are very cool. They’re like, you know what? You’re the artist. We’re not gonna get in the way. It’s pretty amazing. And so I’m going to show them some of the moments that I missed and see whether or not they’re really needed or not.

The Q&A is wrapped up by the theater, John and Austin thank the audience, invite them all out for a drink at the bar around the corner, and are met with a standing ovation.

100th London Critics' Circle Awards - January 20, 2013

100th London Critics' Circle Awards - January 20, 2013

Interviews by Claire Furner
Transcribed by Felicia Grady, Aimee Schechter, and Kaytee Schwartz

  • Helena Bonham Carter
  • Toby Jones
  • Mike Newell

Be The Red Carpet: What’s it like having such an insane fan-base? They’re so loyal. I see there’s a squiggle going outside.

Helena Bonham Carter: It’s so sweet. I see lots of young women which is very touching.

Be The Red Carpet: So they are insane. In a good way.

Helena Bonham Carter: Apparently I’m insane. I mean they seem to make me out – that I inspire their costumes or whatever, but as long as… Anyway, it’s nice to be liked, basically. Yeah, and they seem very happy and sweet and fun.

MuggleNet: I’m from MuggleNet, a Harry Potter fansite, so I’m a massive fan and Bellatrix is huge amongst all the fans, but Rupert Grint’s recently been confirmed to be filming some short scenes for the theme park, so I’m wondering if you know anything, or are involved. Would you make any comment?

Helena Bonham Carter: I’m not sure if I’m allowed to say. I’ve think I’ve been gagged.

MuggleNet: So that’s a possible involvement then.

Helena Bonham Carter: Mhm. Read what you will.

MuggleNet: Congratulations on your award tonight.

Helena Bonham Carter: Thank you.

Unknown: How does it feel to be honored tonight?

Helena Bonham Carter: It’s very nice to win an award. Because obviously they’re a bit [unintelligible] and we all hate critics and – because we think they all hate us, and then you get a nice one and you say [unintelligible] and basically they echo your own inner critic. I think that’s why we give it so much importance and we give so much greatness. So anyway, obviously it’s nice to get it off [unintelligible]

Unknown: You have so many iconic roles, and I guess that’s why you’re being honored tonight, certainly a handful is [unintelligible], Les Mis, and Harry Potter, everything. Is there one that is particularly close to your heart?

Helena Bonham Carter: Hmm it’s like choosing a favorite child. I know, no. I mean, I loved doing Mrs. Roberts, and I just hope I carry on getting them. The only thing about this award is that it’s a lifetime achievement, it sounds like someone hopes we would stop. I just want another good job.

Mail on Sunday: So what are you going to do now? Are you going to take some time off acting?

Helena Bonham Carter: I don’t know. Tim’s taking some time out we’re trying to be parents. Which is a lot harder than anything else.

Claire: Hi, Toby. Hey, sorry. I’m from MuggleNet. [unintelligble] fansite.

Toby: Ah, MuggleNet. I wonder what your website is [unintelligible].

[Claire laughs]

Claire: I was just wondering. I listened to your interview with the Empire podcast recently, and you told how you didn’t really know much about Dobby and Harry Potter when you first took the role. How do you feel now on the other side of it all? When the franchise ended and you were invited back for the final film.

Toby: Oh, you know. It’s a boring answer, but you feel very proud to be part of something like that. I hope I’m being falsely modest when I say that Dobby is… it’s not one that… It’s created by all the people who are fantastic special effects people. The modelers. Primarily, like all the characters in that story, [unintelligble] themselves. They project into the story and create a huge air of expectation which makes the makers all honorable. I feel very proud to be part of that cast, and Dobby’s a great, great character, but I have to say I only take partial responsibility.

Claire: [laughs] And Harry Potter is just one of the many franchises you’ve been part of.

[Claire and Toby laugh]

Claire: Yeah. Are you going to be in the next Hunger Games?

Toby: Yeah, I’ve shot that I get… Every now and then they ask me to go in and improvise with Stanley Tucci..

Claire: Quite fun, though.

Toby: Quite often they fly me over to America, and I go and improvise for an afternoon and do that. It’s not the hardest, most taxing job I’ve ever done, but I’m very proud to be part of that because I think the books are tremendous, and I know from my daughters they’re compelling books. Again. I feel very happy I’m able to represent what they read.

Unknown: [unintelligible] anyone in particular?

Toby: Not anyone in particular, but I was weird. I popped up. I’m in America, and I’m challenged watching sports I don’t understand. With people speaking very intensely. Those ESPN guys.

Unknown: [unintelligible]

Unknown: So there’s a kind of [unintelligible] What do you think fans will expect from that section of [unintelligible]?

Toby: As I say, I’m only there very temporarily, but I’ve been saying it’s got a different director. They’re very different. Very different. They have a different sense of visual ability, and I think he’ll want to bring his own mark to it. They’ll want to respect the books. They said to me, “The second book is very different. It’s all about establishing [unintelligible].

Unknown: Jennifer is Oscar nominated this year, what do you think makes such a remarkable talent?

[Everyone laughs]

Toby: I saw her at the Golden Globes last weekend [unintelligible] her award for Silver Lining’s Playbook.I worked with her on a film that’s coming up, serene, and she is remarkable in that she… It’s not that she’s uber confident or uber flashy or arrogant. She’s an incredibly straightforward person. Now all of this may feel natural to you, but it doesn’t always feel natural for actors, and she handles it all with such ease. She has a huge part. It calls for a huge admirer of yourself [unintelligible] nominated. [unintelligible] recognition mean to you. When I took the part of Gilderoy in Berberia Sound Studio, I came to terms with the fact that I love this film. I thought almost definitely I’d be one of very few people who would ever see it. It felt so strange and peculiar. What I’d underestimated was the amount that critics understood what the director was doing. That whole world of [unintelligible] film. And that whole very [unintelligible], strange atmosphere. Picture creations. It’s been real a surprise to me and a real thrill that the film has done as well as it’s done. I found it hilarious when I read it, and scariness [unintelligible]. I’m going to finish up what I was working on just before Christmas [unintelligible]. I go back in February to do some finishing touches.

Unknown: [unintelligible]

Toby: [unintelligible] In America.

Unknown: [unintelligible] Have you seen this before?

Toby: I haven’t seen it because it hasn’t come out. When I’ve been in America, there’s no doubt [unintelligible].

Unknown: How did you get inside the persona of Hitchcock?

Toby: Now that’s a long question. I don’t know. Alfred Hitchcock. I have a very strong image of him in my mind. He’s very well known to people. For a director he was actually a hero. He was very… well, self [unintelligible]. And [unintelligible] strong image of him. The script is written… I mean, it’s very hard to answer that question.

Toby: Hi. Hello. How are you? Are you okay?

Be the Red Carpet: It’s the anniversary of Doctor Who this year. And you had a really big role in that. What’s it like being a part of this huge British franchise?

Toby: Well, you said I had a big role. I had only one episode.

Be the Red Carpet: Yeah, but it was a big role in that…

Toby: Well, I’ve only come to realize that after [unintelligible]. Again, at the risk of repeating myself, my kids are big Doctor Who fans, and I love the character. I love many characters. It felt like I was able to take a piece out of Doctor Who while being in it.

[Claire laughs]

Toby: It felt like a very interesting position to take by Steven Moffat. I really loved…

Be the Red Carpet: [unintelligible] You got to be mean but funny at the same time as well. Thank you.

Toby: Mean and funny. [unintelligible]

Claire: Thank you very much. [unintelligible] question. Thank you.

Be the Red Carpet: Thank you.

Talie: Nice to meet you. [unintelligible] You’re obviously a good British director and you have worked with the cream of the crop, [unintelligible]

Mike Newell: [unintelligible]

Talie: [unintelligible] …British talent and British films in the world.

Mike: Yes, of course it is.

[Talie laughs]

Mike: [laughs] Of course it is! Silly. Of course we’re not.

Talie: You did Harry Potter and you’re doing Great Expectations and they’re almost like a Harry Potter reunion. Was that on purpose or is that just because they’re the best, the British?

Mike: Oh they’re the best. They’re just the best. There is a huge difference between American actors and British actors. It’s almost philosophical. The British actors always come from stage training, and on the stage the actor controls. It’s him that makes it go quick, it’s him that makes it go slow. He’s loud, he’s quiet. He’s right there doing it and he’s in control of you, the audience. In America, the actors know that they’re not. The actors know that they [unintelligible] with the producers, the directors, the cameraman, the technician those are the guys that propel all the American actor can do is be very focused when he finally gets [unintelligible] The English actors have a much bigger field to work.

Talie: Is there anyone you haven’t worked with that you would like to?

Mike: Yeah, there are loads.

Talie: Anyone in particular?

Mike: There are just too many to name. Too many. I’m sorry about that.

Talie: It’s fine.

Mike: It’s true.

Talie: You’ve made your mark obviously with Harry Potter with a younger audience that might have never seen some of your films before. How do you feel you’ve made your mark on history? Those films will go down in history. Those 8 films that were so phenomenal, how did it feel having the responsibility to carry one of those films?

Mike: I had a really good time. It’s very, very exciting. They give you an enormous budget.

[Talie laughs]

Mike: They give you the best actors in the world. They give you a film that you really want to see. You always take a film out to preview and when you put it in front of a preview audience, the audience doesn’t know what it’s going to see. So we went along to a little suburban cinema in Chicago and the man who was running the screening came down to the front and said, “Good afternoon ladies and gentleman and children and this afternoon’s film is going to be Harry Potter 4” and the kid in front of me went, “Yes! Yes! Yes!”

[Talie laughs]

Mike: It’s wonderful, exciting. [unintelligible]

Talie: My last question is obviously another Harry Potter one, but you got to work with Robert Pattinson before he was Robert Pattinson. Do you feel like you’ve got an eye for new talent as it’s going to emerge.

Mike: Have I got a what?

Talie: An eye for talent that’s going to be pretty big, because he is huge now.

Mike: Right. Yes, I know. [laughs]

[Talie laughs]

Mike: Yeah, I do know. He was obviously really good for that movie. He looks like kind of the doomed fighter pilot.

[Talie laughs]

Mike: The head boy who is going to go into the trenches and get shot in his second day. He just had that thing.

[Talie laughs]

Mike: And he is a brilliant vampire. He’s really good. He’s a sweet guy. He’s a clever guy. He is not a dope at all.

Talie: I didn’t think he is. Thank you very much.

Claire: Sorry. Carrying on from Harry Potter. How did you stay in tuned with the others films as they happened? Obliviously you were the fourth one and there were four after you. Did you stay tuned? Did you see them a lot? Did you talk to any directors?

Mike: I don’t even see my own films a lot. When I finish them, I only watch them once. Maybe years after it I will. I saw them all. It’s interesting to see how they went. The producers [unintelligible] are really clear about it. They want somebody different each time and they were so happy with David, that they stayed with him for four after that. I was very interested to see how they went.

Claire: You are presenting Helena with her award this evening, for you as well, Great Expectations, I just wondered, was she the first choice for that role or was there a casting process? There was no competition.

Mike: [unintelligible] And I think that I was heading towards Helena from [unintelligible]

Claire: People say she was born to play that role.

Talie: People say she is a great actress. She has lots of versatility as well.

Mike: In lots of ways, the audience makes people popular. The audience has to say “We want to see more of you, we want to see what she would do there.”

Talie: Yeah.

Mike: Helena has colossal range. That’s a variety of what she does. The energy that she brings is terrific. [unintelligible] Which is tremendous really.

Talie: Yeah, it’s great. [laughs] Have you seen her in Les Mis?

Mike: I have, yes.

Talie: What did you think?

Mike: Well she’s terrific. She’s a very good actor [unintelligible] The spinning top.

Talie: The spinning top, yeah.

Mike: [unintelligible] It’s really big.

Talie: Yeah it is. It’s very big. It’s fantastic. [unintelligible] She is going to be reunited with Johnny Depp for the Lone Ranger. [unintelligible]

Mike: [unintelligible] I’m sure it’ll be a good script. I’m sure that Johnny is a brilliant Tonto.

Talie: Yeah. Thank you!

MinaLima Interview at LeakyCon - August 9-12, 2012

MinaLima Interview at LeakyCon - August 9-12, 2012

Transcribed by Tracey Wong

Laura Reilly: So first, thank you very much for coming and meeting with us. So, I know you guys have your session with fans today, so I guess the first thing is just the conference and what brought you here, and what was your goal of coming here and showing everyone your work?

Eduardo Lima: I think it was to share all our work and experience… [unintelligible]

Miraphora Mina: I think one of the – apart from the amazing… [unintelligible]

Eduardo: It’s amazing because they think, “Oh my God, it was exactly how I imagined it.”

Miraphora: Yeah.

Eduardo: [unintelligible]

Laura: Okay. So, how did you first get involved with everything as a team together with the Harry Potter series?

Miraphora: Well, I was already working for Stuart Craig on previous films. When Potter came along, I was kind of part of his crew. It’s all very crew based so you don’t necessarily stick with the same team. And he called me and said, “I got this picture that I went to work on with Harry Potter.” I didn’t know – I was like, “Harry who?”

[Everyone laughs]

Miraphora: So, for about four months – I think he was operating four months before that – and so I went along and started working with him. And then Eduardo joined me on the second movie to come and do work experience, which then kind of turned in…

Eduardo: [unintelligible]

[Everyone laughs]

Kat Miller: So, did you read the book once you got the job?

Miraphora: Yes. Yeah, I did. But it was 2000 so I guess it was still fairly early days and I probably wouldn’t have read it at that moment if I wasn’t already a fan. And I had a small child, so I was a bit out of the loop anywhere to what was around. So, it was quite a revelation.

Kat: Were you picturing things in your head as you were reading? I know I was. I’m a [unintelligible] artist, myself. So…

Miraphora: Oh yeah.

Kat: When I read through, I could imagine.

Miraphora: Well, the kind of work that I would have done before and I would definitely try and find is work that involves historical references and recreating pieces that don’t exist already, so that experience doing contemporary graphics or contemporary films. So, this was a kind of – it was a marriage of all those things because it was fantasy but also kind of had some rigid references to historical periods, which we then worked out and had massive freedom to kind of work with.

Eduardo: [unintelligible]

Kat: Never had to really compromise on anything? The directors?

Eduardo: Sometimes we had to.

Miraphora: Yeah, there’s a lot of – I mean, we talked a lot in the presentation about having the freedom we did because on the whole we did, but it was very much a sort of…

Eduardo: But sometimes we could because we get so excited. [unintelligible] The message needs to be really quick… [unintelligible]

Miraphora: Yeah.

Eduardo: [unintelligible]

Miraphora: Yes.

Eduardo: [unintelligible] There wasn’t any problem getting the director…

Kat: Is there anything you designed that’s completely different from your original thought?

Eduardo: Well, one of the – some of the… [unintelligible]

Kat: They get more simple.

Eduardo: More simple, because the scene needs to be really quick…

Kat: Right.

Eduardo: … so you need to read the…

Miraphora: And in terms of the redesign, the first concepts we showed Stuart Craig for the Weasley shop were – because we got indulgent and we were like, “Ooh, packaging!” We love packaging, so we kind of – it was all [unintelligible] and quite intricate packaging. And he was just very politely – because he’s a gentleman – he was like, “It’s just a bit too lovely, and you need to make this vulgar and shake it up.” So, we did. We just…

Eduardo: [unintelligible] They thought it was too boring. It needs to be more…

Miraphora: And of course, it’s something that made sense that we were just – we weren’t really the ones who had created that shop. We hadn’t created the shop…

Kat: Right.

Miraphora: … the Weasley boys had created the shop, and we’re just the vehicle to do that for them. So, then we started to look at – try and make colors clash, and make the printing techniques wrong so that things weren’t quite aligned, and all those little details…

Eduardo: [unintelligible]

Kat: Right.

Laura: Mhm.

Miraphora: So, those were deliberate decisions to try and contribute to the much bigger picture, which is the whole shop, you know?

Kat: Right.

Eduardo: The printing… [unintelligible]

Kat: It all feels very Weasley, so you did okay.

[Everyone laughs]

Eduardo: And that was the amazing thing because it was the first time that we could introduce loads of colors…

Kat: Right.

Eduardo: … on the set of Harry Potter, because if you look back now it was the one shop that’s just really – it’s bright, and we could… [unintelligible]

Kat: Yeah, it was great. I was at the studio tour five or six months ago when it opened, and it’s just a blast of color at the end.

Eduardo and Miraphora: Yeah.

Kat: It’s beautiful. I really love it.

Laura: Now, what is it like designing something that has so much detail or something like the Marauder’s Map or when you know is only going to be on the screen for a short amount of time? It’s not going to – certain things aren’t going to be picked up on. How is it translating such tiny detail into a big movie?

Miraphora: Well, sometimes you know what the shot is if they have done a storyboard already. That’s the ultimate thing. Not that they will necessarily stick to it in the cut, but they – on the whole, we might know that. But otherwise we just have to create the whole world and just then hopefully give them enough information that they can then introduce the detail. And then sometimes you get the other way around as well. You created something and maybe you’ll notice that, and then you go to the screening and it’s a hundred feet poster on the screen.

[Everyone laughs]

Miraphora: It’s one detail and you think, “Ahh!”

Laura: Speaking of, is there anything that you can look back on for the earlier films that maybe had done something differently or interpreted differently?

Eduardo: [unintelligible] My first piece of graphic that I had to design was the pumpkin juice, the label. [unintelligible] I knew if I could go back now [unintelligible] I think that that’s… [unintelligible]

Miraphora: Yeah.

Eduardo: Because when you go back…

Miraphora: Yeah.

Eduardo: [unintelligible] “Oh, we should have had those.”

Miraphora: Yeah.

Eduardo: “Oh, why didn’t we use that before? Why did we do that in the film?”

Miraphora: Yeah.

Laura: Now, do you remember – since you [unintelligible] up with the first film, what was the first piece you did for the film?

Eduardo: Oh, we were… [unintelligible]

Miraphora: Yeah, I think it was the acceptance letters. It was just sort of irony because it was like I had been accepted at eleven into Hogwarts…

[Everyone laughs]

Miraphora: … and is the beginning of a very good journey. So, that was – yeah, quite a…

Eduardo: [unintelligible]

Miraphora: Yeah.

Laura: And you mentioned in the panel that with the letters, they had to be a certain – like it had to be a very lightweight material because they were falling. So, what is it like designing things on certain – having to take into account materials or the way [unintelligible] for the Weasley twins, the shotty packaging…

Eduardo: Yes.

Laura: … or something like that. So, taking that into account such a special…

Miraphora: Well, the filmmakers are very – you know, it’s a craft which involves lots of skills, but also lots of new experiences. So, all the time we were kind of working things out according to the needs of the scene. So, I think that might be the first time, I don’t know. I remember the owls had to fly with letters in their beaks, so it wasn’t like there was a kind of measure or a standard that we could follow. So, it wasn’t until we made the real envelope with the real stamp on the back and seal on the back that – then of course, the animal handlers came back to me and said, “This isn’t working out. Can you change it?” So, it’s a very organic process in every respect. And the same with the flying letters that we knew we had to make thousands, so we went straight to the special effects supervisors and asked, “Is this paper okay? That’s for a test.” So, there’s quite a lot of testing and experimenting.

Eduardo: [unintelligible] and of course, that scene they made things float, and the special effects say, “Oh, that is too heavy to fly.” So, we had to do… it turns out that we had to cut things out. I remember we spent all night…

Miraphora: [laughs] Yes.

Eduardo: …cutting paper for the special effects.

Kat: What’s your process like for the graphics? Do you draw? Do you use Photoshop?

Miraphora: Photoshop is our main kind of friend and…

Eduardo: [unintelligible]

Miraphora: Yeah.

Eduardo: We still…

Miraphora: There’s a lot of drawing as well, and scanning. So, we said before that it was kind of a melting pot for other materials and other techniques to come through as a sort of vehicle to the final product. So, we kind of know what we want to [unintelligible] at the end. But there’s a lot of – you know, the Marauder’s Map. It looks like a handmade thing because it is originally drawn by hand, and it’s scanned in so that we can have the facility to make multiples because we had to…

Eduardo: At the end, it was because the demands of the field are so big that [unintelligible] Because on the first two films, we didn’t even have a photocopier [unintelligible] cut and paste all day.

Kat: Wow.

Laura: Wow.

Eduardo: [unintelligible]

Miraphora: [unintelligible] Photoshop… [unintelligible]

[Everyone laughs]

Kat: Oh yeah. I bet.

Miraphora: And it’s fantastic.

Kat: Is it really different creating things that you know won’t be animated? Like the Albus Dumbledore book or the Marauder’s Map with the special effects layer on it.

Miraphora: Is it different – sorry.

Kat: As opposed to something like The Quibbler that doesn’t move.

Miraphora: Oh, I see.

Kat: Or like a poster.

Miraphora: Yeah, I suppose there is less control because we don’t quite know, especially I think with the footsteps and the labels on the map, perhaps we might have done that a bit differently with more conversation. But in terms of photographs…

Eduardo: And sometimes the challenging bit is we’ve designed The Daily Prophet for a scene [unintelligible]

Miraphora: Yeah.

Eduardo: Every single space where they’re going to have a… [unintelligible]

Kat: Okay.

Eduardo: [unintelligible]

Laura: Once they put in those animations, do they come back and show it to you? Like consult you further, or…

Eduardo: Well, sometimes… [unintelligible]

Miraphora: Timeframe for when we were…

Kat: Far from… [unintelligible]

Eduardo: Yes.

Laura: What would you consider your most challenging piece that you had to do? Or something – it was a big project that you’re really proud of or something.

Eduardo: [unintelligible]

Kat: That must have been so fun.

Miraphora: It was, yeah. To design it, because…

Kat: [unintelligible]

Miraphora: Once we had established a palette of colors and… [unintelligible]

Eduardo: [unintelligible]

Miraphora: A lot of decisions were made very quickly… [unintelligible]

Eduardo: Like everything done – most of this stuff within our department… [unintelligible]

Kat: Do you have a favorite?

Miraphora: A favorite prop from in there?

Kat: Yeah. Or in general.

Eduardo: I really like the… [unintelligible]

Miraphora: Yeah.

Eduardo: The rubber chicken.

[Kat laughs]

Eduardo: Because again… [unintelligible]

Laura: Now, what about the Black family tree? That’s another big thing that you did. How was it designing that?

Miraphora: Oh, it was – again, it was just a joy. The first thing to do was to go – as we do with a lot of things…

Eduardo: [unintelligible] They had such a good collection of tapestry. [unintelligible]

Miraphora: Yeah.

Eduardo: [unintelligible]

Miraphora: Do a lot of research.

Laura: Mhm.

Miraphora: [unintelligible] to find out what [unintelligible] you should have. That wasn’t strictly [unintelligible] but to know how much detail you could get in…

J.K. Rowling Press Conference in New York City - August 1, 2006

J.K. Rowling Press Conference in New York City - August 1, 2006

Transcribed by Becky, Lei, and Natalie

Dick Robinson: I’m Dick Robinson of Scholastic, the lucky US publisher of Harry Potter, —the best known, best-loved character on planet Earth, —and of J.K. Rowling, Harry’s brilliant creator. From the moment I met Jo, then unknown eight years ago, I was touched by her graceful confidence, born I think now of her sure [unintelligible] knowledge that Harry Potter would be one of literature’s great characters. I was also struck by her [unintelligible] gift of magic’s consecration, the mind [unintelligible] that at all times absorbed in the consistency of the whole seven-book story that she had imagined from the beginning. And not only was her commitment to the developing story [unintelligible], but it was [also] accompanied by a parallel of readers. Her story and its readers have been linked in her mind from the beginning, even as the readers grow older, and the story artfully unfolds over the years. Our company [unintelligible] teachers, parents, and children [unintelligible] a place to find good stories and great books to help you read and learn. Something we have done in eighty-six years [unintelligible], Harry Potter opening millions of minds to a great story and making reading the best way to learn about yourself. For all of this, thank you, Jo Rowling.

[Audience applauds]

Q: Do you have any surprises in store for us in Book 7?

J.K. Rowling: Surprises about Book 7? Um…… [sigh]

[Audience laughs]

JKR: If anything, I wouldn’t want to share it. I’m well into it; I’m well into the writing a bit now. To an extent the pressure is off, I suppose, because this is the last book, so I feel quite liberated. I would just dissolve the story now, and it’s fun. It’s fun in a way [that] it hasn’t been before because finally I’m doing my resolution. I think some people loathe it; some will love it. It’s actually really good.

Q: What would your advice be for kids who want to be authors?

JKR: Advice for kids who want to be authors? Read. The first thing you should do is read, and the most important thing you should do is read. Initially, I think you’ll imitate the writers you enjoy most, and I think that’s a most important learning process. And by reading, you’ll not only increase your vocabulary but you’ll [also] learn what works and what doesn’t work, what you like, what kind of writing you’ll like, and you’ll learn to analyze it, so I think that’s the most important thing to do. And the other thing is to accept that you’ll waste a lot of trees, I’m telling you. Finally, come up with something that you enjoy.

Q: What will you miss most about the Harry Potter series?

JKR: Everything. I loved writing, and I’ve always been a huge [unintelligible], but I’ve always planned seven books, and I’ve planned this particular ending, and if I get through it and do what I was meant to do when I first invented the story, then I’ll be proud. Then I’ll probably go through a mourning period, and then I’ll think of something else to write.

Q: Given that your children have grown up with the whole Harry Potter thing, have they started exhibiting any magical qualities that you’ve noticed?

JKR: [laughs] Magical? Well…, young witches and wizards in my books are very destructive in their own phase, and I believe they got that. But otherwise, I would say, probably not. My eldest daughter is very scientific, very logical, which I think is great

Q: Jo, Stephen, do you want to add to that?

JKR: I understand why someone would kill a character, from the point of view of not allowing others to continue writing it after the original author is dead. I don’t always enjoy killing my characters. I didn’t enjoy killing the character who died at the end of Book 6 (I’m being discreet just in case anyone hasn’t finished the book). I really didn’t enjoy doing that, but I had been planning that for years, so as John [Irving] says, it wasn’t quite as poignant as you might imagine; I’d already done my grieving when I actually came to write it.

Q: Firstly, your six-year absence… is [doing interviews] tougher than last time around? [unintelligible] And secondly, are you designating any fraction of the proceeds to the victims of the war in Lebanon?

JKR: To answer the second part of the question, the reason that I wanted to nominate Médecins Sans Frontières [Doctors Without Borders] is because I used to work for Amnesty International, and that’s where I first came across the organization. I noticed that every time there was a situation, like the war in Lebanon, Doctors Without Borders were some of the first people on the ground. It’s a very, very effective organization, and as the name clearly states, it doesn’t matter what your religious affiliation is, it doesn’t matter what your ethnic group is, it doesn’t matter what your circumstance is, if you are physically in need they will help you. They will do everything they can to help you. So since having made money, it’s an organization I’ve supported financially, and I thought that we were doing one great charity that deals with a specific group of people, and therefore I thought it would be great if we did a charity that deals with, literally, the world. Wherever there is need. So that’s why I chose that. The first one with my six-year absence… you didn’t say anything wrong. I absolutely love coming here, and I particularly love coming to New York. It’s one of my favorite cities. During those six years I’ve been pregnant twice and had small children so that’s why I’ve not been doing the tours, and they’re old enough to travel now, so it’s great to be back.


JKR: I did an interview last year in which I was asked this question. In the genre in which I’m writing, you usually find that the hero has to go on alone, and there comes a point where he falls away and truly has to act heroic. Harry is not completely alone. He still has his two faithful sidekicks. This was summarized for me by the person who asked the question, “You mean the old wizard always gets it?”” [laughs] and that is fundamentally… what I was saying. So that’s why in these sort of epic sagas, the hero, eventually, has to fight alone.

Q: Have there been any changes to what you initially planned out?

JKR: It is different to an extent. The essential plot is what I always planned. When working toward the end I planned from the beginning, but a couple of characters [whom] I expected to survive have died, and one character got a reprieve, so there have been some fairly major changes.

Q: How comfortable or uncomfortable do you feel reading your own work?

JKR: To tell you the truth I’m not that comfortable reading my own work, and that’s why I’m going to be doing a shorter reading tonight, – and I do think that the people [who] have come tonight would rather ask questions than hear me doing a long reading. I would like to think so anyway because I’m not very comfortable doing it, and I don’t think I’m particularly good at reading.

Q: How do you feel about fans accusing you of cruelty for killing off characters, and secondly, how do you feel about the future, when the series is over?

JKR: When fans accuse me of sadism, which doesn’t happen that often, but I feel I’m toughening them up to going on to read John and Stephen’s books. [laughs] They’ve got to be toughened up somehow; it’s a cruel literary world out there. I’m doing them a favor! And how do I feel about the series ending? On the one hand I feel sad. Harry has been an enormous part of my life, and it’s been quite a turning point in the face of my life, and he’s always been the constant, so there will be a sense of bereavement, but there will also be a sense of liberation because there are pressures involved for something as popular, and as wonder as it’s been, there will be a certain freedom in escaping that particular part of writing Harry Potter.

Q: Do you have any ideas already about what you’re going to be working on next?

JKR: A shorter, mercifully, book for children. It’s kind of half written, so I’ll probably go to that next.

J.K. Rowling on "Richard & Judy" - June 26, 2006

J.K. Rowling on "Richard & Judy" - June 26, 2006

Richard (R): Now at some point over the last ten years or so, J.K. Rowling quietly became apparently richer than the Queen. So is the woman who created Harry Potter now in the position to say, “Off with his head”? And how has becoming one of the world’s wealthiest people affected somebody who barely a decade ago was a single mother struggling on £70 a week in benefits? Well, we’re going to find out now because J.K. Rowling, or Jo as she likes to be called, is giving us one of her incredibly rare interviews, and it’s live. But first: the fruits of her extraordinary imagination.

[Clip from Goblet of Fire is played]

Richard: And Jo joins us now. I love that clip because it epitomizes for me what’s really good for me about the nature of your books. I mean we’ve [Judy and Richard] just left this, this valley of pain and distress, which is bringing up adolescents…

J.K. Rowling (JK): [laughs] Oh, good…

R: You’re about to enter it, aren’t you?

JK: Yeah, something to look forward to then.

R: It’s just as bad as you think it’s going to be. But that’s what’s lovely about the sequence of books is that you see Harry turning into a grumpy adolescent and all the others around him going through these adolescent things. You’ve drawn up very accurately, and you don’t have adolescent kids yourself. I mean, is that just based on friends and conversations with friends who have got them?

JK: Well, I taught teenagers for a while.

R: Of course, of course you did.

JK: They were my favorite age group to teach, in fact. So I think I drew on a bit of that, and I drew on memories of how grumpy we all were when we were teenagers. We weren’t…

Judy (J): Absolutely.

JK: My sister’s here to watch this, and she was very grumpy, so I drew it on her.

J: Is she older than you or younger?

JK: No, she’s younger, two years younger than me, yeah.

J: Right. I mean, what I want to end… to happen at the end of the whole Harry Potter thing. I want Harry to marry Ginny, and I want Ron to marry Hermione. And all that and… no, I don’t. Yes, I do. I want Ron to marry Hermione. That’s fine. And I will be so upset if it doesn’t happen, but of course the last one is at the moment residing in your safe, yeah?

JK: The last, the final chapter is hidden away, although it’s now changed very slightly.

J: Is it?

JK: Yeah, one character got a reprieve.

R: Oh, really?

JK: Yeah.

J: I mean, you are… I just…

JK: But I have to say two die that I didn’t intend to [kill].

J: Oh, no. Two much-loved ones?

JK: Well, a price has to be paid.

R: Significant?

JK: We are dealing with pure evil! So they don’t target the extras, do they? They go straight for the main characters… or I do.

R: We don’t care about extras. You told your husband, obviously. You confided in him all things, and you told him.

JK: Well, not everything. That would be reckless.

R: Well, yes, let’s be honest. That would be stupid. But you did tell him which ones were up for the chop. Apparently he shuddered, and said, “Oh, no, not that one.”

JK: He did on one of them, yeah.

R: Listen, all the papers who have been promoting this interview today clearly want us to ask you, “Do you kill off Harry Potter?” It’s a ridiculous question because are you likely to say yes or no? I mean, obviously not. You couldn’t possibly answer that, but have you ever attempted to do him a little more harm than he’s suffered? I mean, in the same way that…

JK: He’s already suffered enough. I mean, what… ?

J: He’s already suffered. He’s been through the mill.

JK: How could I? Every year of his adolescence and childhood he’s saved the wizarding world. And no one believes him, and he spends his entire life saving the world, and then next term he’s just back at school being bullied. He’s Harry Potter, and he’s just saved your entire school. And everyone thinks he’s just a bit annoying.

R: You know how Doyle just got sick up there with Sherlock Holmes, so he pushed him off the cliff?

JK: Yeah.

R: I’m not asking if you’ve done that, obviously, but have you been tempted to bump him off because it’s just huge…

JK: No, I’ve never been tempted to kill him off before the end of Book 7 because I’ve always planned seven books; that’s where I want to finish: on seven books.

J: Yeah.

JK: But I can completely understand the mentalitiy of an author who thinks I’m going to kill him off because then there can be no non-author-written sequels so they call it. So it will end with me. And after I’m dead and gone, they won’t be able to bring back the character and write a load of…

R: That never struck me before…

JK: Well, I mean, Agatha Christie did that with Qwerrow, didn’t she? She wanted to finish him off herself.

J: So you say you completely understand it, but you’re not going to commit yourself?

JK: No, I’m not going to commit myself… I don’t want the hate mail apart from anything else.

J: Absolutely. When you started off, when you first thought of the idea of Harry, what started off first? Was it the idea of the magic or the character or boarding school? When you were young, were you a big keen reader of boarding school stories?

JK: I read a few when I was younger.

J: Angela of Brazil?

JK: I never read Angela of Brazil. I read Mallory Towers, and they really don’t bear reading, do they?

J: No.

JK: When I was six I really liked them. But I think Harry and magic came together, so the essential idea was a boy who was a wizard but didn’t know. That was the original premise. So I worked back from there, and that’s where all the backstory came from. And there’s a LOT of backstory. In fact, now [that] I’m in Book 7, I realize JUST how much backstory there is because there’s a lot to explain and a lot to find out.

R: But you must have had to invent the backstory further down the line because you couldn’t possibly have thought about this massive… in one go…

JK: Oh, no, you couldn’t. I’ve got I don’t know how many characters in play. Something ridiculous… around 200.

R: But did you ever think as you were writing the subsequent books, “Oh, why did I write that in Book 2? That’s screwed me now. I can’t write such and such now”?

JK: Yes. I don’t think I’ve ever done that on a really major plot point. But certainl, a couple of times I’ve hit a snag and thought, “Oh, I’ve boxed myself in. If only I’d left something open earlier, and I would have been able to find an easier way to wriggle through that hole.” And I’ve always found a way. It is a complicated plot.

R: The last book’s finished now. The last chapter, as you said, is in your safe?

JK: No, the last book’s not finished. But I’m well into it now.

R: But you’ve written the finale already?

JK: I wrote the final chapter in something like 1990.

J: Really? So you knew exactly how the series was going to end?

JK: Well, yeah. Pretty much.

J: Gosh!

JK: Yeah, I’ve been lambasted about that by a couple of people. I think they thought it was very arrogant of me to write the ending of my seven-book series when I didn’t have a publisher and no one has ever heard of me. But I mean when you’ve got absolutely nothing, and no one knows you, you can plan whatever you want. Who cares?

J: Absolutely. And the other thing before we ask how you started writing was what struck us all, especially our son who is a mega Harry Potter fan, was when things started to get darker in the books. I think it started in the second one with the Mudbloods, but it really got very dark in Book 3 with the Dementors and all the of that. Was that something you intended all along, or did it just develop?

JK: It is something I intended because as Harry is growing up, these parallell things are happening. He’s getting older and older and more and more skilled as a wizard, and simultaneously Voldemort is getting more and more powerfu,l and he’s returning to a physical form because, of course, in the first book he’s not even a physical entity. But I’ve always said when people say that to me – and I agree that the books have gotten a lot darker – that the imagery in the first book where Voldemort appears in the back of Quirrell’s head I still think is one of the creepiest things I’ve ever written. I really do. And also the image of the cloaked figure drinking the unicorn blood and slithering across the ground, which was done very well in the film – The Philosopher’s Stone – I think those are very macabre images. So I don’t think that you could say from the first book that I wasn’t setting out my stall, really. I was saying that this is a world where some pretty nasty things can happen.

J: Yes. But what I’m saying is that I started to see some parallels from Book 2 between racism, apartheid, and genocide and all that sort of stuff.

JK: Yes, of course. That was very conscious. Harry is entering this world that a lot of us would fantasize would be wonderful. I’ve got a magic wand, and everything will be fabulous. The point is that human nature is human nature, whatever special powers or tarnets you have. So you walk through – you could say – the looking glass. So he walks into this amazing world, and it is amazing. But he immediately encounters all the problems he thinks he’s left behind.

R: You can run, but you can’t hide.

JK: Yeah. Yes.

R: You talked about having a plan for seven books from the word “go” before you even had a publisher. And you must’ve been doing backhand screams of delight when Philosopher’s Stone got published.

JK: Yes, unbelievable.

R: What pleasure and optimism.

JK: You can pretty much say nothing has come close actually. That’s testament to the amount of euphoria that was…

R: Well, when did the euphoria change from something… ?

JK: … sheer terror.

R: At what point in the books did you think, “Hold on, this isn’t just a best-seller. This isn’t just quite a nice series, which I’m enjoying and the readers… this is unprecedented”? It’s been said that if you put all [printed Harry Potter] books in a big vault, they’d go around the world, around the equator, nearly one and a half times, and we ain’t finished yet. When did you wake up and think, “This is historic”? Because it’s historic. I mean, you will go down in publishing history for the next few centuries.

JK: I honestly don’t think of it in those terms. I’d say for the first three books I was in real denial. I really lived in denial…

J: About the fame?

JK: … for a long time. Yeah, totally. And I think that’s when my reputation for being somewhat…

R: Recluse.

JK: … came from because I was like a rabbit caught in headlights. And the only way I could cope was “Ah, it’s not really that big a deal,” but things keep on happening. They start door-stepping you, and you pick up a paper, and there are casual references to Harry Potter. That’s the freakiest thing is it permeates all the stores, and it becomes… that’s an indication to me how big it’s become more than anything else. I remember there was a phase where I wouldn’t buy the papers because it was becoming a bit strange to me. And normally I devour newspapers, and then it was Wimbeldon – just a few years back – and I thought, “It’s safe to read Wimbeldon. Stop being so… get over yourself.” So I picked up this paper, and I turn to this account of this match with Venus Williams, and they said… I just saw a picture of Harry Potter staring at me, and they were talking about Bludgers, the balls in Quidditch. They were saying her serve was so powerful it was being compared to a Bludger with not much explanation. But that was very cool. Things like that are wonderful.

R: That’s the fame thing, and that’s entering the lexicon of sort of ordinary dialogue and stuff and what they call water-cooler conversations. And that’s not just to deal with reading the latest book. It’s a continuous thing with you now. What about the wealth? Now I don’t want to be [unintelligible] about that because it’s just what it is. But you are unbelievably wealthy beyond the dreams of actors, really. How’s that changed life for you?

JK: Hmm, well, it’s great, frankly.

[JK and R laugh]

R: Thank you for saying that.

JK: I mean, not to crack out the violins or anything, but if you have been through a few years where things have been very tough – and they were very tough – and it’s not so much romanticized, but it’s dismissed in half a sentence: “Oh, starting in a garret.” And occasionally I thought, “Well, you try it, pal. You go there, and you see. It wasn’t a publicity stunt. It was my life.” And at that time I didn’t realize there was going to be this amazing resolution. I thought this would be life in twenty years.

R: But did you ever feel guilty about the amount of money you won because… ?

JK: I did! I absolutely did because it came to the point where.. because initially people were reporting, and they still do frequently report much more than I got, and I’m not pretending I’m hugely wealthy because I am.

[Everyone laughs]

JK: But sometimes they print figures that certainly my account wouldn’t recognize. But in the early days they were saying that I was a millionaire, but I was nowhere near a millionaire. So that’s weird and mind-boggling when you’re used to counting every penny.

R: 70 pounds a week you were on.

JK: Yeah, yes, that’s right.

J: So what was happening to you was that basically there you were, just the same as you’ve ever been, writing this book that you’ve been thinking about writing for ages. And suddenly it took off – just this one book. And suddenly the next book, and then you suddenly realized this person – you, actually – had taken on a life of her own, which wasn’t new at all. And you were completely…

JK: I think that’s completely accurate, and I think that you sit there thinking, “But I’m still the same idiot I was yesterday, and suddenly people have an interest in what I’ve got to say.” And my response to that is that I clammed up as well because I suddenly felt that this light had been shined on me underneath my stone, and it was a time of real turmoil when I first became subjected to that kind of scrutiny because I felt a loyalty to the person I’ve been yesterday. And I don’t want to say, “Oh, it was dreadful,” because it really hadn’t been dreadful. We’ve been doing okay, and I’d been teaching, and my daughter would still say – and said to me yesterday in fact – “We’re happy.” So I didn’t want to sit there and say, “Oh, it’s dreadful. Oh, now it’s fabulous, darling. Now we got a bit of money.”

R: Yeah.

J: And is your daughter… your two new ones are still too little, but Jessica who’s been there with you right from the beginning, really… has she adapted to it okay?

JK: She’s been phenomenal. And it hasn’t always been easy for her because, well, you can imagine, with your mother being J.K. Rowling. At one point I remember her being, metaphorically speaking, up against the school railings. [makes fist] “Tell us what the title of the next book is!”

R: Oh, really?

JK: Yeah. It’s not terribly easy.

J: Up against the school railings?

JK: By other children, trying to get titles out of her. So she was amazing; she was very cool.

R: But what about… it’s not so much to do with the wealth – well, it might have been actually – but certainly the fame thing. Before you met your lovely husband…

JK: He is a lovely husband.

R: He’s a reliable sort and with sort of pop star/rock star looks. [laughs]

[A picture of Jo and her husband, Neil, is shown]

JK: There he is!

R: Before that – the dating between the relationship which lead to your lovely daughter and him – there was this period where you found this immense wealth and success, and you said that dating was really tricky, really hard. Was that because you expected guys to be coming on to you because of who you were?

JK: It wasn’t so much that. To be perfectly honest with you, dating is just tricky if you’re a single mother. That’s it. And the other business was a vaguely complicating factor. But by the time you’ve got a babysitter it’s just… it is the reality of life. I didn’t have a nanny for quite a long time. I didn’t have properly organized childcare because I think I was just, again, in denial about it when I needed it. And then there came a point when I clearly needed it. I couldn’t cover all my professional obligations even though I was trying to keep them minimal.

R: You wanted to say, “I can cope, I can handle this.”

JK: Yeah, I did, which is very much in my personality to pretend I can cope with things and not ask for help – until I’ve cracked up a bit.

J: So looking at where you are now – I mean personally as well as career-wise, professionally, and all the rest of it – you’re in a very good place, touch wood. If there is any wood around here to touch. Because you’re very happy. You’ve got a lovely family.

JK: I’m really lucky. And I think that every day, I swear. Every day I think how lucky I am.

R: Just looking at the constant theme… we’re going to take a break in a couple of minutes, but then you’re back, and we’ve got some children who have questions. But, as you’ve said yourself, the theme of the books is death, isn’t it?

JK: Yes, largely.

R: Largely. It’s a hugely powerful theme. And you were writing the first one when your mother died at 45, and you were very close to her. Had you envisaged that death would be such a powerful theme before her death, or did it inform a sense of loss?

JK: Definitely informed

R: Did it?

JK: In the first plot… I’d only been writing Harry for six months before she died, and in the first draft I really finished off his parents in quite a

flippant way, and then Mom died, and I just couldn’t. I couldn’t finish off his parents in that flippant way.

R: No.

JK: I couldn’t – not now knowing what it felt like to lose your parents.

J: So that’s why Harry’s parents maintain this presence.

JK: They do, yes.

J: In the photographs.

R: And in the mirror, of course.

JK: And in the mirror, yeah.

R: And when you wrote that I wouldn’t be surprised if you were to say that you have shed a few tears when you wrote those sequences, when Harry sits in front of the mirror, lost…

JK: That’s my favorite chapter in the first book.

R: It’s a lovely chapter. It’s a lovely chapter.

JK: Mm. One of my favorite chapters in the whole series.

J: Well, that’s what’s so reassuring about the books because they are… they do deal with straightforward evil and death. And you always seem to leave a thread somewhere even though they’re in sight. I mean, I love all the Headmasters – the past Headmasters and teachers. I’ll tell you what – just to end this particular section – I always loved that… what was his name? What was the one [who] was always putting his hair in curlers? The professor.

JK: Gilderoy.

R: That’s right, yeah.

J: Yeah. I love that – the idea of him in the evenings… he’s sitting in this thing just taking his curlers out and putting them in and everything. So there’s a great deal of humor in the book as well. Particularly that’s just part of your character. I mean, that’s how you do…

JK: Yeah, I think so, though you wouldn’t always imagine it that way.

[Everyone laughs]

JK: I’m just trying to do the old cumudgeon. But yes. I think so.

JK and R: Yeah.

R: Well, as you say, the last chapter is in the safe. You’re tying up the rest of the manuscript. But this is the last of the books. That’s it. That’s seven.

JK: Yeah. Well, I’ve always said I might do a kind of encyclopedia of the world for charity.

R: Okay.

JK: Just to round it off.

R: So that’s not the same as the creative…

JK: No, absolutely not. No. It’s not the same as the stories.

R: Can you live without Harry?

JK: Well, I’m going to have to learn. It’s going to be tough.

R: Why not extend it to nine then? I mean, seriously. Why stick to the seven? Is it just too much to ask you?

JK: Because I think that you’ve got to go out when you’ve…

R: You’ve done it.

JK: Yeah, you have. I admire the people who go out when people still want more, and that’s what I want to do.

R: But I’m also told – well, actually I read this in the pamphlet, or maybe it was an unguarded comment you made – that you’ve already completed children’s

book, a younger children’s book.

JK: Oh, yeah. It’s not completed, but it’s pretty far on. It’s about halfway done, though.

R: How long has that been on your mind for?

JK: Not nearly as long as Harry. A few years.

R: I mean, are you happy with it?

JK: Yeah, I really like it. It’s for younger children, so it’s kind of a fairytale. It’s a much smaller book.

R: All right.

JK: So that’s not… that would probably be a nice thing to go through after Harry – not another huge tome.

R: So is that in the future then? I mean, can you envision yourself picking up another huge idea like Harry Potter and running it over?

JK: Yeah, if I liked the idea enough I definitely would, but I don’t think that I’m.. I don’t think I’m ever going to have anything like Harry again. I think you just get one like Harry.

J: Well, I think most people will be hoping that at some point in your life you will come back to him in some way, shape, or form. There will be something. ‘Because you’ll have generations.

JK: Harry Potter’s Midlife Crisis.

J: Yeah.

R: Should he survive to see it.

JK: Right.

J: Now just a little statistic here: More people than the combined population of Britain, France, Germany, and Italy – more people – have bought a Harry Potter book. It’s an astonishing literary success story. We’re delighted to have J.K. Rowling on our show today, the creator of the most magical but also surely – health and safety people please note – the most dangerous school in the history of British education, Hogwarts.

[Clip of Goblet of Fire is played]

J: And the kids are here, Jo’ is here. Just before we get to you lot, I mean, it is true about Hogwarts. I mean, it’s terrifying. How do they get away with it?

JK: It’s all fantastic.

J: And what was the other thing I was going to say? Oh, yes, Draco! Draco. The guy who plays Draco Malfoy is much fancied by…

JK: By everyone.

J: By everyone. Do any of the girls here fancy Draco in the films? Do you?

JK: They’re not going to say it, surely.

J: You’re not going to tell me, are you? No. Okay, right.

R: Where’s Luke sitting? Luke? Luke! How old are you, Luke?

Luke: Eight.

R: Eight. Have you read all the books?

Luke: Not really… no.

JK: ‘I don’t know who Harry Potter is.’

R: Not all of them.

J: So you’ve got a good question for Jo then. So what is it, Luke?

Luke: If you were a character in your books, who would you be?

JK: Probably Hermione because she was loosely based on me when I was younger. I was quite annoying like that, so…

J: Were you very much a booky, a booky-schoolgirl?

JK: Yeah, I was, I was that. And that sort of annoying person who underneath is very insecure? Well, I… Hermione is a combination, I think, of my sister and me.

J: Yeah.

JK: Yeah.

J: So you were the one who’d put people in their place with quotations and things that you’d learn.

JK: Well, I don’t know that I’d go that far. But I was snotty, I was snotty.

R: And she’d deck them with a left hook.

JK: She was more of a house-elf then. She was a bit more clueless and a bit more hysterical about…

J: Aww, how sad!

R: Were you Head Girl?

JK: I was Head Girl.

R: You were Head Girl.

JK: That meant being voted least likely to go to [unintelligible] if you went to my school. That wasn’t a massive accolade to be bragging about.

J: Sorry, school, if you’re watching.

JK: Oh, yeah, sorry.

J: Now your favorite character is… Luke?

Luke: Harry Potter.

J: Definitely Harry, is it?

JK: Ooh, that’s interesting because not a lot of people like Harry best.

J: Really, really?

JK: No, in fact it’s a tiny percentage. I remember seeing a poll on one of the unofficial fansites, something like 2% of people liked Harry best.

J: I love Harry!

JK: No, Ron i’s much more popular.

R: Okay, where’s Ella sitting? Ella, how old are you please?

Ella: I’m thirteen.

R: Okay, I’m not going to ask you if you’ve read every single book, but I am told you have. You want to ask about a Boggart?

Ella: Yes.

R: Just remind us of what a Boggart is.

Ella: You say a spell to… sort of a cupboard, and then what you most fear comes out.

JK: Right.

R: Right. So in my case it might be a sort of huge spider?

Ella: Yeah.

R: Or in Judy’s case it might be me. Okay, fine. Boggart.

J: So what do you want to ask Jo?

R: So what’s the question?

Ella: I was wondering if you stood in front of a Boggart what would it… what would you see?

JK: I’d see what Mrs. Weasley sees in Order of the Phoenix. She sees – this is a bit awful – but she sees her children dead.

R: Oh, my God!

JK: I know it’s a bit disturbing.

R: Oh, my God. You are dark, aren’t you?

JK: Sorry. Well, I mean, I think for any mother, probably, that’s the worst thing you could possibly imagine, and that’s what she sees as the war is starting, and she knows her sons are going to be involved…

J: Right.

JK: … and that she worries about them.

R: And how do… I’ve forgotten it. How do you counter a Boggart? What’s the counter-spell?

JK: You have to learn to laugh at it, and it’s hard to laugh at that one. I mean, perhaps you can’t. Someone else saves her from it [because] she can’t. She can’t manage that image.

J: [To Ella] And you love Hagrid best, don’t you?

Ella: Yeah.

J: I love Hagrid.

JK: Yeah, Hagrid’ has got a huge fan base, yes.

J: Yeah, I wonder if Hagrid’ is up for the chop.

[Jo laughs]

J: It’s a shame, ain’t it? She won’t tell us, so there’s no point asking it. Who else [have] we got? George, George Lynch?

George: Yeah.

J: That’s you, George L., there. What do you want to ask Jo, George?

George: My question is, “‘Are any of the characters based on people you know?'”

JK: I did mistakenly say that Lockhart was based on someone I had known.

J: Oh, really?

JK: Yes, and that got rather an annoying lot of newspapers specs [because] they thought it was the wrong person. They went after the wrong person.

J: He’s the very vain one [whom] we’re talking about?

JK: Yeah, and I barely exaggerated believe it or not.

[Judy laughs]

JK: It was someone I knew a long time ago.

R: Was he in television?

JK: [laughs] No, there are a lot of Lockhart’s knocking around, so…

J: I love him.

JK: Yeah, so that was the only time where I sat down and consciously thought, “I’m putting ‘X in as a character,” and I did.

R: And did you like ‘X?

JK: No, I absolutely loathed ‘X,’ as I think probably comes across by making Gilderoy Lockhart.

J: Do you think ‘X knows?

JK: No, I think ‘X’s egotism is such that ‘X is probably wandering around saying, ‘”We were like that.” [crosses fingers]

[Everyone laughs]

JK: ‘”She wanted to marry me. I turned her down, believe you me.”

R: We should… you know Carly Simon? She had a very private dinner for charity with the person who donated the most, and she told them who was the character of ‘”You’re So Vain,”‘ her first hit song. You should do the same thing in a few years. You should say, ‘”I’ll tell you who…”

JK: But I don’t want to ruin ‘X’s life.

J: No, No.

R: But it sounds a…

JK: [laughs] Yeah, but I do’n’t want to ruin that person’s life.

R: Okay, that was a great question, George, and a great answer.

J: And you’re a Ron Weasley fan, aren’t you?

R: Who’s next? Sian?

Kian: Kian.

R: Kian, sorry. I do beg your pardon. How old are you?

Kian: Ten.

R: What’s your question?

Kian: After Harry Potter, what are you going to write next?

JK: Well, I answered that one before the break. I think I will finish another book for children but for slightly younger children that I’ve got knocking around me.

R: It’s a shorter book, you say?

JK: Much, much, much shorter, yes.

J: And will you be sorry when the last book comes out of Harry?

Kian: Yeah.

JK: Yeah, I’m going to really, really miss it.

J: Right, we’/re going to Elly, not Ella but Elly. Hello, Elly. You’re thirteen, aren’t you?

Elly: Yeah.

J: What did you want to ask Jo?

Elly: Who did you write Harry Potter for? Was there someone special that inspired you, or… ?

R: Good question.

JK: I wish I could say something more in response, but it was me. [laughs] It was just something I really wanted to write. When I had the idea I thought that it would be such fun to write, and it has been.

R: Did the idea just fall out the clear blue sky?

JK: It really did.

R: Did you just wake up one morning… ?

JK: No, I was on the train from Manchester to London, and it just came. It just came.

R: It just came, fully formed?

JK: Pretty formed. Not the whole thing.

R: Yeah, of course not.

JK: Yeah, the essential idea came. Then with age, I kept adding bits in my mind, and by the time I got off the train I had a lot there. I really had a lot there.

J: I love the… the puns are great. Like Diagon Alley. Don’t you love that? Diagon Alley?

JK: I love Diagon Alley.

J: Right, Juliet.

R: Hang on. I’ve got one more quick question on that. Oh, damn. It’s gone out my head. Go to Juliet, and I’ll think about it.

J: Okay, Juliet.

Juliet: Have you always wanted to be an author?

JK: Always. Since literally as soon as I knew – I realized – that books didn’t just pop up out of nowhere and that people made the stories I’ve always wanted to do it. I can remember being extremely young, copying words without knowing what the words meant, so I think it’s just my nature, but I’ve always wanted to do it.

J: You loved words.

JK: Yeah.

J: You used to write, when you were about five or six, little stories.

JK: Yeah.

R: I remember what that question was. You’re obviously, because of the penury that you lived in, in that initial period. You were writing famously in cafés to keep warm, while the baby was asleep in the pushchair. So you still write in cafés?

JK: Mm, I won’t be saying where I go, but…

R: No, of course not. But you do still go? Just to get the buzz, the vibe?

JK: It’s habit. It’s so deeply engrained I write best when…

R: Right, who’s next?

J: Okay, who hasn’t asked a question? Nathan, Aaron and George? Okay, Aaron, very quickly. What’s yours?

Aaron: How did you think up the rules of Quidditch?

JK: I did it all in about half an hour after a row with my then-boyfriend, and I think that’s where the Bludgers came in. [laughs]

R: And Nathan?

Nathan: What inspired you to make such creative animals?

JK: Well, some of the animals I make up, like the Blast-Ended Skrewts, are mine, but many of them exist in folklore and mythology, and I’ve twisted them a bit to suit my own end. Hippogriffs: There’s not a lot if you go looking; I just created my own.

J: And George, you’re the only one left, but quickly tell us your favorite character.

George: My favorite character is Hermione.

J: Hermione?

JK: No. You are the first boy I’ve ever met whose favourite character is Hermione.

J and R: Really?

JK: But did you like her before Emma Watson started playing her?

[George pulls face as if to say that he didn’t]

JK: Don’t worry. Lots of people like Emma Watson playing her.

R: Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince is now out in paperback. We’re so glad you came on. Thank you very much. It’s been nice talking to you.

JK: Thank you.

R: See you tomorrow, guys. Bye bye.

J: Bye bye. Thanks, kids.

"Goblet of Fire" Press Junket - October 22, 2005

"Goblet of Fire" Press Junket - October 22, 2005

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David Heyman and Mike Newell

Conference Leader (CL): So good afternoon, everybody here in London, and for those of us joining us by phone from North America, good morning to all of you. Our first press conference will last approximately thirty minutes with director Mike Newell and Producer David Heyman. And with that, we shall welcome them to the dais.

[Audience applauds]

CL: Okay, so as I mentioned, we’d like all questions from the audience here to come via the microphone so that people joining us on phone from North America can hear. So we’ll wait just a minute for some tape recorders to be placed.

Mike Newell (MN): Hi, y’all. It’s very nice to see you. Thank you for being here. If you weren’t here, then who would you be? We’d be in trouble. We’d be in a lot of trouble.

Media: [unintelligible] from Boston Globe. I want to ask both Mike and David. How is this Harry Potter different from everything that’s gone before that? From everything about to change that’s on the posters to they’ve obviously hit adolescence and are growing up before our eyes. What’s the real dramatic difference in this one?

MN: I can go. For me, it’s that I think in the previous films, the age of the people is crucial. What’s been happening is that the scale of the challenge to the leading character has been limited. He’s had a basilisk to deal with; he’s had this problem, but he’s never actually been challenged in his self. He’s never had to put up or shut up. He’s always had the group to rely on, and now in this one, he’s older. He’s more conscious, so he knows much more what’s happening to him. And he knows when Voldemort says in the graveyard, “Come out here. What do you want? To take it in the back or take it in the front, but you’re going to get it whatever way.” But what Harry says is, “All right, I’ll show you.” And he comes out, and he’s ready for a fight, and he knows that it’s a fight to the death. And he has the moral courage to do it. So for me, the difference is… and of course there are lots and lots of differences. There are lots of wonderful, new things about this, like the jokes and growing up and girls, and “Oh, God, how do we dance?” and all of those things. But the big difference is the challenge is a moral one, and he may not survive it.

David Heyman (DH): And for Harry, when we went to Jo the first time, it was a very sort of important thing for her. A theme that will be continued, which is to stand up and be counted. Even if you might not win, rather you have to sound out for what you believe in.

MN: It was a very, very important time for that. David took me up there two years ago now, and she talked about these moral challenges, and she was brilliant about it. And I took a great deal away from that.

DH: And that’s really the fundamental essence that Mike took that sort of goes from the beginning to the end. It is a thriller, the world is expanded, and we’ve got two new schools coming in. We’ve got the first interactions with the opposite sex – both the good and the awkward – and the uncomfortable sides of that that begins at thirteen/fourteen and never goes away. We have at its heart, as Mike says, is this moral development. Harry is now fourteen. He’s much more of an individual than he’s ever been before. He’s becoming more who he is and who is meant to be.

MN: Both you and I have taken Emma as a sort of honorary boy. But of course Emma now gets to be a young woman, which is something that I am personally very proud of. Because I thought that she was wonderful, allowed herself to be very vulnerable. She so easily could have said, “Well, I’m Hermione, and I’m going to be this and that.” But she was very, very allowing of vulnerability and not knowing and not being kind of cool. And I was very pleased of that because I thought that we got that. Just as in [Movie] 3, there is this hugely satisfying moment when she hits Malfoy. Bop. So is there in this one. There is this wonderful moment when she is unsure and insecure.

DH: And the other there is I think Mike is… the kids frankly are growing as actors, and Mike is benefitting from them having had two films with Chris and one film with Alfonso. And at the same time I think the real reason and one of the many reasons that we brought Mike in is that he is one of the great directors of actors. And the kids are challenged. He didn’t let them rest one minute on what felt comfortable. He pushed and pushed and pushed, and the performances show it.

Media: Mike, talking about challenges, as a director, you’ve got some of the greatest actors in England as the co-stars… about trying to use them. I mean, they are just in the background now to Harry’s story. I was wondering what the challenge is.

MN: It’s actually a problem. I think that the way that we attacked it was that even though each of them is now, Maggie is established, Alan is established, Mike Gambon, Hagrid… all these people are established. So there is no more exploration for the audience to do of those characters. Indeed, they mustn’t change in a way, and so what you have to do is find a kind of lapidary way of using these tiny bits, which will show you parts of these characters that you’ve never seen before. So you’ve never seen Hagrid in love before – a very wonderful thing it is, too. She did this thing at rehearsal. Nobody could believe it – this is Frances DeLatour – and they found themselves opposite one another. And of course they are both of the great natural comedians. So it was great to see these two people awkward and blushing and retiring with one another. And then suddenly she bent forward and does what she actually does in the scene in the movie. She picks something out of his beard, and we all thought, “Isn’t that wonderful?” and then – God help us – she ate it. [laughs] So those little things. A tiny moment like that will keep those characters alive. But yes, it’s something you have to do. It’s difficult.

DH: Look at how Dumbledore in particular has really changed. Looking to explore, this is the first time that we’re really aware that things are getting beyond his control. And that he’s not altogether comfortable with it.

MN: It was really interesting actually. Because Michael was really game to do that. I think that he had not really wanted to be the same figure that Richard Harris had been, a figure of tremendous Olympian authority who’s never caught on the harp. He wanted something different simply because he’s not Richard Harris. And what he found in this one is that Dumbledore is fallible and not omnipotent and indeed is behind the game. A great deal of what he does is about being inadequate rather than super adequate, which of course is much more interesting to play.

Media: [unintelligible] This is a question for Mike. How much awareness did you have for the movies and the books? Have you read them? Had you watched the previous films before being approached for this?

MN: Before being approached? Yes, I had seen both of the films. I had one book – the first book – and seen both of the films before I was approached. And so I was hoping to be approached. And so therefore was educated pretty reasonably when I was approached. Of course, then I started to particularly watch the films obsessively. I can still recite in my sleep those textual analysis of [Movies] 1, 2, and 3.

DH: And Alfonso was very generous…

MN: Yes, he was actually, as I’m sure Chris had been.

DH: As Mike has been in turn with David Yates. Alfonso allowed – engaged – Mike in discussion of the process of visual effects and allowed him to see the film early. Just as Mike did with David Yates. I mean, David Yates has seen a rough cut of the film, so it’s pretty great in that way. By the way, I think Mike was the very first person who[m] I approached for the first Harry Potter, so I’d wanted him from the very beginning.

[Everyone laughs]

Media: This movie is so different from the previous films. Do you think that’s it’s not only a kids’ movie anymore?

MN: It isn’t for me, not a kid movie for me. It’s an adventure story, and it’s a huge entertainment. Warner Brothers absolutely hates me saying this, so I’m going to say it. For me, it has all the kind of variety that a Bollywood film has.

DH: Oh, no, he said it!

MN: But anyway, it’s a huge broad-based entertainment. But above all else, David is habitually modest about this stuff, but he was very, very good when he first approached me. Because what he said was, “You must read the book, and if you find a way of doing the book, then you must tell us what that is. You mustn’t come because it’s a franchise. You mustn’t come because it’s the most famous children’s film there’s ever been. You mustn’t come for this, that, and the other reason. You’ve got to be able to see how to make a 750-page book into a single movie.” And we then had one of the meetings made in heaven when we talked about the thing as being a thriller because that’s what I found in it. I thought that it was an absolute God-gift thriller, and then I convinced him.

DH: For me, the books are not children’s books. I think that’s a misconception. I think the books are books that appeal to maybe children of all ages. But they appeal to people of all ages. I think that there is something in them for everybody, and I think that this film… that each of the books is getting more mature than the one preceding it because it’s also dealing with a different age, a different year in Harry’s life. In this one Harry is fourteen, so there’s different issues, greater complexity. And I think that really shows in the film. The film is true to that spirit. The other thing is that when you bring in a director like Mike Newell, just as when you bring in a director like Alfonso Cuarón, you don’t want them to… they are different directors; they are not cookie cutters. You don’t bring in a director like Mike Newell and tell him, “Well, you’ve got to make a film just like Chris Columbus”. I mean, why? It would be foolish. So for me it’s been one of the… I look at this film. I see Mike Newell. I mean, I see Jo Rowling, but I see Mike Newell written all over it. And that was really exciting to me. I saw it with Alfonso. I saw Alfonso written all over it. And Chris.

MN: I saw Alfonso, too.

DH: And I think it’s really important. And I hope that David Yates… I’m sure that David Yates will imbue the fifth with the same. And it’s really exciting to me. This is a big generous, smart, funny thriller.

Media: Are you happy with the PG-13?

DH: Very much so, and I am very happy with the 12A in the UK. I see, yes. One, I think that it’ll be good for the slightly older audience, and two, I think that we had to be… we chose to be faithful to the material. I think if we can’t… books do not talk down to an audience; the audience reaches for the books, and I think the films do the same. They don’t patronize our audience; we make films very much in the spirit. It’s not literally faithful; it is truly faithful to the spirit of what Jo has written, and that’s really exciting.

MN: One of the challenges was that, of course, everything goes back to the book. Always. And that’s where the audience begins as well, and so as the audience, which began with the first book, progresses through [Movies] 2 and 3, they get to [Movie] 4, and they see that it’s a different kind of animal. It’s a much tougher beast than the others, and if you don’t get a PG-13 in a way, then that audience that began with [Movie] 1 – and is now fourteen, fifteen, sixteen, or 64, whatever – will want to know why you are still infantilizing the situation. Of course, what David says is that these are not children’s books. These are adult stories with a very strong moral aim and view, so with PG-13 they can believe. Without it, I am not sure they can.

Media: Mike, in this stage of your career after all of these remarkable films, how does this rank personally? Not only the film but [also] the whole entire project?

MN: Okay, so I always hate what I make. I think that it simply shows a depth of… a lack of… I truly mean this. It sounds like such a joke sometimes, but it isn’t. I can’t stand myself sometimes. He’s seen me in rushes where I simply can’t bear the ordinariness of what I do, and I always feel that about everyone.

DH: Even when it’s extraordinary, by the way.

MN: What’s that?

DH: Even when it’s extraordinary.

MN: Woo. Anyway, I really do, and I always hate the end result. And this time may be a very bad sign. I don’t know, but this time I don’t hate it. This time I think it’s what I tried to do – what we all tried to do – which was to make this wonderful, terrifying thriller ride, and so it pleases me very much, and that’s a better way of answering your question.

DH: By the way, no, we didn’t answer your question.

Media: David, this question is for you. I wanted to ask you, “In working with Mike and bringing him on board… he brings a certain sense of British sensibility, and I was wondering from your perspective… can you talk a little bit about that?”

DH: Mike went to a school – as did I, by the way – that’s like Hogwarts but without the magic.

MN: Our school was very… it’s very similar.

DH: And he brings an innate since of understanding of the school life. He is very comfortable getting on the floor and wrestling with the kids to bring the – as he did with the Weasley twins – sort of the school that’s more anarchic than I feel that it’s been in any of the other films. It’s a little more anarchic. It’s a little madder and a little looser. Yes, you have the authority of the teachers, but you also have the kids rebelling as kids do – kids standing up for themselves, kids complaining to teachers – and I think Mike brings a real… I think it’s very true to the schools… the school that I went to, and I think it’s true to school life in general, but it’s most certainly true to British schools. So yeah, and I also think that in a way the nature of the performances… it’s an incredible thing. I don’t know quite how to describe, but I really feel that the performances in this are more British than they have ever been. I feel that there is a complexity, and at times when he talks about the Bollywood theatrical largeness in a really positive way to the performances… the way I think Dan is incredibly subtle and nuanced, and I think all the performances [have] a boldness about the performances, which I think is very, very British, and I’m very happy for that.

CL: We have time for two more questions at this end. And then we’ll go to the phone questions.

Media: You talked a bit about how the characters have evolved. The kids… how they have grown up and how they have handled becoming teenagers. Can you talk a bit about how the actors themselves are handling this fame and how they are sort of dealing with growing up really on set and in front of the whole world?

MN: I don’t know. I…

DH: How did you find them when they arrived?

MN: [unintelligible]

DH: No. People like Dan, Rupert, and Emma in particular.

MN: Oh, I mean I had been expecting… my worst fear was that they would have realized that these films were stories in which they absolutely were the stars. Now most children’s films, that’s not true of most children’s films. They are that sort of little [unintelligible] of a third of a story taken by the adults in that way. Mary Poppins is not quite a children’s story; it’s an adult’s story, but that’s not the case here. This is a story in which the children are stars, and that can do terrible things to children. Miraculously, mostly because of the way they are handled by the production and also because they have got really good parents – good kids, good parents -tThey haven’t. They know exactly what they are worth, but they have not become impossible, and so they are still loose, and they are still cute, curious. And they are still prepared to have a go at it and everything. We had – before we began shooting – two weeks of acting classes, and the reason that we did this was that I was very anxious that the established characters would not dominate the newcomers, many of whom had never acted before. The Chinese girl had never acted before, the two little Indian girls had never acted before, and I didn’t want them feeling they were secondary citizens, and so we had these two weeks where what we did was we played. We did physical exercises, we did improvisation exercises, and so on and so forth. And by the end of that, everybody was loose in one another’s company, and there was not a rank structure with Dan outshone. Everybody else… they were all the same, and they were prepared to do that, which was a very wonderful thing, and it shows what you’ve got now is an ensemble rather than a from-the-top-down pyramid structure. You have an ensemble.

DH: And I think in this film more than in the previous three films, partly because of the number of the cast and the number of extras… I mean, the number of extras was larger than any of the previous films. It was more than the other films – the sense of community amongst the kids – and whether you got Stan – who plays Krum – or… and all the playing and joking and laughing; there was a lot more hanging out, and I think it also gave a real… Dan and Rupert [were both] part of that, so it was a much more extended community school life then.

MN: That’s a good point actually. I hadn’t thought of that. It was much more a kind of relationship you would build up in school, much bigger.

DH: Yeah ,and I say we are blessed – I mean, with three kids who could make it so easy to be brats are not. They want to learn. They want to get through what they do. They are enthusiastic still, and they have a lot of fun doing it. And partly the rehearsal that Mike had them do but also by the very nature, they are non-judgmental, open people who are as good to the person. They are good to people from the top down. It’s not a… I think Michael can attest, too, though. The buck always stops with him ultimately. It’s a very democratic environment. It’s one in which people… everyone has a voice. Sometimes too much of one, but everyone…

[Everyone laughs]

MN: I agree. The trouble is you can’t start that game unless you play that game all the way through.

DH: I agree with you. Iit’s a very democratic… it’s a really… it’s a place in which everybody is welcome. It’s very open-door, very safe place for the kids to be… quickly tell them about the fight.

MN: Well, there had to be a fight at one point between the two Weasley twins, and they did horrible adolescent stage screen fighting. It just wasn’t… it was awful, and I had tried, and I pushed them and pushed them, and they said they couldn’t get past it, and I said, “Okay, which one of you wants to fight me?” And they were like rabbits in the head lights, and I said what they thought I said. Finally, one of them put their hands up, and so we fell upon one another and we rolled over and over and over on the floor of the Great Hall, and I actually cracked a rib, and it was very early on in the shooting schedule, and all the kids were there, and they all saw the director make a complete prat of himself and also get himself injured, ha ha ha, and things were a lot easier after that actually. It doesn’t do any harm to punch your dignity.

[Everyone laughs]

CL: We have time for one more question here, and then we’ll go to the phones. Okay?

Media: Matthew Vines from This question is for Mr. Newell. How frequently did you consult with J.K. Rowling about deviations from the book and sub-plots cut from the story line and what about in particular?

MN: Well, actually, I will answer it, but usually you should ask David because this is an absolutely key function of David’s. Jo Rowling appears to me to be quite extraordinarily hands-off. Everybody says, “Oh, we’re surprised to hear that; we thought she was very controlling.” Well, I speak as I find. She wasn’t with me, and I don’t think it’s in her nature. I don’t think she’s like that. However, David’s relationship with her – which is very close – meant that the whole time the script as it evolved, and the script continued I had a set of script pages. It’s a joke. We’ve been shooting the film for six months, and I get several script pages…

DH: [laughs] … and I looked to Michael and said, “What is this?” and he says, “Oh, we shot them yesterday, and it was great.” That’s right. It was great, yes. I don’t know what color they were.

MN: Sorry, it’s a joke. Sorry. Of course, what happened [unintelligible] it’s a huge tribute to David. It’s an enormous tribute to Steve Kloves that in fact they could – both of them and everybody around them – be loose enough to see that actually we might get to be going to a place – although we couldn’t exactly point to it on a map, yet – which wasn’t exactly where the first draft of the script had started out, but of course, in that the danger is that you lose Jo Rowling, at which point you lose the audience. Because they come in the end for her, and she was very, very sweet. She was very available. She’s not the best returner of a phone call that I’ve come across, but she was fine. She gave me very clear things when I needed them like what did the Avada Kedavra curse actually do when it hits you. But she also had this very strong view how the story fitted into the seven-book arc. Beyond that, she didn’t control at all, but of course, it was to David’s credit that she was brought into the process just as much as he knew she wanted to be and not an inch more. How does that work?

DH: Jo is the most generous of collaborators. She sees each and every draft of the screenplay. We want to do that because 1) I made a promise at the beginning that I – that we – would be true, but 2) because we would be fools to do otherwise. So we show her each draft, and we also don’t want to do anything [that] will disrupt books’… at that time Book 6 hadn’t been published. Or Book 7. We didn’t want to do anything that would adversely affect that order, that would make people read them askant or looking askant. So she has incredible knowledge! What’s in the books is just the surface of what she knows. She has notebook upon notebook with more material that doesn’t quite make the books but I think one of the reasons for the success of the books is because the universe is so clearly thought through. She knows the sixth use of dragon’s blood! You could have a question; she knows the answer. There was one very significant change that we made, and we called Jo to ask her about it because it was a major… I mean, we would have done it anyway, but it was major. It had to do with Barty Crouch, Jr. being present in that very first scene in the film, with Voldemort and Peter Pettigrew, which isn’t in the book. The scene takes place, but Barty Crouch, Jr. is not in it. And the reason why we wanted that was because we needed Barty Crouch, Jr. to be a more recognizable and formidable presence when you got to the end, when Moody turns back into him. Without that, the only time you’re just seeing him would’ve been in the flashback when he didn’t look exactly like he did at the end. So I called Jo and asked her about it, and she said, “Yeah, that could’ve happened. That’s absolutely fine.” What she loved about the third film… she hasn’t yet seen the fourth, but what she loved about the third film was that it was true to the spirit. That it made changes, but it made changes in the spirit of the work. That’s what she has felt so far in the inclusive process of the script, and I know she’ll feel when she sees the film. Sshe was meant to see it last week, but some personal matters came up, and then she couldn’t. She will be seeing it shortly.

CL: I’m sorry. On that note, I’ve got to pitch it to the phone people, who have been very patient with us. So we have time for two questions from the phones.

Media: [unintelligible]

DH: No. No. No interest. Never been asked. She has the attitude that says the book is the book, and the film is the film, and you won’t make a good film unless you have a certain amount of freedom.

CL: Okay. Operator?

Operator: Yes. The first question comes from the line of Steve Brian of Suburban Journal. Please go ahead.

Media: Good evening. I’m directing this toward Mike. This is one film where you had to put Daniel through all his paces – lots of running and jumping. How did he handle that?

MN: Well, he’s a very brave boy. He really is a brave boy. He’s a rotten swimmer, or he was when this began, and he had great trepidation and came to me about the swimming. There wasn’t any way around it; he had to swim. He had to spend huge amounts of time underwater in the tank. And apart from anything else, he was by no means sure that he had the physical resources to do that… you couldn’t say that he was frightened of it, but he was only a step away. Nonetheless, he knuckled down, and he did what he had to do. There was another shot that I was actually there for, and I could see that he was absolutely terrified that he had to do it! Falling off the roof – sliding down the roof. Have you seen the movie?


MN: No, no, no. The man who’s talking to me. Have you seen the movie?

Media: I’ve seen all the trailers.

[Everyone laughs]

MN: Okay. I think it may be in the trailers. Anyway, during the dragon chase, he’s knocked off his broom, and he slides down a very steep roof, which he did for real. So he slid 30 feet from a 40-foot-high gantry – with a safety wire on, of course but not [unintelligible]. But nobody had to say, “Sorry, Dan, but you’ve got to do it.” We would ultimately, of course, have said that…

[Media laughs]

MNL … but nobody had to say that. Because he will read himself the riot act; he will tell himself what he’s got to do. So I really think he’s naturally… he’s not going to turn into a stunt man, but he is a very responsible boy. He knows what he wants to do and simply does it.

DH: Actually, on the first film when we began the process, Dan was not a physical boy. He wants to be more physical, and we encourage that. We put him together with our stunt team, and he loves… and he is now a jock, of sorts. His body has changed; he’s really much more physical than he ever was. At lunch break, for example, several times a week, he’ll go down to the gym and work out. It’s nothing with actually asking him to do. He just loves to do it. He likes to do his own stunts. He’s very brave, as Mike said. In the underwater scene, he logged 41 hours on his log book.

CL: Sorry, we have time for one more question from… operator?

Operator: Thank you. And our next question comes from the line Daniel Fienberg of Please go ahead.

Media: Hi, guys. This question is probably more for David and also for Mike. Could you guys talk a little bit about the impact of Steve Kloves and the continuity of the series, and then, sort of as a quick follow-up, is Imelda Staunton signed on for the next movie?

MN: You broke up quite severely towards the end, there. Could you just, briefly, say the question again?

Media: The first, and main question, is about the role of Steven Kloves and the continuity of the series, and then, sort of as a quick follow-up, just wanted to know if Imelda Staunton signed on for the next movie, as rumored.

DH: Steve Kloves is one of the great experiences. To me, one of the great joys of this entire series has been working with Steve Kloves and frankly, his becoming a very good friend over the five years. I think he is one of the best writers writing. He is a brilliant adapter in the sense that he is able to retain the voice of the author that he’s adapting. He did it with Michael Chabon and the Wonderboys. He did it with another script I’ve read called [unintelligible], and I think he’s done it with the former films that he’s written. He is a fantastic writer, who manages to bring a keen sense of character and really understands the voice of the actors he is writing for. He can write with great emotion and at the same time, also a great humor. He is not doing the fifth because he is writing another project for me called The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, which I hope he will direct. However, he read the sixth book and couldn’t stay away, and so he’s going to come back and write the sixth.

MN: Oh, great! Oh, that is good!

DH: Yeah, I know it’s great. [laughs] Michael Goldenberg is writing the fifth. He is another writer, who, actually, I talked to about the first film, and he’s doing a fantastic job. You can never make a good film out of a bad script. You most certainly can make a bad one out of a good one. But he does have a good script. And I really believe that Steve Kloves, on each of the four films, has given us a really good script. He’s also a man, in my perspective, who writes without ego. He’s someone who… it’s great when you sit in the script meeting with him because you can say anything, and he’s thought through everything. It doesn’t mean that he doesn’t defend what he has, but he does it in a way [that] explains the reason why he has done what he has done. But it’s always open to changes. He also has an encyclopedic knowledge of the world, and clearly, he and Jo are very much on the same wavelength.

CL: Thank you, all, very much.

Media: What about Mr. Newell?

MN: Everything he said. It was the most… it was the happiest collaboration I think I’ve ever had, certainly as an adapter. He never gets in your way. I am one of those who will start with them and re-write them and re-re-write them through the film, which is why the joke about getting pages six months and shooting… why, we all laughed at that. But he would never, ever complain. He would always see why. He would always dig down into his personal mine of stuff and come up with wonderful things. I can’t tell you how happy I was with him.

CL: Great. Thank you very much. For those on the phone, the next press conference will be starting in less than two minutes.

Stanislav Ianevski, Katie Leung, Robert Pattinson, and Clémence Poésy

Katie Leung (KL): Katie.

Robert Pattinson (RP): Robert.

Clémence Poésy (CP): Clémence Poésy.

Stanislav Ianevski (SI): Stan Ianevski.

Media: Good afternoon. I’d like to know… did you feel like strangers when you came on the set, where everything was like a young crowd of friends?

[Everyone laughs)

KL: Who wants to start?

RP: You can.

KL: Okay. We’d been working very nicely, and everyone had been very, very friendly the first few days, and then it was just everyone in the same boat doing the same movie. So great!

Conference Leader (CL): Stan?

[Everyone laughs]

SI: Well, there’s not much to add. We were extremely warmly welcomed. I personally felt it so much from the beginning.

Media: For all of you: Can you tell us how the audition process was? I know that some of you were selected among a few thousand people.

KL: Well, my audition process is quite long-winded. My dad saw an advert on the telly, and basically, he just suggested that I should go down and try out for the part. I hadn’t done any acting before; I was a bit reluctant. But I went down anyway, and I stood in the queue for hours and hours. And we went in… I finally got in, and they just took a polaroid and said they’d call you back if they were interested. So I got a call a few weeks later, and they told me to go down for a drama workshop, and that involved a lot of improvisation and a few scenes from the movie that involved Harry and Cho. And then they called me back for a screen-test, and that took place at Leavesden Studios, which is where they filmed the movies, and from there, I got the part.

Conference Leader (CL): Robert? Stan? Can you tell a little?

RP: Yeah, I don’t have a very interesting story. [laughs] I knew the casting director from another movie which I did, and they wanted to see me for this part, but I was doing another movie over the casting period, so I ended up seeing Mike Newell and Mary Selway and Fiona Weir – who were casting at the time – before anyone else was seen for casting. And then I went to do this other movie, and then the day I came back I got a call back, and basically, that’s what happened.

Media: What was the other movie?

RP: It was called Ring of the Nibelungs, which was a German movie.

SI: Well, I’ve got an interesting story.

[Everyone laughs]

SI: I was basically spotted in school. It was all by chance, really. I was late for my afternoon registration, which this school has. So you can imagine I was a bit nervous, rushing through the lines. But the casting director was there at the time with the head of drama for the school. So when she heard me talking and then turned around and saw me [unintelligible] as an interest? She asked me to go to an audition later on in the school, which I went to dressed up very sporty before going to the gym. So I was there the longest, and I was asked to go to two workshops afterward, which I didn’t go to for various reasons. I had an exam, and then one of the times they [unintelligible] laid me off. So as any normal person would think, I thought, “Well, I’ve lost this chance. they’re not going to call me back.” But then I did get a call back, and they weren’t very happy that I didn’t go. So I went again, later on that night, and they turned out to like me and I got it.

CL: Clémence?

CP: My audition was much more classical than Stan’s. I was talking to a French casting director about something else, and he said, “I’m doing the Harry Potter casting. Would you like to come?” So we had to chat in English in front of the camera, and then Mike was in Paris promoting Mona Lisa, so I met him in a hotel. We had a little chat, and I think it was three left, and we all came to London to audition a very short scene, and that was it.

CL: Was it with Harry?

CP: Not with Harry, no.

Media: Matthew Vines from Could each of you describe a typical day on set?

[Everyone laughs]

RP: Well, go ahead.. There wasn’t anything of any sort of structure. There would be days where hardly anything would happen, where you’d stand around the whole time because it was such a long shoot. Everything was shooting for about eleven months or something in total, so there were days and weeks where you would do absolutely nothing.

Media: At what time would you start shooting on an average day?

RP: Because most people… I think you… a lot of people got, because of younger people working on it, I think… those people worked about from 9 or something, but I generally started about 6:30 in the morning. You sort of end up, generally, starting work at 9, having a leisurely morning. Yeah, but some days were just ridiculously busy, while other days, especially when there is stunt work or something like that, would go on and be ruined one day but a lot of time waiting around.

CL: I was wondering if you knew about the series’ plan, each of you, if you could say a little about that. If you had been reading the books, if you were fans of the film. Also, if each of you quickly – and I know one of you can’t answer – looked at the next book to see if you were in that one.

KL: I was a fan of the films before I got the part, and I read the first three books. I didn’t read the fourth and fifth one until after I got the part, and I read the books which Cho was involved in. She was mentioned briefly, and I think Harry gets over her.

[Everyone laughs]

CP: I loved the books. I had read the first four ones. I saw the first movie. Then I saw the third one on set. I absolutely loved the whole universe, the whole world of Harry Potter.

CL: Stan?

SI: Well, I had never read the books or seen the films.

[Everyone laughs]

SI: But as soon as I got the part, I read the books up to the fifth one, and I’ve touched the sixth, one and I saw the films.

CL: And Robert?

RP: Yeah, I hadn’t read any of them either. I read the fourth one just before my audition in a day, and it changed my whole opinion about the whole series.

CL: Okay, I wanted to ask if each of you could discuss your character – what you think of them – and are you all signed for the rest of the series?

SI: Well, Viktor appears in the fourth book. He is the [wizarding] world’s David Beckham, I would say. A Quidditch player. So he is obviously well based in the magic world of Harry Potter. Well, people describe him as being very physical, although I think he has got two side: very sporty and very concentrated. He knows what he is doing, but also he has a big heart. He develops feelings for Hermione, so yeah, I think he is a great character.

CL: Where is he from, and why does he have an accent?

SI: Well, he is from Bulgaria, and that is where his accent comes from.

CL: And that is where you are from?

SI: Yeah.

CP: Fleur Delacour is… she’s French. I’m French. She’s the kind of girl that [others] would dread in a school. She is perfect – kind of annoying at the end being so perfect. But always well dressed and good at sports, good at school, good at everything. She appears like the kind of image that I guess people have of a French girl and then reacts as normal girls to what’s happening. That’s it.

CL: Robert?

RP: Cedric is a prefect at Hogwarts. He’s in the top year. He’s one of those guys who does the right thing but not in an annoying way. It’s impossible to hate him. He’s good at sports and athletic. He kind of vaguely takes Harry under his wing, and they get closer as the film draws to a close.

CL: Have you seen it with [unintelligible], yet?

RP: No. Well, I’ve seen it with these guys yesterday.

Media: Katie?

KL: My character Cho basically shows that Harry is developing into a teenager and is starting to go through a hormonal change, becomes interested in girls. Basically, I’m his crush.

Media: Seth Benderson from USA Today. This question is more for Katie and Clémence. As you’ve been reading the books, this is the first time we’ve seen Lord Voldemort. How did he compare to what you had thought in you imagination, and how do you think Ralph Fiennes’s characterization of character… ? Do you think he… ? What do you think about how he portrayed the character?

KL: I think he’s done a great job. When I watched it yesterday, it was such a dark scene, and he’s just really terrifying, which is what Voldemort is. Yeah, I think he’s made a great portrayal of the character, and he’s exactly like I imagined him to be when I was reading the books.

CP: I can’t really remember what I imagined. I’m sure I imagined something, but I’ve lost any idea I had. But I loved that moment where he becomes real and that costume surrounding him and him becoming a man in a way. Yeah, I thought it was great!

Media: Katie and Stan, you haven’t acted before. What has been the impact of this on your life so far?

KL: I don’t think… it’s not really changed apart from the fact that I know I can act. And also it has really brought a lot of confidence in me by being able to act in front of so many people and for the cameras and getting to meet new people as well, interacting with everyone. Yeah, everything has been positive about the film.

SI: I’m pretty much the same. I’ve gained lots of experience, a lot of confidence, especially being in front of a group of people, even a crowd. I couldn’t do that before. I was quite a nervous guy. I also found out what I want to do in the future, which is hopefully continue acting.

Media: For each of you, this is probably your biggest film, if not your first film. And I was just wondering, are you guys prepared for the fame that will be entailed with this? Because you’re going to be known all over the world. And how are you prepared to deal with fans?

[Everyone laughs]

RP: It’s strange. Somebody asked for my autograph the other day. Because I finished school, and I’m not really doing anything at the moment, I was just kind of aimlessly wandering around London, and these two guys who were about 30 came up and asked for my autograph. I was really quite proud at the time, and they wanted to take photos and stuff. And then they were sort of wandering around, and I was kind of wandering around, and I bumped into them about three times, and every single time their respect for me kept growing and growing and growing. [unintelligible] I don’t know how that actually happened.

[Everyone laughs]

RP: So yeah, it’s a lot.

CL: Stan?

SI: Well, I don’t think you can actually be prepared for what’s really going to happen after this film comes out because the fan base is world-wide. It is absolutely huge. So I guess we’ll just have to face it and do our best.

CL: [unintelligible]

SI: Yeah.

CL: Katie?

KL: Like what Stan said, I don’t think I’ll be able to – no matter how much you try – prepare for it. It’s going to be beyond your expectation, what’s going to happen. I mean, this morning when I was coming back to the hotel, there were a few photographers and the crazy fan base. It was just terrifying, but at the same time it’s a really nice feeling as well that they want your autograph and that you mean something to them. Yeah, I think it’ll be a really good experience.

CL: Clémence?

CP: I don’t know how you… I’ve never been recognized so far. But I think, because I live in Paris – shooting other movies in Paris – it might be a bit easier for me than you guys because the tabloids aren’t that big in France. But I don’t know. I think that when you walk down the street without makeup and in your jeans as always being, or I just hope things will stay the same.

CL: All right. Clémence, you are fluently bilingual, but you also have an ease with dialect and English, and you can also talk Americanese, so to speak. I was wondering whereabout in the country you learned?

CP: I’ve been a very lucky girl because my parents put me in a school where you learn English a lot more than you usually would do in a French school. And I went on an exchange program to Toronto when I was thirteen. [I] spent two months there, so I had no choice but to learn English. It started from there, and I’ve been working in England a bit. I’ve been working with Americans a bit. Each time it’s another step, and you actually work on your accent, try to improve it. But it comes from practice.

CL: Okay, we have time for one more question here, and then we’ll go to the phone questions.

Media: Matthew Vines from What stunts did you most enjoy doing?

SI: Well, I personally enjoyed doing stunts with the water. I had a dive, which we I think won’t be seeing. I enjoyed that most because you know it took a lot of courage and a lot of time. And a huge amount of effort. So I’ve enjoyed that most.

CP: Well, the only stunt I had to do was the underwater thing. So I guess that’s what I’d like the most.

RP: The maze stuff was really, really fun to do. Because it was all real. And no one actually knew where the walls… because it was all hydraulic walls, and you were wondering if it would kill you or not if you actually got trapped. It was quite nice doing sort of enforced method acting. It was quite nice. It was really exciting. And doing all the stuff with the weeds – it was so enclosed in the maze – you felt like you could really let your imagination go. Even it was just some guy with a rope pulling [unintelligible] It was really fun, quite therapeutic.

KL: Well, I don’t take part in all the stunts. The only thing I do is the underwater scene. I had to get diving lessons, and that was a great experience. It was a lot of hard work, and yeah, it was good.

CL: Okay, so operator, you there?

Operator: Yes.

CL: Okay, let’s go with question 1, please.

Operator: Okay, first question comes from the line of Michelle Riley, Harry Potter’s Page. Please go ahead.

Media: Yes, for those… you… who have… how… this…

CL: Operator, we’re getting a lot of feedback. We’re hearing every third word.

Operator: Okay, one more time please.

Media: First, I was saying… something before… different was this film… rest…

CL: Okay, operator, can you say the question please?

Operator: I’m getting the same sound you are.

CL: Okay, let’s jump to the next question, sorry.

Operator: You need to turn your volume down on your mic in the room.

Media: Okay, for those of you who have experience, how different was this film from the rest of your films?

CP: It… I mean, it’s almost a different job. Because everything is almost ten times bigger. The filming time… it’s much longer. I mean, I shot for eight months when I usually do two months. The crew is… you don’t know half of the crew you’re working with. And you’re actually not on set as much as you are on a normal movie. I mean, you’ve got doubles. Everyone has doubles. When you have to do something, you’re not participating as much to the life of the movie as you would do on a smaller budget movie. So it was a good way to approach that kind of movie, I think.

RP: Yeah, the scale of it is completely different. And also, I think, too, with the blue screen effects and stuff… I did some blue screen things in my last film, but there’s a difference because you have such a huge budget. I mean, it’s… you can… there’s so much. Virtually every scene has some sort of special effect in it, which is changed to do, like having to use your imagination somewhat.

CL: Okay. Operator, next question.

Operator: One moment. [unintelligible] Please go ahead.

Media: Hi. This question is for Clémence. I see you have a birthday coming up in November. So I just wondered… this is your first really big film. How do you plan to celebrate?

CP: My birthday isn’t actually in November. I don’t know. I saw it somewhere. It’s not in November. So…

Media: When is your birthday then?

CP: I don’t know. I think I’ll keep my birthday to myself. And I’m twenty-three now.

Media: Okay.

CL: Operator, the question at this end is how old are each of the actors here in the room? So we’ll let them answer that first.

SI: Twenty at the moment.

RP: Nineteen.

KL: Eighteen.

CL: Okay, great. So operator, next question.

Operator: Next comes from the line of Andrew Sims, of Please go ahead.

Andrew Sims: Hey, guys. I was wondering what kind of practice went into the Yule Ball scenes and how you think you did in the final cut.

RP: Yeah, it was cool. We practiced for… I think it was a two-week choreography session. And learning the waltz. And yeah, it’s cut down to nothing in the film. It is kind of strange. But yeah, it was fun doing it. It was really… that was a really fun period. Because I’ve never really done renaissance. Is it renaissance or a waltz? Some classical dancing. I really think I learned a lot.

Media: [unintelligible]

RP: Yeah, then the shoot was about two or three weeks.

KL: Two weeks.

RP: Yeah, and I think the most embarrassing part of that was just the normal dancing. When the rock band comes. I think there [were] two days where the crew was like, “Just dance, just dance.” So you can’t… in a club or whatever… that was really awkward.

CL: Okay, we have time for one more question from… operator?

Operator: Yes. Okay, next question comes from the line of Melissa Anelli of [the] Leaky Cauldron. Please go ahead.

Melissa Anelli: Hi! I was wondering if you guys could switch roles with anybody else in the film, who would it be and why?

KL: I think I would love to play Ron’s part. Because he’s like the comical guy, and he seems to… he’s able to make everyone laugh even when it’s in the saddest tones. I mean, like when the film’s really tragic and stuff he comes out with is just hilarious. So I love to make people laugh. Because I can’t do that in real life.

CL: Robert?

RP: Probably Harry. I think. Not being arrogant or anything. I just think it’s a really intricate, and it’s an amazing part. I think also when you don’t really have the opportunity to be guaranteed seven films when you’re growing up during the filming. [laughs] It’s really strange. Yeah, I think it’s amazing. I think it’d be an absolute… I think Daniel’s doing an amazing job. And you can see him progressing and developing as an actor and as a person…

CL: Clémence?

CP: Dumbledore has always been my favorite character. So I guess I’ll switch to the beard and a weird dress.

SI: I’d probably try out Voldemort. We’ve only just seen what he’s actually like in a humanic way. And I would love to try him. See what it feels like to be the Dark Lord.

CL: Okay, thank you all. We are going to be bringing in Daniel, Emma, and Rupert momentarily, so if you want to switch tape recorders real quickly or anything, thank you very much. And for those on the phone we’ll just have a moment.

Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, and Emma Watson

Media: Hi, you guys. Cindy Pearlman from the Chicago Sun-Times.

Daniel Radcliffe (DR): Hello.

Media: Congratulations. This was one of the great Harry Potter movies.

DR: Thank you very much. Thank you.

Media: Let us know what you thought about him growing up. was it something you guys have identified with a little bit in your own life, and what do you think about your characters aging?

DR: Well, I think… you don’t mind if I start, do you? Okay then. It’s great because there is so much pressure on the films now to get better and better and better and better and especially after the third one, which I… for me was great. There was an awareness that we had to work really hard to go further with it, to make it better. Otherwise, people would be very disappointed I think. So for me it is also a lot of fun… sorry, it’s also loads of fun playing Harry as he’s getting older because it’s almost as if, sort of, we go from being… I think when we start Harry is ten. It’s his tenth birthday, and it’s almost as in real life – the stories that people sort of grow extra emotions, which is partly to do with hormones and all the trouble that they cause. And it’s partly just a thing about growing up. You have other aspects to you, and it’s fun to play that in Harry as he grows older.

Emma Watson (EW): There is also a lot of speculation as to whether we’re going to outgrow our parts or that the films will take longer than we will. But actually it works out pretty well because each film takes about a year, and obviously that goes right with us. While they’re at school, we’re pretty much growing alongside them, and sometimes everything that we’re going through in some cases they are, too.

DR: I’m sorry, this is quite good. Because there is always this thing of “Will you get to old for your part?” But people are playing a lot younger than they actually are in real life. I don’t think it’s as big an issue as a lot of people are making it out to be.

Media: [unintelligible]

DR: You know what? That was really awful for me. No, that was great! It was fantastic, and if Katie had been in there, “Thank god. I hated doing the hugging scenes with Dan,” or something, but for me it was great fun.

CL: Rupert?

Rupert Grint (RG): So what was the question?

[Everyone laughs]

DR: We have gone far off the topic since.

RG: Yeah, I think it’s cool that the characters have grown. They’re moreso the teenage sort of life. But Ron was a bit more moodier in this one. But yeah, there are a few arguments, and yeah, I enjoyed doing all that. That was fun.

Media: Now that you all have got a few films under your belts, can you tell me a little bit about some of your favorite things? What do you splurge on? What are your luxuries, your favorite gadgets? Can each of you talk a little about that?

DR: Rupert, gadgets?

RG: Yeah, I really do like gadgets. When I went to Japan last year, that’s a good place for them. I’m not sure about gadgets at the moment, but…

DR: What about the camera thing?

RG: Oh, yeah! When I was in Japan, there was this sort of spy camera, and it was disguised as a cigarette box. And that was quite cool, I think.

DR: And the NDAB office helped.

[Everyone laughs]

EW: For me it’s the iPods. Where I come from, they’re everywhere.

DR: Well, you see, I find the iPod thing hard because I’m quite obsessive about CDs. And so I quite like to have the actual CD with the little sleeves and the back and the pictures. Which some may call bad. For me it’s mainly CDs, books, and DVDs, I suppose. I mean, I haven’t changed much over the past five years, which isn’t that exciting. But that’s the honest answer.

Media: The three of you – Steven Shave with the Boston Herald – are now a part of this empire, this global phenomenon of Harry Potter movies, not just the books. And yet you’ve got such low-key profiles. You’re not individually famous or anything like that. Now, is that all going to change now that you’re real teenagers with hormones and everything? Are we going to see you turn to Lindsay Lohan and start trying to shock us with some stuff? Are you going to be party animals?

[Everyone laughs]

EW: Hopefully not.

DR: Well, I’m planning on buying twenty Porsches and crashing them just for the extravagance. I don’t think that… I think it’s quite a really good thing that we haven’t because the characters are so well-known and iconic. If we had been going out, and if we’d been… basically if we’d gone to every party on the planet we’d been invited to, it would be hard for people to divorce what they see in the films from what they see in magazines.

EW: Mm.

DR: And starting that would have been a mistake, and that’s why we basically only go to the premieres pretty much.

EW: Yeah, and I think we do have a responsibility to that as well. And I don’t think… we aren’t particularly party animals.

DR: Yeah, I quite enjoy the not having a high profile thing. I quite like that, but it is… I sort of feel like I’m fooling people because it’s this massive thing, and yet it’s still quite a low-key thing. I feel like I’m tricking everyone.

Media: [unintelligible] Does everyone where you go to school know who you are?

EW: At the new school two years ago. At first, you do get some funny looks, but after a while, they just accept the fact that you’re there all the time, and I didn’t get treated any differently, and that’s how I like it so much happy.

Media: Angela Dawson, Entertainment Newswire…

DR: Quickly, sorry, this is interesting – the answer. The only thing that I would sort of… basically when you get back to school, as Emma said originally, when you’re that person, as if you’re sort of running along with an extra arm or something, but then after a few weeks or something, it sort of settles down. And then they just go, “Oh, there’s the kid with the extra arm.” It just doesn’t seem to affect everyone quite as much. I mean, it’s actually the only time it peaks is if I’m ever at school; I mean, it’s only every happened once really, when I was at school when the third film came out. Then it went a bit… sort of hit fever pitch again, sort of mad, but I mean it’s not really a problem. Is it for you?

RG: Well, I’ve finished school now, so I don’t really get the same sort of reorganization as that. But getting recognized is sort of weird anyway. I’m seventeen now, yeah. You get the odd person sort of shouting out “Ron” or something. And my hair at the moment is sort of stand out at the moment. It’s not really a problem.

Media: Angela again. I wanted to ask you, “Each of you has issues with each other going on throughout the film. I thought it was interesting – the fact that Rupert, you and Dan get to be at odds a little bit with each other, and there’s a sort of tension with Emma and Rupert and stuff like that. And can you talk a little about the disconnect that goes on, and how do you guys like when you come back to a new film? Is it like going back to school?”

EW: I loved all the arguing. I thought it was really juicy. It’s not these people [who] always get along perfectly, and I think it’s much more realistic that they would argue and that there would be problems. So I thought it was great fun. And I think it makes up for quite a dark book; this one makes up for a lot of the humor, which is nice, light relief.

DR: What’s quite nice, actually, about the thing that goes on between Harry and Ron in this one is the tension – is that it’s funny to someone looking in on it – but to them, it’s absolutely serious, and they’re really angry at each other, and each of them feels that they’ve both behaved in a really bad way. Sort of like they’ve been betrayed by them. And so it’s mutual blame… both to blame for how they’re acting, but to someone else watching, it’s quite funny because you sort of… in the long run it’s actually quite trivial what they’re arguing about as a lot of arguments sort of are. They seem really important at the time, and then two years later, you can’t even remember where it started or what it’s about. So I think that’s probably… as you said it does provide a lot of the humor – that and the dribbling orange juice.

EW: Oh, yes, that was good. They both behaved rude[ly].

DR: I enjoy doing that, yeah, sorry.

RG: Yeah, I think it’s also sort of again just them growing up.

EW: [unintelligible]

RG: Yeah, sort of more natural, I suppose.

Media: I’d like to go back to what Emma said about this being quite a dark film. I also thought it’s easily the funniest of the Harry Potter films. Was it difficult finding the balance of the tone when you’re playing emotionally grueling stuff, then quite light-hearted?

DR: As you go along…

EW: I think it was quite difficult because it’s difficult to know quite what to do because I think for… I mean, it’s difficult because there’s such a huge audience that’s children. You get kids being so into it, so part of the people who are making this film feel, “Oh, we don’t want to make it too scary because we’re going to cut out this huge audience that are so passionate and love Harry Potter films.” At the same time, they want to be faithful to the book, which is a darker book, and I think they did a really good balance because I really do think it was the best way to go because, from the very beginning, it’s been “We’re going to stay faithful to what this is about” and not about getting everyone, having huge audiences.

DR: I mean, I think it would have been hard to adapt. Steve Kloves, who wrote the script… that’s what must have been… I mean, to adapt something as huge as the fourth book is is something. I certainly wouldn’t envy that task. I mean he did an amazing job on it. I mean, to me, the humor is actually essential to the darkness in a way. I mean, if you had that darkness running the whole way through the film, you’d be tired, and it wouldn’t be effective. I mean, what’s nice is that Mike lulled you into a quite false… you’ve got a dark opening with the snake and caretaker being killed, but it then goes into this sort of feeling that almost like the first film in it’s almost – with the Quidditch World Cup – wide-eyed, and it’s sort of wonder and everything, and that highlights the fact that suddenly they come out, and everything is ablaze, and everything is on fire, which means the same thing as ablaze. I don’t know why I said both. And you know, and suddenly, instantly, it’s more of a shock when you go into that darker world. So I think the humor is all sort of essential to that.

EW: I don’t think Mike has ever held us back in any way. He’s ever really pushed us to make it so really real, how you would react in that situation. He really, really went there. And the other thing about Mike is that he really, really treats us like adults. He wasn’t taking any slack. He was expecting us to be professional the entire time, where I think before in some ways… I don’t know.

DR: We could get away with more.

EW: Yeah, but he really took no excuses. He really pushed us, which was really nice to feel that there was a real challenge.

Media: Emma, in the ball scene, there is a magical moment when you stand at the top of the staircase and come down. How many times did you have to shoot it, and did you have input into your costume?

EW: That actually took a while. I didn’t know there were so many ways that you could walk down stairs actually until that day, and it was difficult. It was hard work. Mike was giving me all these directions, “Keep your head up, make sure your back is straight, but don’t make it too frumpy, glide smoothly.” [laughs] By the time we did it, I was an absolute wreck. But hopefully it looks okay, and it’s up to that amazing transformation, which it is for Hermione. As for the costume, I had a bit of input, but I loved it so much anyway, there’s nothing I’d wanted to change about it. I mean, Jany Temime, who is head of Costume, created a truly magically dress – I mean beautiful, beautiful – and there were loads of fittings for it throughout the whole [time] leading up to that scene. I think it looks really great.

Media: [unintelligible]

EW: No, it’s upsetting. I’d loved to have kept it, but no.

Media: [unintelligible]

DR: I got to swim – not in a dress, though which would have been [unintelligible]. No, that was amazing. That was quite hard work actually because those days, I could feel I call what I did “work.” Because normally, I think I’ve got this thing in my mind that work can’t be fun because I’ve always connected it with not enjoyable. So I’ve never really associated Harry Potter with work in that way. On those days it was tough. It was fun, but it was hard. I trained for about six months beforehand, and it was just… I’d go under, and I was sharing someone else’s air from their SCUBA-diving tank, so we both had sort of regulators, and they’d say “three, two, one”; on the “three” I would blow out all the air in my lungs, and then on “one” I’d take a very big gulp of air in, and then it’s how much action you can do with that amount of breath in your body kind of thing. It was actually quite… the hard thing was not holding breath. It was the fact that you couldn’t… I wasn’t actually allowed to let any of the air out because Harry is supposed to become a fish with gills, so there'[re] not supposed to be bubbles going around. So if I looked at all pained…

EW: You know why.

DR: It was good fun, and I have to point out I have the most amazing stunt team backing me up. I trained with them for six months. They were down in the tank with me, so they were fantastic.

Media: [unintelligible]

Media: For each of you – now that it’s been four films – what’s the thought about whether acting is your long-term life choice, or don’t you know, yet?

DR: Rupert…

RG: I think I’m really enjoying doing all the Harry Potter films. It’s really good sort of experience, and in the future, it’s not such a bad job and so definitely.

EW: I definitely wouldn’t want Harry Potter to be the last thing I do whether within this business it turned out to be film or not, but originally what I used to love was being on a stage and reacting to a live audience, and maybe my calling is more in theatre. But I don’t know. There are so many different things you can do within it. But definitely looking around and definitely interested.

DR: I love doing it, and I was trying to sort of work out the other day, “What’s the attraction? Why do I love it so much?” and I have no idea. The sort of conclusion I reached was that it’s something to do with the idea, a sort of power thing. Because you have a character, and in many ways, it’s up to you how that character is perceived by people who are watching the film. Obviously, it’s not just up to you; it’s the script and direction as well. So I suppose that’s something I love doing. Huge passion for acting. I’m also quite interested in maybe… I’m not even saying it’s happening within the next twenty, thirty years, but eventually maybe directing or something like that. Simply because I’ve been so inspired by working with Chris Columbus and Alfonso and now Mike and having conversations with David Yates, who’s doing the fifth film and also talking to Gary Oldman because he directed a film – Nil by Mouth, which is a fantastic film – quite harrowing, but it’s brilliant – I mean to watch, to talk to him about it… he just said, “When you’re doing, you’re creating all the time,” which is quite appealing to me. A long way down the line.

Media: Matthew Vines, Which scenes that you filmed that were cut would you have most liked to have seen in the final movie?

EW: Good question; difficult to say. It’s… I try to think about what they did cut. When it’s all put together, and you see the final thing, it’s very… I don’t know. It looks… it all flows so well that you forget what’s actually missing. I’m trying to think …

DR: Personally, I was quite happy because all the bits I was really worried about me being really bad in they cut. Which is wonderful. I don’t know… what were some of the bits? They were just needling sort of moments where there was one… where we just went into… there was another I thought I didn’t do as [well] as I could have there, and they weren’t in which was fantastic. Which obviously meant I was right. I hadn’t done as well as I could have done. But it was… I can’t actually think of any whole scenes that were cut. I’m sure with the amount we shoot there must be.

EW: A huge amount was cut.

DR: When you see the film, it does seem so complete that…

EW: You don’t really miss it. It’s so good that I can’t remember anything that was cut. I can’t remember.

Media: Can you talk about – I’m going back to the theme of the parallels to your own life – how the opposite sex treats you? With boys at school, do you have boys chasing you, everywhere?

[Everyone laughs]

DR: Is that for me? [laughs]

EW: I don’t really know how to answer that, to be honest. Dan, you’re always good on this question, you take it.

DR: Do I have boys chasing after me? [laughs] I don’t, but to be honest, you talk about parallels in the film. There is a parallel in that both Harry [and I] are not very good with women. [laughs] I think I’ve gotten better now. I think any man who says he has never had an awkward moment with a girl… he’s a liar, or he’s delusional because he is sitting there thinking he is doing really well, and the girl is thinking, “Who is this man, and why is he talking to me?” So I think that is probably the main parallel between Harry [and me] in this film. I would like to say, though, “That’s got huge amounts of attention, but I think there’s this sort of dividing thing between what people think they’re going to get when they see the film and then what the reality is.” I think it’s slightly grimmer possibly.

[Everyone laughs]

Media: [unintelligible]

DR: Yeah, oh, nothing but! [laughs]

Media: Rupert, are you engaged?

[Everyone laughs]

RG: I’m pretty much the same as Dan, yeah. I think I’m probably very similar to Ron really. He is not very lucky, and he has some bad experiences. [laughs]

DR: And the worst date in the world.

RG: Oh, yeah.

Media: [unintelligible]

DR: From experience. That is what I like about Harry and Ron. They are the worst dates in the world, and these poor girls, Afshan – the girl who plays Padma, the girl who had the misfortune of going out with Ron – is one of sort of my best friends, and it was great because you just feel so sorry, and this night should be the greatest night in the world for her, but it’s horrible, and then you have that little bit outside – which is quite true – with those dances and type of thing where you’ve got sort of the ballroom casualties […] outside weeping because their night has been so horrible.

EW: Hermione included. [laughs]

DR: Yeah, included.

EW: That’s the thing. I loved doing it so much because I could relate so much to what she was going through. I so know that frustration where guys can be so insensitive. Yeah, but I can relate to a lot of things she experiences and a lot of awkward moments and feeling so unsure about… that is the really sweet thing about the relationship that Hermione and Viktor have, and the one that Mike really wants to play to is that Hermione is so insecure about herself that she’s never really had any attention from any guy before that when she sees Viktor looking at her, she thinks, “Is that guy really looking at me?” and he genuinely wanted to come across as she is quite literally being swept of her feet. She doesn’t know what is happening to her, and she gets caught up in this whirlwind with this incredibly famous Quidditch player, and she can’t believe that it is happening to her so it is quite an emotional roller coaster for her, but…

Media: If you were a bit older, I wonder which one of the more mature roles in the series would you like to have played?

DR: Sirius, yes, probably. Mainly because Gary Oldman played him, and I think he is one of the most brilliant actors. I think Sirius is very similar to Harry, and it is what is sort of fascinating and would have been fascinating if I would have played Sirius and will be when I’m doing Harry in the fifth film. It’s because there is sort of a relationship that is based on two relationships that are based on a mutual need for someone that is gone, so Sirius [and I] is basically based on the fact that we both miss James, and he’s clinging onto James through me, and I’m trying to get to know my father through him, and the same thing happened with Cho Chang [and me] in the film when I was the last person there, and her boyfriend got killed. We sort of had a crush on each other anyway. It would have been nice to get to know Harry from a different angle. So maybe when they remake the film in fifty years, I’ll be lining up for it. [laughs]

EW: Rita Skeeter. She’s so deliciously evil. She is just such a personality. She’d be so much fun to play because she’s funny, but she was something that is very… there is something very real about her, and her costume is fantastic.

Media: [unintelligible]

EW: Sorry?

Media: You said there is something very real about her.

DR: We’re in a room full of journalists.

EW: Maybe that wasn’t the right thing to say? [laughs] I’m going to backtrack, [laughs] yeah, but…

DR: What Emma meant… [laughs] people have [laughs] a malevolent side to them.

EW: They can! [laughs]

DR: But none of you! [laughs]

EW: None of you. Not any in here. [laughs]

Media: Rupert?

RG: Yeah, I’ll tell you. I’d be Hagrid; he’s pretty cool, yeah. I’d probably be him. I don’t know why. He’s tall. Yeah, he’s tall. That’s one reason.

CL: We have time for two more questions, and then we’ll go to the phone.

Media: Could you go through who your favorite actors are that are not in the film and who each of your favorite bands are or musicians?

DR: Rupert, you want to go first?

RG: Yeah, okay. I’m inclined to comedy films, really. When I was young I really liked Jim Carrey. I quite liked Dumb and Dumber and Mike Myers as well, and I liked Shrek and yeah, maybe them, yeah.

DR: Music.

RG: Music, yeah, I’m into sort of rock. AC/DC [is] quite cool, yeah.

EW: This question is a killer. I hate it.

DR: Look what you’ve done!

EW: There are so many people that I’ve never had one person [whom] I’ve particularly idolized, or I thought “Wow, I want to be just like them.” It used to be when I was younger Julia Roberts. I used to just love her. There is something so appealing about her, and I think pretty more recently I’ve loved Natalie Portman – not just on screen but [also] how she’s handled herself. I think she’s done a really good job. I love people like Renée Zellweger who'[re] not afraid to look unattractive and really put themselves into a character role and to really be an actress and not just be onscreen “am I pouting and looking beautiful” because that’s not really what it’s about. Nicole Kidman has had a fantastic career, and she’s done loads of different things with herself. She’s been really successful, and she’s done loads of different things. Okay, music. Again, this is really difficult. I like so many different things. I have had so many music influences in my life, and my dad has had a lot of influence on that. He got me into Eric Clapton, BB King, and loads of stuff like that, and then my mom got me interested into the symphony, and me for myself I divide up what I like. For dance I like hip hop and all that. There'[re] things I just like listening to. I love Damien Rice. I just love music generally. If you come to my house, I have music playing, yeah. [unintelligible]

DR: In a way, it’s hard to think of actors. We’ve been incredibly luckily. I’ve worked with some of the best British actors of their generation: Gary Oldman, Ralph Fiennes, Michael Gambon, and I’m trying to think of other actors. And a German actor who I think is absolutely amazing – but I don’t think it would ever work – is Daniel Brühl who is in The Edukators, AKA Die fetten Jahre sind vorbei, and “Goodbye Lenin” as well, and he’s amazing. When Alfonso did Y tú mamá también, Gael García Bernal is amazing. I mean come on now. Think of someone who speaks English.

[Everyone laughs]

DR:: I can’t actually think of… to be honest, I would like to worked with Peter Sellers. Older actors that I’d like to just have… well, would have been Peter Sellers. Because when you people talk about classic British actors, you talk about Lawrence Olivier, and Peter Sellers was just the most amazing in films. He played four parts in them – I think it was four or three – three. So he’s just amazing. But with music, that comes easier to me. Which possibly the other way around, it should be. I’m one of those people, I got an album the other day by a band called We Are Scientists, a band called… yes, good! It’s so rare that my taste gets recognition from someone. That’s a very special moment. Fantastic! The Rakes, Dogs, Hi-Fi… what else? I’m also listening to a sort of… because they’re not similar, actually… the new Franz Ferdinand album is extraordinary. They all sound kind of indie. But I also like a sort of more orchestral type like… any heard… ? Hands up if you’ve heard the band called Godspeed You Black Emperor? Yes! Fantastic. Brilliant. And also, my dad listens… my dad has got me into David Bowie and T-Rex and stuff like that. Electric Warrior, what a brilliant album! But also he got me into… when we were in San Francisco, he bought Melanie’s greatest hits. It’s brilliant! Absolutely fantastic! There’s this one song called “Look What They’ve Done to My Song, Ma.” It’s fantastic! So those are probably some of the ones at this moment.

Conference Leader (CL): We have time for one more quick question before we go to the phones.

Media: I know it’s very difficult, but what memory will you – of this film – carry away with you? When you’re lying in bed ,and you’re thinking, “Oh, my God, that was brilliant,” which memory will it be?

DR: Seeing it, probably. When you see sort of eleven months of your life, and you go in everyday, and you do it, it’s very particular, Harry Potter. It’s a very gradual process. And you piece it together day by day, and you refine and refine and refine and go through all the different stages, and I mean, it’s fifteen minutes of credits. Thousands of people work on it – all whose work is as important as the last. And then it amounts to this massive thing at the end of it, which is just amazing, and it is a fantastic thing to see because even if we hadn’t – I mean, I believe we’ve made a great film, a really good film – the sense of achievement would be still be this amazing thing. So that would probably be for me the thing about the film.

EW: My answer is quite similar to Dan’s. You’d think that working on something for the five years I’ve been doing this for, the novelty would start to wear off, and it would get a bit boring and probably start to get complacent and want to move on and stuff, but a couple weeks back, the trailer was shown for the first time on ITV. And I remember coming into the kitchen, and I saw the screen, and it said that it was going to play in five minutes. And I literally filled with excitement all over again about the fact that I was part of this and that I was in it. I could be excited about that there was all this talking again, and I was going to see it soon and all the waiting. And when I saw it I was literally just like, “Oh!” I was so excited again. Then… so yeah, probably sort of waiting to see how it would come out. And there’s a huge wait. A killer wait. You worked on the film for eleven months, and you have to wait six months to see it. It’s painful. You just so want to know what it looks like. So yeah, probably that.

RG: Yeah, I tried. I find it harder to actually remember anything really being quite like that.

[Everyone laughs]

RG: I’d have to say seeing it. Seeing it at the end.

DR: It seems productive.

EW: Mhm.

RG: Yeah, definitely. Yeah.

DR: It’s far too early to be reminiscing though, I think. We’ll be having parties soon. It was really nice to end that. Sort of, yeah.

CL: And now we’re going to go to some questions from our phone. So operator, first question?

Operator: First question comes from the line of Paige Banfield of Please go ahead.

Media: Hi, Dan! My question is for you.

DR: Hello, Paige!

Media: Hi! How are you?

DR: I am very well, thank you. How are you?

Media: I’m good! What is the one impression of this film that you wish that the viewers would take away that perhaps they didn’t get from the first three films?

DR: I think this film… I think the main theme of the entire [film] – sort of like all stories are – is I think it comes across more in this film than the last one… is the whole series is about a loss of innocence. If you go with the first one, it is all sort of very wide-eyed and almost naïve. He is quite naïve and thinking because it is a magical world, it is going to be better than the world that he has come from. Where in actual fact it’s not. It actually… there are further extremes. The further… it can have extremes of joy, which possibly are more than in the normal human world, but also the depths that man can sink to and people like Voldemort, and I think in this film he starts to wake up to that fact even more than last time. He comes to the realization that if he’s going to make it in life, he’s going to be making it alone. And I think that’s the main thing that he discovers in this film, and hopefully people will realize that about me. That I’m not out wreaking havoc! [laughs]

CL: Okay, operator. Second question.

Operator: Second question comes from the line of Lisa Carlin of CBS Radio. Please go ahead.

Media: Yes. Hello. Congratulations to all of you! It is a wonderful movie, and I’d love to hear each of you answer this question. After all these years, I am sure that you are incredibly invested in these characters in the story. J.K. Rowling is writing the seventh book now – the final book. If there was something you could say to her that you either really want to happen or really don’t want to happen before this series is finished, what would it be?

DR: If Quidditch isn’t absolutely necessary, maybe don’t make it so…

EW laughs

DR: Because I read in an interview with her a while ago saying… she said something like that it has become quite a chore writing Quidditch now. It’s quite tough to film!

[Everyone laughs]

DR: It’s tough on both of us. No one is benefitting!

[Everyone laughs]

DR: So maybe that would probably be one thing, I would say. Then again, it’s also incredibly exciting for people to watch. So there is that as well.

Media: And how about Emma and Rupert?

EW: I’m going to make Rupert really uncomfortable now. For goodness sake! Hermione and Ron just need to get it together! This has been SO long now! They’re so wrong, but they’re so right. It just needs to happen, and they just need to get on with it. Yeah, if that doesn’t happen, I am going to be really frustrated. Oh, God! It’s still ongoing. So hopefully they will end up together. [laughs]

Media: Great answer.

RG: Yeah… my answer is a bit different.

[Everyone laughs]

RG: I was actually looking forward to Quidditch, really. So I’ve ruined it. Yeah.

[Everyone laughs]

CL: Okay, operator. Question three?

Operator: One moment. Next question comes from the line of Sharon Eberson of Pittsburgh Post. Please go ahead.

Media: Hi! How are you guys doing? I was wondering… you said on this film Mike Newell treated you as adults, and perhaps that hadn’t been the case before or as much so before? In what way did that manifest itself? How did you know that “Wow! We’re being taken seriously!” and more like adults this time around?

DR: Do you want to say something? I am still thinking. So…

EW: I feel it’s just the way that… I mean, Alfonso put a lot of trust in us, and it was so nice that he really wanted to hear what we had to say and what we thought because… but Mike kind of took it to a new level. I mean, sometimes, in a way I think I would be saying to him… I would be learning something really difficult and just say, “I can’t get this right! Just tell me what you want me to do! Just tell me how you want this to be because I am going crazy!” And he would just say, “I can’t tell you how to do it. I’m not going to tell you how to do it.” And I would be like, “Okay!” And he said, “Just think about it.” I mean, it was just nice that while he guided us really well, we felt responsibility for ourselves, for our role, for how we came across. He left a lot of trust in us to do that, and it was really, really nice.

DR: I mean, I suppose sort of the main thing that I got out of Mike’s direction was to… I mean, we’re not old enough to appreciate scenes being analyzed and broken down. The fact is there is such a rigorous process of drafting the script on Harry Potter – on all films, but Harry Potter, we must go through ourselves before we get to the one, before we start shooting them. So basically by that time, if it’s in the script, it pushes the story forward, and it advances things, and it is there for a reason, and Mike was fantastic about going into detail. I mean, I remember sort of the first time we were rehearsing with Mike. It was Matt Lewis – the boy who plays Neville, who is fantastic – [and me]. He’s just the greatest guy, and we were doing a scene. And on the page, the scene was around an inch-and-a-half long, and we spent an hour-and-a-quarter rehearsing it and going through different… and we were going like, “Mike, if this is how long an inch-and-a-half of script takes, how long will it take when we get to the twelve-page things with Voldemort?” We were sort of slightly apprehensive about how we were going to be pushed, but it was very exciting. He realized that we are now old enough to appreciate really going into detail about the scenes. And I think that was probably the main thing that changed in this film.

RG: Yeah. The same really. Well, actually I’ve finished school now, so for me, it feels like I’m sort of grown up a bit more now anyway. Yeah, and Mike was great. He was really into your own sort of input. Yeah. I’m uniform in that. Yeah, definitely.

CL: Okay, operator, we have time for one more question.

Operator: Your next question comes from the line of Earl Dittman of Wireless Magazine. Please go ahead.

Media: Hi, guys and girls! How you doing?

DR: I’m sorry. One second. You’ve just been greeted by two members of the audience.

Media: [laughs] I’ve got the final question. One thing. A two-part question. Now that you’ve played these characters for over four films, do you feel a connection to them like twins or best friends? And are you excited about doing the rest of the films, the rest of the books? It’s for all of you.

DR: Emma, do you want to go first?

EW: I am hugely attached to Hermione’s character because I’ve already played the part for four years. I know any of you who interviewed me early on know that there is so much of me that goes into her as far as so much as my experiences and the things that Mike did. He really made me think about while I was acting. I was kind of regurgitating my own experiences. I don’t know what I am going to say now.

[Everyone laughs]

EW: Yeah, no. Putting them into… applying them to what Hermione’s going through. So I know if anybody else played Hermione, it would actually kill me. I wouldn’t be able to deal with that at all. I’d go after her. Anyway…

[Everyone laughs]

EW: So yeah. No girl can replace her.

DR: A threat to any future Hermiones.

EW: Yeah. Watch out!

DR: Actually, what you bring up… it’s enough to bring up an image. No, you’re absolutely right. He did make us draw upon our experiences. I think you can’t really help but feel attached to… I can’t help but feel attached to him in some ways. But I mean, kind of like twins. Oh! Someone’s tape has just run out. I just wanted to point that out. But I don’t know if it’s so much that… in a way, I don’t know if me playing him has turned out how much I am like him now or being so close to him over five years has influenced my own character. I mean, I don’t think it’s… I haven’t developed a complex over it or anything, but it is sort of an interesting thing. Yeah. I mean, it is very hard to separate yourself from him in some ways, but ultimately you go home at night, and it’s not like you stay in character all the time. It would be very hard to be a method actor on Harry Potter because then you’d have to try to find a figure of ultimate evil. Rupert, you’ve broken the… sorry, that wasn’t a part of an answer to the question.

[Everyone laughs]

DR: So that would be my not particularly clear answer to that question. Oh, the other part. Yes, sorry. I think it comes down to the fact of “are we still all enjoying it?” If we are, I think it would be sort of stupid not to. If the script is good, and it’s a challenge, and it’s an interesting director, as long as… I mean, I’m going to speak for myself. I’m not going to speak for everyone here. I don’t want to put words in everyone’s mouth. But I would feel as long as I am doing sort of enough other stuff. For some reason I keep addressing all the phone questions.

[Everyone laughs]

DR: As long as I can do enough other stuff around the same time, then I think it would be… and also, I sort of try to read the books when they come out very impartially and not make up my mind. But the fact is [that] when I was reading the sixth book, there was that bit, and I was going like, “Oh, my God. I would love to do that.” It was so good.

Media: Do you get those books earlier than the rest of us?

DR: No. No, we don’t.

EW: No, no.

DR: I tell my friends. I tell my friends I know and then make up stories, but I don’t actually get them. No.

RG: Yeah. Well, since the beginning, I always felt like I could sort of relate to Ron in a way. We’re both ginger, if you want, and we both have sort of big families. I’ve obviously been playing him for a long time. So I got to know him. So yeah. Definitely.

EW: It’s really difficult when people ask these questions because it is such a huge commitment and you can’t appreciate how much you’re on it, the amount of time everything takes. An eleven-month film is huge, and it’s not just a little bit every day. It is a full day. We work a lot of hours. So I think I would never want to do it if I felt I wasn’t going to give a 100%. I’m so focused on this one now. I’m so psyched about this film now. I’m really not thinking about anything. You have to take it one at a time. Otherwise you just get a bit overwhelmed, I think.

DR: I mean, I would just… I mean, I am not in any way trying to undermine… just in case we get prosecuted, we don’t actually work for very long hours. We work very long hours…

[Everyone laughs]

DR: … and when we’re not working… I think what makes it hard is that a lot of actors act like that. That’s the thing.

EW: Right.

DR: When actors aren’t filming, they just go to their dressing rooms and relax. Whereas we go… so yeah. And I think that makes it come to the equivalent because when we’re not filming… when other…

Media: Well, congratulations again for a great movie.

DR: Thank you very, very much, Earl.

EW: Thank you.

CL: We have to get them on out of here, so thank you very, very much.

[Audience applauds]

"Prisoner of Azkaban" DVD Launch Interviews - November 30, 2004

"Prisoner of Azkaban" DVD Launch Interviews - November 30, 2004

From Film ab (VIVA – Germany)
Transcribed by Sabine

Alfonso Cuarón: I received the DVD last night, and it was very exciting to go through the material on the disc.

Rupert Grint: The special features… they are really good.

Daniel Radcliffe: I got it yesterday, yes, though I haven´t watched the film. I just had a little bit of time to look at the extras.

AC: First of all you can see the film. We have worked very hard on it, and we are very proud of it. Michael Seresin, the cinematographer, and myself have worked very hard trying to get the textures into the video format.

Emma Watson: The special features are absolutely brilliant, and there is a game where you have to catch a rat. I am Crookshanks, trying to get the rat. I can´t do it, but it´s very good.

RG: Yes, there are games on it, and it´s really, really… it’s a lot on it. To catch Scabbers… it´s really cool.

EW: There'[re behind the scenes and little scenes, interviews, great background stuff, [and] a look around Hogwarts, and it´s brilliant. Really, really good.

AC: For the first time ever in the Harry Potter DVDs you can look behind the scenes. In the past, and that was right, they wouldn’t show the process of getting to see the creatures because it was about taking away the magic, but after two Harry Potters, I think that it´s time now. You can see how the movements of the Dementors and how the hippogriff was created. Everybody knows that a hippogriff doesn´t exist, and the filmmakers manage to create one somehow. And here you can see how this process is going on, from the idea until you have these creatures together with the children.

EW: [laughs] I haven´t watched the old DVDs. I have just tried the extra features. They are pretty cool.

RG: I have seen them once, but after the premiere you can see them all the time even on TV. We were a lot younger then, so it’s quite funny to see it back.

DR: I think I will watch them when all films are finished, so I won’t get distracted by the way I was like then because that would be just really weird.

RG: When you look back it was a long time because when I began, I was eleven years old, and now I am sixteen.

EW: The weirdest thing that ever happened to me? Probably when a guy wanted me to sign an autograph on a 50 pound note. I said, “I can go and fetch a piece of paper,” but he said, “No, no, no, I want it on the 50 pound note,” and I was like, “Okay.”

RG: It’s quite weird. I get recognized, but that’s the same for all of us. That’s weird, but nothing has changed really. It’s just there.

AC: Ever since it was released that year, after the premiere we had promotion tours and traveled everywhere, and then I was trying to call back my old life. You see your family quite rarely. So how my life has changed is that my baby is older, and I am expecting a new baby. I am actually looking forward to see the kids again. I hope Michael Seresin, the cinematographer, is there, so I can ask him how it´s going with the fourth. I am sure he is doing great.

RG: Yeah, I am looking forward to meeting Alfonso. We had so much fun on the set. It’s great to see him again.

AC: I sent Daniel a book about rock ‘n’ Roll because he is interested in it. Then he has written a letter to me, like telling me funny things about it. They´ve been working very hard. I was in the USA and Mexico, so communication is not so easy, but tonight I am going to see them, and I am looking forward to see[ing] them.

RG: Yes, I’ve got some DVDs.

DR: I’ve got quite a lot of movies on DVD and videos and anything.

AC: I´m traveling a lot, so it wasn´t worth buying DVDs, but now, since I settle, the first thing is that my house is getting filled with these DVDs.

DR: I got Dr. Strangelove.

RG: Last night I watched Shrek 2. Really nice.

DR: I like surreal films because they are just bizarre, and that’s why I like Dr. Strangelove, so I just really like it. I find it very funny actually. I just got the new album of Interpol and the single collection of the Super Furry Animals, which is also very good. These are these two things I am listening [to] probably at the most.

Voiceover: It’s probably the hottest rumor on the Internet that Jarvis Cocker will write the soundtrack for the fourth movie. The singer is already looking like Harry Potter at the age of 40 years now, and a small guest appearance is under discussion.

DR: I’ve been aware of that rumor, but actually I haven’t met him or heard more about it. It’s just a rumour, but it would be great if he did it, but I don’t know.

EW: We started shooting in June and will finish it in April, so a little bit is left.

RG: We are in the middle, and it’s gone really well.

EW: We have a new director, called Mike Newell, who directed 4 Weddings and a Funeral, which is one of my favorites. He is brilliant. It’s a brilliant script, and I am really excited about this one.

AC: The thing is [that] I know that Mike Newell is directing the fourth one, and he is one of my favorite directors. And I know that the kids really love Mike, and they are enjoying the experience, so it’s really good.

EW: Today and the last week I had dancing lessons for the ball. I am learning the waltz, foxtrot, tango, and that kind of stuff, and I am having a really good time.

DR: Alfonso directed a dark film. The fourth is going to be even darker, like the book is, and Mike is going further with that, and so I think he will be just evolving what Alfonso did.

RG: It´s going tp be a little bit scary.

EW: The amount of time when you really can be shooting is four hours a day and three hours for schoolwork to five hours maximum.

DR: It was only yesterday somebody pointed out to me that Christmas is really, really coming nearer. So when you are filming all day long, you forget the time. It goes into a blur. I’ve just realized that Christmas is quite soon, so I even haven’t made my list really.

EW: I don’t know really. I like surprises. Whatever Santa Claus brings to me.

RG: I just started playing golf. So a golf cart would be really cool.

AC: I guess I wish [for] these typical things like peace in the world and stuff like that.

RG: At first I thought golf was for old people, but it’s really good fun.

EW: How I will celebrate Christmas?

AC: Same old way of meeting, gathering with the family, to watch the excited children. The next morning when you are a little hung over and the kids wake you up early in the morning with their gifts.

EW: Friends and family. That´s Christmas. Definitely.

RG: Just with the family and when Father Christmas comes.

Rowling at Edinburgh International Book Festival - August 15, 2004

Rowling at Edinburgh International Book Festival - August 15, 2004

Lindsey Fraser (LF): Well, we must be the luckiest five hundred people in Edinburgh today. My name is Lindsey Fraser, and I am delighted to congratulate you, on behalf of the Edinburgh International Book Festival, on getting up so early on this Sunday morning. Welcome to this very special event. Of course, J K Rowling does not need an introduction, so my job is really very easy today. Thanks to the Harry Potter books, her life has changed dramatically.— I am sure that you know how the story goes. [Also] thanks to the Harry Potter books, our lives have changed as well. We are part of an international readership, and that is reflected [by] the fact that some of the people here today have traveled from far and wide. It is like a huge reading club that is immersed in the world that she has created. She does not often talk directly to her readers these days and no wonder. She is too busy writing huge, thick books to get out much, but she has made an exception today, first to read from her latest novel and then to take some of your questions. I know that you want to show how very pleased you are to see her today. Ladies and gentlemen, Jo Rowling.

J.K. Rowling (JKR): Morning. I am going to do a very short reading for you from Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, and then I will take some questions. Is there anyone here who has not finished reading the book? I know that there is someone at the back because I know her, and she told me. They seem to be mainly grown-ups. Would that be right? If there are any younger people who have not finished reading the book, we need to be careful not to give away the big ending if you know what I mean. If you have questions about the big ending, maybe you could save them for when you get your book signed afterwards. I try not to ruin people’s appreciation of the book if they are still reading it, so I have chosen a reading from quite early on in the book, just before Harry goes back to Hogwarts. He and Ron get quite a surprise—. For Harry, it is quite an unpleasant surprise, I have to say.

[JKR reads an excerpt from Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, and the audience asks questions]

Audience Member: Out of all your books, which one is your favourite?

JKR: It varies. I would have to say that it is probably Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, although at the moment— – it is unfair of me to say it—- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is my favorite book. Sorry. I am the only one who has read it, and I think it is rather good. I am normally like this when I write a book. Usually when I am just over halfway I normally love it, but by the time I finish it I completely despise it and think it is worthless rubbish. At the moment, I really like how the sixth book is going. A lot happens in the sixth book, and a lot of questions are answered. I really have a sense that we are nearly there, and it is time for answers – not more questions and clues – although obviously there are a few clues [since] I am not quite finished, yet. I hope that that is sufficiently frustrating for you, knowing that you can’t read it, yet!

Audience Member: Which books did you read when you were a child, and which books do you read now?

JKR: When I was a child, I would read absolutely anything. My favorite books for younger people would be I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith, which I really love; The Little White Horse; all the classic children’s books…. I love E. Nesbit. —I think she is great, and I identify with the way that she writes. Her children are very real children, and she was quite a groundbreaker in her day. I also read a lot of adult books. The last novel that I read was Wilkie Collins’s The Moonstone, which I had been meaning to read for years. It is a cracking read. I have just been on holiday, and for the first time in five years, I did not take any Iris Murdoch with me because it is so depressing. I was just about to put one in my case, and I thought, “”Why do this? Why put yourself through this?”” so I didn’t bother. I read Wilkie Collins instead, and it was a much better experience.

Audience Member: All the paintings we have seen at Hogwarts are of dead people. They seem to be living through their portraits. How is this so? If there [were] a painting of Harry’s parents, would he be able to obtain advice from them?

JKR: That is a very good question. They are all of dead people; they are not as fully realized as ghosts, as you have probably noticed. The place where you see them really talk is in Dumbledore’s office, primarily; the idea is that the previous Headmasters and Headmistresses leave behind a faint imprint of themselves. They leave their aura, almost, in the office, and they can give some counsel to the present occupant, but it is not like being a ghost. They repeat catchphrases, almost. The portrait of Sirius’s’ mother is not a very 3D personality; she is not very fully realized. She repeats catchphrases that she had when she was alive. If Harry had a portrait of his parents it would not help him a great deal. If he could meet them as ghosts, that would be a much more meaningful interaction, but as Nick explained at the end of Phoenix — I am straying into dangerous territory, but I think you probably know what he explained — there are some people who would not come back as ghosts because they are unafraid, or less afraid, of death.

Audience Member: Who is your favorite character in the books?

JKR: I have loads of favorite characters. I really like Harry, Ron, Hermione, Hagrid, and Dumbledore. I love writing Snape—. Even though he is not always the nicest person, he is really fun to write. I love writing Dudley. If I could meet anyone, I might choose Lupin. I really like him. My favorite new character is Luna—. I am very fond of her.

Audience Member: Is Aunt Petunia a Squib?

JKR: Good question. No, she is not, but—… [laughs] no, she is not a Squib. She is a Muggle, but—… [laughs] you will have to read the other books. You might have got the impression that there is a little bit more to Aunt Petunia than meets the eye, and you will find out what it is. She is not a Squib, although that is a very good guess. Oh, I am giving a lot away here. I am being shockingly indiscreet.

Audience Member: How do you think of all the names, like Moony, Wormtail, Padfoot, and Prongs?

JKR: Those names all came out of the creatures that they turned into. I had a lot of fun with those. Wormtail was the most difficult one. My sister loathes rats, and her problem with them is their tails, so that is what gave me the idea. You actually know how I get some names because I stole your mum’s maiden name, didn’t I? You have to be careful if you get friendly with me because you tend to turn up in my books, and if you offend me, you often turn up as a nasty character. I found the name McLaggen the other day, which I think is a great name. There is a McLaggen in Book 6 because I thought that it is a surname that is too good to waste.

Audience Member: In your stories, will Harry Potter ever grow up as a wizard?

JKR: Well, I don’t think it is giving too much away to say that he will survive to Book s7, mainly because I do not want to be strangled by you lot, but I am not going to say whether he grows any older than that because I have never said that. You are good at putting me on the spot!

Audience Member: Are any of your characters based on real people?

JKR: The only character who is deliberately based on a real person is Gilderoy Lockhart. [laughs] Maybe he is not the one [who] you would think of, but I have to say that the living model was worse. [laughs] He was a shocker! The lies that he told about adventures that he’d had, things he’d done, and impressive acts that he had committed… He was a shocking man. I can say this quite freely because he will never in a million years dream that he is Gilderoy Lockhart. I am always frightened that he is going to turn up one day. He is just one of those people from your past whom you feel you have never quite shaken off. I will look up one day at a signing, and he will say, “”Hello, Jo”.” [laughs] Other people have contributed the odd characteristic, such as a nose, to a character, but the only character who I sat down and thought that I would base on someone is Gilderoy Lockhart. It made up for having to endure him for two solid years.

Audience Member: Have you written any other books apart from the Harry Potter books?

JKR: No. I have written other things that have not been published, which I assure you is no great loss to the world. I have written all sorts of different things, but nothing else has been published. Some of it might be published one day. —I don’t know. There are some unfinished things that I would quite like to finish, but I do not know that I would want them to be published.

Audience Member: Of the many, many characters in your books, whose personality is most like yours?

JKR: There is a theory that every character is an extension of the author’s character, which makes me one of the most disturbed people, I think. [laughs] I do not know how many characters I’ve got, but it is nudging up towards 200, so I am really in trouble. Hermione is a bit like me when I was younger. I did not set out to make Hermione like me, but she is a bit like me. She is an exaggeration of how I was when I was younger. Harry is a bit like me. If you squeeze together Harry, Ron, and Hermione… I find them quite easy to write, and I think that that is because they are a bit like different parts of my personality. When you get to someone like Dolores Umbridge, no way—. I am absolutely not like her. She is a horrible woman.

Audience Member: What form does Dumbledore’s Patronus take?

JKR: Good question. Can anyone guess? You have had a clue. There was a little whisper there. It is a phoenix, which is very representative of Dumbledore for reasons that I am sure you can guess.

Audience Member: What will the seventh book be called?

JKR: I think you have been put up to that. [laughs] I was asked about Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix live on American television by a boy who was just as good-looking as you and just as cute. I just said it. I had said no to all the journalists, then a little boy just like you put up his hand and said, “”What is the name of the next book?”” I said, “”Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix”!” But I am not going to tell you, I’m sorry. You have no idea of the trouble that I would be in if I did. My agent would have me hunted down and killed, so I am not going to say.

Audience Member: Why is the barman of the Hog’s Head vaguely familiar to Harry? Is he Dumbledore’s brother?

JKR: Ooh—, you are getting good. Why do you think that it is Aberforth?

Audience member: Various clues. He smells of goats, and he looks a bit like Dumbledore.

JKR: I was quite proud of that clue. That is all that I am going to say. [laughs] Well, yes, obviously. I like the goat clue—. I sniggered to myself about that one.

Audience Member: Are you happy with the films that have been made?

JKR: I am happy with the films. Of the three, Azkaban is my favorite. I thought it was really good for a lot of different reasons. I thought that Alfonso Cuarón, the director, did a fantastic job, and Dan, Emma, and Rupert, who play Harry, Hermione, and Ron, were really wonderful in the film. —I told them that.

Audience Member: How do you make up the weird names for the potions?

JKR: Sometimes invention gives out. I was writing the latest chapter of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, and I needed to come up with another name for another potion. I sat for ten minutes at the keyboard, then I just typed “”X”.” I thought, “”I’ll go back and fill that in later.”” Sometimes you really want to get on with the story. Sometimes names just come to you, which is a great feeling, but sometimes it is difficult, and you have to batter your brain for a while. Sometimes it comes to you while you are washing up or in the loo or something. My husband is quite used to me saying, “”Wait!”” Then running upstairs and writing something down.

Audience Member: What do you do in your spare time?

I have no spare time at all. [laughs] When I’m not writing or looking after the children, I read and sleep. To be totally honest with you, at the moment sleeping is probably my very favorite thing in the world to do. I know that is a bit of a depressing answer. I would like to say I was partying with Mick Jagger—. Well, I wouldn’t want to be partying with Mick Jagger. That is a complete lie. But it would be a more interesting answer to give you here at the festival.

Audience Member: Who was the first character that you invented?

JKR: Harry. He really is the whole story. The whole plot is contained in Harry Potter, his past, present, and future—. That is the story. Harry came to me first, and everything radiated out from him. I gave him his parents, then his past, then Hogwarts, and the wizarding world got bigger and bigger. He was the starting point.

Audience Member: Does Hermione have any brothers or sisters?

JKR: No, she doesn’t. When I first made up Hermione I gave her a younger sister, but she was very hard to work in. The younger sister was not supposed to go to Hogwarts. She was supposed to remain a Muggle. It was a sideline that didn’t work very well, and it did not have a big place in the story. I have deliberately kept Hermione’s family in the background. You see so much of Ron’s family, so I thought that I would keep Hermione’s family, by contrast, quite ordinary. They are dentists, as you know. They are a bit bemused by their odd daughter but quite proud of her all the same.

Audience Member: Does Harry have a godmother? If so, will she make an appearance in future books?

JKR: No, he doesn’t. I have thought this through. If Sirius had married…… Sirius was too busy being a big rebel to get married. When Harry was born, it was at the very height of Voldemort fever last time, so his christening was a very hurried, quiet affair with just Sirius, just the best friend. At that point it looked as if the Potters would have to go into hiding, so obviously they could not do the big christening thing and invite lots of people. Sirius is the only one, unfortunately. I have got to be careful what I say there, haven’t I?

Audience Member: If you could be one of the characters for a day, who would it be?

JKR: Definitely not Harry because I would not want to go through it all. I know what is coming for him, so there is no way that I would want to be him. At the moment, I would not want to be any of them because life is getting quite tough for them. It would be a laugh to be someone like Peeves, causing mayhem and not bothering.

Audience Member: Will Ron and Hermione ever get together?

JKR: Well… —[laughs] What do you think?

Audience member: I think they will.

JKR: I’m not going to say. I can’t say, can I? I think that, by now, I’ve given quite a lot of clues on the subject. That is all I’m going to say. You will have to read between the lines on that one.

Audience Member: Have you always wanted to be a book author?

JKR: Yes. I knew that I wanted to be a writer when I was six because I wrote a book then. It was a work of towering genius about a rabbit called Rabbit. I gave it to my mother, and she said, “”That’s lovely”,” as a mother would. “”That’s very, very good.”” I stood there and thought, “”Well, get it published then”.” That’s a bit of an odd thing for a child of six to think. I don’t know where it came from. I thought, “”Come on, then.” Proofs? Galleys?” I obviously really wanted to do it. No one in my family wanted to write. My sister writes very funny letters, but they are always about one paragraph long. She does not keep it going in the way that I do.

Audience Member: Can you tell me more about Rita Skeeter?

JKR: I love Rita. You know when Harry walks into the Leaky Cauldron for the first time, in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone? Everyone says, “”You’re back,”” and he realizes for the first time that he is famous. In a very early draft, Rita, a journalist, was there, and she ran up to him. For some reason she was called Bridget. —I forget why. Anyway, she detained him too long in the Leaky Cauldron, and I really needed to get him moving, so I thought that I would not put her there. As I was writing Book 1, I was planning the rest, and Book 4 was supposed to be where Harry’s fame became a burden to him. It really starts to weigh on him when he is exposed to the wider wizarding world, so I thought that that would be the perfect place for Rita to come in. She was still called Bridget at the time. I didn’t realize that by the time I wrote Book 4 I would have met quite a lot of Ritas, and people would assume that I was writing Rita in response to what had happened to me, which was not in fact the truth. However, I am not going to deny that writing Rita was a lot more fun having met a few [of the] people I had met. I actually quite like Rita. She is loathsome—. Morally, she’s horrible—, but I can’t help admiring her toughness. She is very determined to do the job, and there is something quite engaging about that. There is more to come on Rita. It is really enjoyable to write her and Hermione because they are such very different people. The scene in which I had Hermione, Rita, and Luna together in the pub was really fun to write because they are three very different women with very different points of view. You have this very cynical journalist, you have Hermione, who is very logical, upright, and good, and you have Luna, who is completely out to lunch but fantastic. I really like Luna. You have these three people who are not on each other’s wavelengths making a deal. It was fun to write.

Audience Member: You have probably had a lot of people trying to get information out of you about the books, but what is the strangest thing, or maybe the slyest thing, anyone has done? Have you ever slipped up?

JKR: Well, you are pretty sneaky. People ask questions like, “”Will there be an eighth novel, and will Harry be in it?”” There are questions that I simply can’t answer. Fans are very good at that, and I have to be very awake. I think that you want to know, but you don’t want to know as well. You would all like me to tell you exactly what happens in Books 6 and 7 and then to erase your memories so that you can read them. I know because that is how I feel about things that I really enjoy. I would kind of like to do it, but at the same time I know that I would ruin it for everyone. I thought that I would give you something, though, rather than get to the end of today and think that I have not given you a lot. There are two questions that I have never been asked but that I should have been asked if you know what I mean. If you want to speculate on anything, you should speculate on these two things, which will point you in the right direction. The first question that I have never been asked – —it has probably been asked in a chatroom but no one has ever asked me – —is “”Why didn’t Voldemort die?”” Not “”Why did Harry live?”” but “”Why didn’t Voldemort die?”” The Killing Curse rebounded, so he should have died. Why didn’t he? At the end of Goblet of Fire he says that one or more of the steps that he took enabled him to survive. You should be wondering what he did to make sure that he did not die. —I will put it that way. I don’t think that it is guessable. It may be—. Someone could guess it—. But you should be asking yourself that question, particularly now that you know about the prophesy. I’d better stop there, or I will really incriminate myself. The other question that I am surprised no one has asked me since Phoenix came out— – I thought that people would – —is why Dumbledore did not kill or try to kill Voldemort in the scene in the ministry. I know that I am giving a lot away to people who have not read the book. Although Dumbledore gives a kind of reason to Voldemort, it is not the real reason. When I mentioned that question to my husband— – I told Neil that I was going to mention it to you – —he said that it was because Voldemort knows that there are two more books to come. As you can see, we are on the same literary wavelength. [laughs] That is not the answer; Dumbledore knows something slightly more profound than that. If you want to wonder about anything, I would advise you to concentrate on those two questions. That might take you a little bit further.

Audience Member: Will Hagrid ever succeed with his plans for his brother?

JKR: In a limited way, yes. Grawp is obviously the [most] very stupid thing that Hagrid ever brought home. In his long line of bringing home stupid things – —Aragog, the Blast-Ended Skrewts—- Grawp is the one that should have finished him off, but ironically it might be the one time that a monstrous something came good. By the next book, Grawp is a little bit more controllable. I think you got a clue to that at the end of Phoenix because Grawp was starting to speak and to be a little bit more amenable to human contact.

Audience Member: How did Dumbledore get his scar of the London Underground?

JKR: You may find out one day. I am very fond of that scar.

Audience Member: How do you think up the names of the books?

JKR: Sometimes it was really easy, and the title came naturally out of the plot. Sometimes it was a bit of a struggle. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets had different titles. In fact, as everyone now knows, it was once called Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, but then I removed a whole storyline that did not work at all. It gave too much information too early, so I pulled it out, and it became a major part – but not the only part – of Book 6. There is no trace of that storyline left in Chamber of Secrets. People have been speculating that Book 6 is a spinoff of Book 2, but it is not.

Audience member: I was really upset when Sirius was taken……

JKR: No, no, we can’t. We’ll talk about it afterwards. I think we have given it away anyway but never mind.

Audience Member: It has recently been confirmed that Blaise Zabini is in fact a male character. Will we see more of him in the next few books?

JKR: That’s correct. You do.

Audience Member: Also, will we see more of Snape?

JKR: You always see a lot of Snape because he is a gift of a character. I hesitate to say that I love him.

Audience member: I do[, too].

JKR: You do? This is a very worrying thing. Are you thinking about Alan Rickman or about Snape? [laughs] Isn’t this life, though? I make this hero— – Harry, obviously- —and there he is on the screen, the perfect Harry, because Dan is very much as I imagine Harry, but who does every girl under the age of fifteen fall in love with? Tom Felton as Draco Malfoy. Girls, stop going for the bad guy. Go for a nice man in the first place. It took me 35 years to learn that, but I am giving you that nugget free, right now, at the beginning of your love lives.

Audience Member: In the fifth book, Harry can see the Thestrals. Can you?

JKR: Yes, I can, definitely. That is a really good question because it enables me to clear up a point. The letters that I’ve had about the Thestrals! Everyone has said to me that Harry saw people die before he could see the Thestrals. Just to clear this up once and for all, this was not a mistake. I would be the first to say that I have made mistakes in the books, but this was not a mistake. I really thought this one through. Harry did not see his parents die. He was one year old and in a cot at the time. Although you never see that scene, I wrote it and then cut it. He didn’t see it; he was too young to appreciate it. When you find out about the Thestrals, you find that you can see them only when you really understand death in a broader sense, when you really know what it means. Someone said that Harry saw Quirrell die, but that is not true. He was unconscious when Quirrell died in Philosopher’s Stone. He did not know until he came around that Quirrell had died when Voldemort left his body. Then you have Cedric. With Cedric, fair point. Harry had just seen Cedric die when he got back into the carriages to go back to Hogsmeade station. I thought about that at the end of Goblet because I have known from the word “go” what was drawing the carriages. From Chamber of Secrets, in which there are carriages drawn by invisible things, I have known what was there. I decided that it would be an odd thing to do right at the end of a book. Anyone who has suffered a bereavement knows that there is the immediate shock but that it takes a little while to appreciate fully that you will never see that person again. Until that had happened, I did not think that Harry could see the Thestrals. That means that when he goes back, he saw these spooky things. It set the tone for Phoenix, which is a much darker book.

Audience Member: Apart from Harry, Snape is my favorite character because he is so complex, and I just love him. Can he see the Thestrals, and if so, why? Also, is he a pure-blood wizard?

JKR: Snape’s ancestry is hinted at. He was a Death Eater, so clearly he is no Muggle-born because Muggle- born are not allowed to be Death Eaters except in rare circumstances. You have some information about his ancestry there. He can see Thestrals, but in my imagination most of the older people at Hogwarts would be able to see them because, obviously, as you go through life you do lose people and understand what death is. But you must not forget that Snape was a Death Eater. He will have seen things that…… why do you love him? Why do people love Snape? I do not understand this. Again, it’s bad boy syndrome, isn’t it? It’s very depressing. [laughs] One of my best friends watched the film, and she said, “”You know who’s really attractive?”” I said, “”Who?”” She said, “”Lucius Malfoy!””

Audience Member: Is there more to Dudley than meets the eye?

JKR: No. [laughs] What you see is what you get. I am happy to say that he is definitely a character without much back story. He is just Dudley. The next book, Half-Blood Prince, is the least that you see of the Dursleys. You see them quite briefly. You see them a bit more in the final book, but you don’t get a lot of Dudley in Book 6. Very few lines. I am sorry if there are Dudley fans out there, but I think you need to look at your priorities if it is Dudley that you are looking forward to. [laughs]

Audience Member: Has your original plan for the seven books changed along the way?

JKR: It has changed but only in details. In all important respects, it has stayed the same, and the ending will be exactly what I planned before 1997. The story has taken little twists and turns that I maybe didn’t expect, but we are still on track. Each book has broadly done what it was supposed to do in taking you towards the final conclusion.

Audience Member: There is a lot of Latin in the spells in your books Do you speak Latin?

JKR: Yes. At home, we converse in Latin. [laughs] Mainly. For light relief, we do a little Greek. My Latin is patchy, to say the least, but that doesn’t really matter because old spells are often in cod Latin—. A funny mixture of weird languages creeps into spells. That is how I use it. Occasionally you will stumble across something in my Latin that is, almost accidentally, grammatically correct, but that is a rarity. In my defense, the Latin is deliberately odd. Perfect Latin is not a very magical medium, is it? Does anyone know where Avada Kedavra came from? It is an ancient spell in Aramaic, and it is the original of “abracadabra,” which means “”let the thing be destroyed”.” Originally, it was used to cure illness, and the “thing” was the illness, but I decided to make it the “thing” as in the person standing in front of me. I take a lot of liberties with things like that. I twist them round and make them mine.

Audience Member: Will there be a book about Harry’s Mum and Dad, about how they became friends and how they died?

JKR: So it would be “Harry Potter: Episode One”. [laughs] No, but a lot of people have asked that. It is all George Lucas’s fault. You won’t need a prequel; by the time I am finished, you will know enough. I think it would be shamelessly exploitative to do that. I am sure that Mr. Lucas is doing it only for artistic reasons, but in my case I think that by the time you have had the seven books you will know everything you need to know for the story.

Audience Member: Has Voldemort or Tom Riddle ever cared for or loved anyone?

JKR: Now that’s a cracking question to end with—. Very good. No, never. [laughs] If he had, he couldn’t possibly be what he is. You will find out a lot more about that. It is a good question because it leads us rather neatly to Half-Blood Prince, although I repeat for the millionth time that Voldemort is not the half-blood prince, which is what a lot of people thought. He is definitely, definitely not. Thank you for your excellent questions.


LF: They were absolutely brilliant questions, and I think you will agree that it has been a fantastic event. Please join me in thanking J.K. Rowling.

J.K. Rowling World Book Day Chat - March 4, 2004

J.K. Rowling World Book Day Chat - March 4, 2004

Note: Questions may not be in the exact order they were asked.

J.K. Rowling (JKR): Hi, everyone. I’m here LIVE and ready to answer your questions!

Question from Bobby: Any thoughts about a prequel series?

JKR: No, no prequels here. You won’t need them by the time I’ve finished. You’ll have all the backstory you’ll need!

Question from Miggs: Is there going to be a new Minister of Magic in the next books?

JKR: Yes. “Ha! Finally, a concrete bit of information,” I hear you cry!

Question from Kaidi MacKay: Dumbledore is getting older. Will it be a lot harder for him to fight Lord Voldemort this time around?

JKR: He is getting older, but he didn’t do badly at the end of Phoenix, so there’s life in him yet!

Question from Kings Park Primary School: What will happen to Hagrid’s half-brother?

JKR: You’ll find out in Book 6. Luckily he’s become a little more controllable.

Question from AjXTee: How long does it take you to plan a book before you even start writing? Or do you just plan as you go along?

JKR: It’s hard to say; Book 6has been planned for years, but before I started writing seriously I spend two months re-visting the plan and making absolutely sure I know what I am doing (learning from my mistakes. I didn’t check the plan for Goblet of Fire and had to re-write a third of the book).

Question from Damaged: Will Winky ever recover?

JKR: Poor Winky… she’ll never be entirely cured of her Butterbeer addiction, I’m afraid.

Question from HarriFreak: Who is the “one [who] never will return” Death Eater?

JKR: You have to work it out, but a lot of fansites have got it right.

Question from Vicky from Bishop Walsh RC Comprehensive – Sutton Coldfield: How do you react when your books/movies are criticized by critics?

JKR: It depends what they say. Sometimes I agree with the criticism, though I can’t say that’s fun. It also depends who it is. There’s a vast difference between being criticized by someone you really admire (which has happened) and someone who you don’t admire at all (which doesn’t hurt)!

Question from Catheldral school: Will Wormtail ever pay Harry back?

JKR: You’ll see… keep reading!

Question from SnapesForte: Is Mad-Eye Moody the real Moody this time? And if he is, is he up to something fishy? Because he’s acting too muhc like Crouch, Jr. – sniffing food, etc.

JKR: It’s the other way around. Crouch, Jr. acted just like the real Moody.

Question from Tanya J Potter: If you could change anything about Harry Potter what would it be?

JKR: There are loads of things I would change. I don’t think any writer is ever completely happy with what they’ve written. One of these days – once seven is finished – I’ll revise all seven books.

Question from pablo: If Harry dies in the ending of the books, will Voldemort be invincible?

JKR: Pablo, I can’t possibly answer. You’ll have to read book seven!

Question from eastbrook4: Why did Harry have to split up with Cho Chang?

JKR: That’s life, I’m afraid. They were never going to be happy. It was better that it ended early!

Question from Joshua from Navigation Primary School: How were you involved in making the Harry Potter films, and did Hogwarts look like you had imagined it?

JKR: Hogwarts looked just as I imagined it. It was the most bizarre experience when I walked onto the set of the Great Hall; it really was like walking into my own brain.

Question from Harry: Has Voldemort any children?

JKR: No. Voldemort as a father… now that’s not a nice thought.

Quesiton from Megan: Is there a link between Snape and vampires??

JKR: Erm… I don’t think so.

Question from Cookie246122: Why did you kill Sirius? It made me very sad :(

JKR: I’m really, really sorry. I didn’t want to do it, but there was a reason. If you think you can forgive me, keep reading. You’ll find out. (I feel really guilty now.)

Question from book: Why did Voldemort pick Harry and not Neville?

JKR: Dumbledore explains this in Order of the Phoenix. Voldemort identified more with the half-blood boy and therefore decided he must be the greater risk.

Question from dsm: Are Harry’s powers going to get even greater?

JKR: Yes, he’s really progressing as a wizard now (which is lucky because I know what’s in store for him).

Question from Hannah from St. Malachy’s Primary School – Armagh: Did you feel the actors suited the characters of your book when you met them?

JKR: Yes, I did. Emma Watson in particular was very, very like Hermione when I first spoke to her. I knew she was perfect from that first phone call.

Question from gazza: Will harry become Headmaster of Hogwarts?

JKR: I’m not sure I can see Harry in an academic career; he’s seen so much action!

Question from Class AG: Did you base Voldemort on any real people? If so, are you related to them?!

JKR: Lol. No, I didn’t base Voldemort on any real person!

Question from novell: I find moaning Myrtle is the saddest character in your books, inspiring a mixture of revulsion and pity. Does she play any further part?

JKR: You do see her again. Don’t you like her? I know she’s a bit revolting, but that’s why I’m so fond of her.

Question from katrin: What does it feel like when kids tell you that it’s thanks to you that they started to read?

JKR: Nobody could possibly say anything that pleased me more. It’s the most wonderful thing to hear.

Question from *LRGS School: Which character do you most dislike ?

JKR: Probably Uncle Vernon.

Question from class 14: If you were an Animagus, which animal would you be? And why?

JKR: I gave Hermione my ideal Animagus because it’s my favorite animal. You’ll find the answer in the Room of Requirement, Order of the Phoenix!

Question from Madina: Are you planning to ever visit Russia? There are a lot of young fans dreaming about meeting you!

JKR: I’d love to visit Russia. It’s a long-standing ambition, so you never know! My son’s still a bit young for long journeys, though, He’s not one year old, yet.

Question from Magwitch: If you could be any female character in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone which one would you be?

JKR: Hermione. Definitely not Pansy Parkinson.

Question from Ali: Why specifically does Dumbledore trust Snape?

JKR: Another excellent and non-answerable question. I shall merely say that Snape has given Dumbledore his story and Dumbledore believes it.

Question from Kings Park Primary School: Which position would you like to play if you played Quidditch?

JKR: Who wouldn’t want to be Seeker? But I think I’d be dreadful at Quidditch. I’m not sporty, I’m not great with heights, and I’m clumsy as well. Neville would be about my standard.

Question from Maidenhead Library: Why did you choose to do books about wizards?

JKR: It chose me. The idea just sprang into my head, and I knew I had to write it.

Question from Majeed from Bristol Grammar School – Bristol: To what extent did you conceive Harry Potter as a moral tale?

JKR: I did not conceive it as a moral tale. The morality sprang naturally out of the story, a subtle but important difference. I think any book that sets out to teach or preach is likely to be hard going at times (though I can think of a couple of exceptions).

Question from Luisa: Is Draco an only child?

JKR: Yes. You wouldn’t want more Dracos, would you?!

Question from bubbles: If you were Harry Potter for a day what would you do?

JKR: If I, personally, were Harry Potter I think I would go and hide somewhere, but that’s because I know what’s coming!

Question from Sussie: Does Harry’s eyecolor become important in the future books, like we’ve heard?

JKR: No comment!

Question from Bradley y4 Griffyndor: Why did you call the school “Hogwarts”?

JKR: I tried all sorts of different versions of the name, and then this word floated into my mind, and I knew it was the right one.

Question from Lucy: What happened to Wormtail?

JKR: You’ll find out in Book 6.

Question from bibwhang: Will Ron ever get on the Gryffindor Quidditch team?

JKR: Well, he’s already there! The question is whether the new Quidditch Captain will allow him to stay!

Question from Siriusstar: Is Remus a pure-blood?

JKR: Half-blood.

Question from julesrbf: Where did you come up with the word “Muggle”?

JKR: I was looking for a word that suggested both foolishness and loveability. The word “mug” came to mind, for somebody gullible, and then I softened it. I think “Muggle” sounds quite cuddly. I didn’t know that the word “muggle” had been used as drug slang at that point. Ah, well.

Question from spud: What type of books did you read when you were younger?

JKR: Anything; books for adults and children alike.

Question from Krish: Do you think that the films reflect well on the books?

JKR: I think they’re pretty faithful to the books. Hogwarts looks just as I imagined it; I had a lot of input on how the various locations look.

Question from Debbie: What will Ron’s job be when he leaves school?

JKR: Well, assuming he lives to leave school… I’m not going to tell you :)

Question from faye109: Is twelve the maximum possible number of OWLs one can achieve?

JKR: Yes, I think it is off the top of my head.

Question from kai: Where do wizarding children go to school before Hogwarts?

JKR: They can either go to a Muggle primary school, or they are educated at home. The Weasleys were taught by Mrs. Weasley.

Question from zwimmey: Have you considered writing childrens’ science fiction, or will you move on to a completely new genre?

JKR: I don’t think I’d be very good at science fiction; you need to know some science! Probably a completely different genre.

Question from Kyla: What made Sirius decide to send Snape to the Willow?

JKR: Because Sirius loathed Snape (and the feeling was entirely mutual). You’ll find out more about this in due course.

Question from Leanne from Eastbrook Primary School – Hemel Hempstead: If you could spend a day in real life with one of your fictional characters, who would it be, and what would you do?

JKR: I think I’d most like to spend a day with Harry. I’d take him out for a meal and apologize for everything I’ve put him through.

Question from Luisa: How old are Charlie and Bill Weasley in relation to their other siblings?

JKR: Oh dear, math. Let me think. Bill is two years older than Charlie, who is two years older than Percy.

Question from Phoenix_Tear: Do you ever get a dream [that] helps you in writing the Harry Potter series?

JKR: No, and I wish I had! I did once have an incredible dream about Nicholas Flamel, though.

Question from Saskia: Hagrid mentioned he’s allergic to cats in Philosopher’s Stone. Why has he never sneezed when Crookshanks was around?

JKR: He’s never around Crookshanks very much. I’m allergic to cats, and I can be in a room with one briefly. But of course, Crookshanks isn’t all cat. Read Fantastic Beasts!

Question from RAXTA: How did you invent the sport Quidditch?

JKR: I sat in a hotel room after a row with my then boyfriend and invented it. Looking back, I can understand why I liked the idea of Bludgers.

Question from amanda: I want to be a writer. Any tips?

JKR: Read as much as you can. Keep writing and then throwing it away until one day you do something that you don’t think belongs in the bin. Stick to writing what you know about. Don’t give up.

Question from Will: What is your favorite magical beast?

JKR: The phoenix, definitely.

Question from alixnecole: Were you consulted at all when the actors were chosen for the movie?

JKR: Yes, Chris Columbus, who was the director of the first film, asked me if there was anybody I thought would be good, and I said, “Robbie Coltrane for Hagrid” in one breath.

Qustion from Field: Do you plan for Ginny to take on a major character role in the next two books?

JKR: Well, now that Ginny has stopped being mute in Harry’s presence, I think you can see that she is a fairly forceful personality (and she always has been. Remember Ron saying that she “never shuts up” in Chamber of Secrets)?

Question from Fiona from St. Richard’s Catholic College: How do you come up with all of those spells?

JKR: Sometimes I use elements of “real” spells that people used to believe worked, but mostly I make them up.

Question from Adele: Who are the two “unknown Gryffindor girls” in Harry’s year?

JKR: Oh, I’ve just understood what you mean. I haven’t got the notebook on hand, and I can’t remember! That’s terrible. I’ll try and remember before the end of the chat!

Question from bertieana: Will we be seeing Krum again any time soon?

JKR: You will see Krum again, though not soon.

Question from Ernie: I wonder if you can let us know what form Professor Snape’s boggart and Patronus take. I am very curious.

JKR: Well, I’m not going to tell you, Ernie, but that’s because it would give so much away. I wonder whether Ernie is your real name. (It was my grandfather’s.)

Question from Andrews: Does Voldemort die in the last book?

JKR: Now, do you really really think I’d answer that?!

Question from Cris: One answer we’re all longing for: How’s the writing of Book 6 going, and when will it be released?

JKR: I can’t say when it will be released because that’s down to my publishers. But it’s going really well. I am loving writing it.

Question from starlinguk: Do you believe in prophecies in real life?

JKR: No, I don’t. And even in the wizarding world, as McGonagall explains in Prisoner of Azkaban, true Seers are very rare.

Question from katty: If you were to have a magical power what would you chose?

JKR: I would like to fly. And sometimes to turn off other people’s voices.

Question from Persia: If a Muggle looks at Hogwarts what will they see?

JKR: Nice name, Persia. They will see nothing but a ruined castle with large signs on it saying “keep out, dangerous building.”

Question from renata: What happened between Hermione and Viktor Krum during the summer?

JKR: Ron would like to know that, too.

Question from Helen from Ulverston Victoria High School – Cumbria: Do you realize Harry and co. sit on their broomsticks backward? You can’t balance like that!

JKR: Lol. You clearly haven’t read Quidditch Through the Ages, or you’d know about the Cushioning Charm! Buy it at once; it’s for charity!

Question from HPFreak7: How are Muggle parents convinced to let their kids go to Hogwarts, a strange place they never heard of before. And wouldn’t they think it [were] a practical joke?

JKR: In the case of Muggle parents, special messengers are sent to explain everything to them. But don’t forget that they will have noticed that there’s something strange about their child for the previous ten years, so it won’t come as a complete bolt from the blue.

Question from ashvital: Which of your books does your daughter like best?

JKR: It would be between Goblet of Fire and Order of the Phoenix. She likes ACTION!

Question from Chibimono: Do you have any future plans in particular for Draco Malfoy?

JKR: I’ve got plans for all my characters. Actually, this is a really good place to answer a question about Draco and Hermione, which a certain Ms. Radcliffe is desperate to have answered. Will they end up together in Book 6/7? NO! The trouble is, of course, that girls fancy Tom Felton, but Draco is NOT Tom Felton! (My daughter likes Tom Felton very much, too, because he taught her how to use a diablo.)

Question from Amy: What did Dudley [relive] when he faced the Dementors in Book 5?

JKR: Ah, good question. You’ll find out!

Question from hanna: How did you feel when your first Harry Potter book came out?

JKR: Elated, ecstatic, extraordinarily happy!

Question from Josh from Cottenham Village College: Right at the beginning, when Voldemort tried to kill Harry, how did Voldemort and Harry both survive?

JKR: That is the crucial and central question, and if I answered it there would be hardly any point writing Books 6 and 7… so I won’t!

Question from kelly_holland: When you turn into an Animagus, can you choose what animal you become? Or does this get “assigned” to you?

JKR: No, you can’t choose. You become the animal that suits you best. Imagine the humiliation when you finally transform after years of study and find that you most closely resemble a warthog.

Question from queenmarion: I noticed in the Black family tree that everyone is named after a constellation. Is this intentional? Does this have any bearing on the plot?

JKR: It’s just one of those family traditions, although Narcissa breaks the trend. I had always thought of her as “Narcissa,” so I decided not to change her to match the others when I came up with their names. There’s been a lot of speculation that she is in some way linked to Lily and Petunia because of the flower theme, but I can put that rumor to rest here: She isn’t related to them.

Question from Wild Rose: Will we see more of Narcissa Malfoy now that Lucius is unavailale?

JKR: Yes, you will.

Question from Echo: Was Percy acting entirely of his own accord in Order of the Phoenix?

JKR: I’m afraid so.

Question from MauraEllen: Did the debt Wormtail has to Harry carry over to Voldemort when he sacrificed his arm to restore his body?

JKR: No. Can’t say any more than that!

Question from Adele: Will poor Harry be stuck at the Dursleys’ all next summer?

JKR: Not all summer, no. In fact, he has the shortest stay on Privet Drive so far.

Question from Cathedral: Don’t want to ruin the ending, but will we be finding out more about the significance of the shape of Harry’s scar in future books?

JKR: The shape is not the most significant aspect of that scar, and that’s all I’m going to say!

Question from Rita: Will Neville have a bigger part to play?

JKR: I think he’s already got a much bigger part. Neville has changed a lot as he’s become older and more confident. Book 5 was a real turning point for Neville.

Question from HG: What is Trelawney’s middle name?

JKR: Patricia.

Question from Denise from Blackheath High School for Girls London: If Harry Potter [were] a girl, do you think his adventures would have been different?

JKR: Yes, I do think they would be different. I imagined Harry as a boy from the start, so I’ve never thought about Harriet Potter, but I’m sure lots of things in the books would change. Ron, for a start. He’d have to be Ronalda.

Question from HPFreak7: How did Harry get the Marauder’s Map back, when Crouch, Jr. had it last?

JKR: Loads of people have asked me this. I knew I should have shown Harry nipping into Moody’s empty office and getting it back, but I assumed you’d all know that’s what he did. Sorry!

Question from HG: Will we see Moaning Myrtle again?

JKR: Oh, yes, I love Myrtle. I couldn’t shut her out for long.

Question from Fenny: Will Lord Voldemort get more “screentime” in the upcoming books?

JKR: You will see him again, but like most evil dictators, he prefers his henchmen to do his dirty work.

Question from mnich: If you had a job in the wizarding world, what do you think you would be?

JKR: I can’t think of anything I’d rather do than write, so I suppose I’d write spellbooks!

Question from Arianna: Can we believe everything the Sorting Hat says?

JKR: The Sorting Hat is certainly sincere.

Question from LizardLaugh: I love Tonks. She’s my favorite new character. Will she play a large role in future books and/or in Harry’s life?

JKR: Tonks is hanging around. I really like her, too.

Question from Softballchicky32: What is the extent of Hagrid’s magical powers?

JKR: Not great! He can do magic to a fairly basic standard and occasionally surprises everyone (himself included) by bringing off more impressive bits of magic. Of course, he is somewhat hampered by the fact that his wand is broken and disguised as an umbrella.

Question from mnich: Was Voldemort born evil?

JKR: I don’t believe that anybody was born evil. You will find out more about the circumstances of his birth in the next book.

Question from Fran from Kesteven and Grantham Girls’ School: Which character in the Harry Potter books are you most like?

JKR: Hermione when I was younger, definitely. But there’s a bit of Harry and Ron in me too.

Question from mnich: Is it true Harry will get a more permanent injury in the sixth book?

JKR: I’ve read this rumor on the net, and I’m not sure where it came from. I don’t really want to get into what happens to Harry in Book 6, but I certainly never said that he would have a “more permanent injury.”

Question from Sirius Kase: Will we get to know the Grangers? Is Hermione an only child?

JKR: I always planned that Hermione would have a younger sister, but she’s never made an appearance, and somehow it feels like it might be too late now.

Question from Calliope: Are the Muggle and magical worlds ever going to be rejoined?

JKR: No, the breach was final, although as Book 6 shows, the Muggles are noticing more and more odd happenings now that Voldemort’s back.

Question from Jami: Is Harry related to Godric Gryffindor?

JKR: People are always wondering who Harry might be related to. Maybe he is 😉

Question from Delleve: Are there any plans for any more background books like Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and Quidditch Through the Ages in the future?

JKR: Possibly. If I do them, it will be for charity like the first two.

Question from Potter47: Did you come up with sugar quills from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory? I believe there were “Sugar Pencils” in that book.

JKR: Oh, dear, I don’t know whether I did or not. Not consciously, anyway. But it’s not a very difficult idea to come up with; we all suck the ends of pens and pencils (or I do), so it seemed logical to make them taste nice, and at Hogwarts, obviously, they use quills!

Question from snowball: Do you think a film no longer than the first two films can do justice to a book as long and complex as Goblet of Fire?

JKR: I think that they will have to simplify the plot somewhat. Steve Kloves, the scriptwriter, is really good, and if anyone can do the essence of the book justice, he can.

Question from Kirsten from Kirkintilloch High School: If Hagrid [were] a real person and came to your house, what would you cook him for dinner?

JKR: Something like an entire side of beef, I think. And I’m quite good at Yorkshire puddings so a couple of dozen of them, too.

Question from coolbeans3131: Would you like to see the same actors portray the trio in all seven movies?

JKR: Yes, I would. I really like all three of them.

Question from Kirk Wilkins: Will you ever publish all your notebooks of information on the series? I am very interested in reading 150 pages on the history of the Dementors!

JKR: Lol. Who said there were 150 pages on the Dementors??? I certainly didn’t! I don’t think I’ll ever publish my notebooks. Too many revealing doodlings!

Question from Jangles: Are you going to write books about Harry after school?

JKR: Probably not, but I’ll never say “never” because every time I do I immediately break the vow!

Question from Field: Regarding Harry’s subconscious feelings, how has it changed from Book 1 to Book 5?

JKR: Well, he’s obviously been through a lot since Book 1, and Book 5 was the book when he cracked up a little. In Book 6, the wizarding world is really at war again, and he has to master his own feelings to make himself useful.

Question from polly weasley: Will Harry fall for another girl in Book 6, or will he be too busy for romance?

JKR: He’ll be busy, but what’s life without a little romance?

Question from Rorujin: How is Dobby able to Apparate inside Hogwarts if no one else can?

JKR: He’s a house-elf; they’ve got powers wizards haven’t got (but wizards have also got powers that house-elves haven’t).

Question from Potter47: What is the sixth book going to be called? The seventh?

JKR: It will be called Harry Potter and… something. Catchy, don’t you think? And I think I’ll follow the same model for seven.

Question from Potter47: Will Harry tell Neville about the prophecy?

JKR: Harry will tell his nearest and dearest about the prophecy when he’s ready. He needs time to digest the news himself first.

Question from Rorujin: Did Wormtail use Voldemort’s wand to kill Cedric? Is it why Cedric comes out of Voldemort’s wand even though it was Wormtail who killed him?

JKR: Correct!

Question from SiriuslyLovinSirius: If we ever see Sirius again, what form will he be in?

JKR: I couldn’t possibly answer that for fear of incriminating myself.

Question from * Cathedral: Will we be hearing anything from Sirius Black’s brother, Regulus, in future books?

JKR: Well, he’s dead, so he’s pretty quiet these days.

Question from Shannon from St. Mary Magdalen’s Junior School – London: How do you feel when you see children reading your books?

JKR: I feel incredibly proud. Sometimes I want to poke them in the back and say “guess who,” but I restrain myself.

Question from Kelpie_8: Will the two way mirror Sirius gave Harry ever show up again?

JKR: Ooh, good question. There’s your answer.

Question from Rita: What happend to Harry’s grandparents? Will we ever learn about them?

JKR: They’re all dead and not particularly important to the story, although you will find out a little bit more.

Question from Rita: What about Wormtail? Is there hope for redemption?

JKR: There’s always hope, of course. You’ll find out more about our rat-like friend in Book 6.

Question from Rita: What ever happened to Sirius’s flying motorbike?

JKR: Ah, good question. You’ll find out, but the real sleuths among you might be able to guess.

Question from kylie: What does the “J” in “Remus J. Lupin” stand for?

JKR: John. Boring but true!

Question from hermione 3: Will Harry and Hermione be together? *sigh*

JKR: Lol. Not saying… but you’ve had enough clues by now, surely?!

Question from Adele: Thanks for the interview! So… will Harry be receiving a second kiss in his last two years at Hogwarts? 😉

JKR: He might well be receiving another kiss (or two), but I’m not saying who the kisser’s going to be. I’m sorry, we’re running out of time. How about three more questions?

Question from Stacey, 11, from Plymouth: If you got the chance to make a Polyjuice Potion, who would you be and why? And what would you do in the hour time limit?

JKR: I’d like to be Tony Blair for an hour. I’d call a press conference and announce all the policies I’d like to implement!

Question from Sirius Riddle: What houses were Sirius Black, Remus Lupin, James Potter, and [Peter Pettigrew] in? Everyone tells me they were all Gryffindor, but I won’t believe it unless I hear it from Ms. Rowling herself!

JKR: This is JK herself saying that they were indeed in Gryffindor!

Question from kylie: Thanks for writing such wonderful books, Ms. Rowling :). Just one question: What are Ron, Hermione, and Ginny’s middle names? Thank you :)

JKR: My pleasure. :) Middle names: Ginny[‘s] is Molly, of course, Hermione[‘s], Jane, and Ron[‘s], poor boy, is Bilius. That’s it, everyone. There have been sixteen thousand questions, so I’m so sorry if yours hasn’t been answered, but hopefully somebody else did it for you. I’ve really enjoyed it. Hope you have. Back to the next chapter now… lots of love xxx

Rupert Grint and Emma Watson on Nickelodeon - February 1, 2004

Rupert Grint and Emma Watson on Nickelodeon - February 1, 2004

Candice: Now let’s go over to England to see what they think of the Superbowl.

Brent: I need a timeout here, Candice. In England, when they say “football,” they’re really talking about “Soccer.” These guys won’t even know what we’re talking about.

Candice: You’re right. Let’s take it easy on ’em. Emma, Rupert… are you there?

Emma and Rupert: Hi, Brent, Candice.

Candice: So are you guys big football fans?

Emma: Oh, yeah, we love it!

Brent: Okay, so let’s start with the basics. How many goals will Carolina score tonight?

Emma: Goals? Don’t you mean touchdowns?

Brent: Haha, yeah, touchdowns… right.

Emma: Well, it’s tough to say. Both teams are decicive powerhouses, so I think it’s imperative that there are no mistakes made on either side.

Brent: Ha, lucky guess. She’s got that British accent, so she think she knows what she’s talking about. Watch this: Hey, Rupert… tell me… can the Patriots’ offense get anything done against the disguise blitz game of the Panthers?

Rupert: Hmm… good question, Brent. I feel that if the running backs can pick up the blitz, and if the linemen can stay in their lanes, they may make their blocks. Yeah, it’s simple stuff really.

Brent: Right… of course… haha… Candice, a little help here?

Candice: Yeah, so what role do you think slime will play in the game?

Emma: Haha… I don’t understand

Candice: You know… slime… it’s a fundamental aspect of football.

Emma: I have to say I don’t think it will play a role at all.

Candice: Oh, really? [Presses button, and Emma and Rupert get slimed] Nice talking to you guys!

Matthew Lewis Chat on MuggleNet - January 4, 2004

Matthew Lewis Chat on MuggleNet - January 4, 2004

The following is a transcript of a Q&A chat with Matthew Lewis (Neville Longbottom), which took place on January 4, 2004. Questions were asked by MuggleNet visitors.

Jamie: Hello, everyone! And welcome to the online chat with Matthew Lewis, otherwise known as Neville Longbottom. If you’re ready to begin, Matt, we’ll start.

Matthew: Yeah, I’m ready.

Jamie: First question coming…

Question from Lainei: How has your life changed since you were case as Neville in the HP films?

Matthew: It hasn’t really changed all that much. I mean, obviously, I don’t spend much time at home now because I’m down in London filming, but I don’t get recognized very often, so that’s not problem. My schoolwork has probably improved because of the tutors on set. I guess the only difference is that I get to do cool stuff like this.

Question from hp_rocks: What’s your favorite subject in school?

Matthew: My favorite subject is probably IT (Information Technology) or PE (Physical Education).

Question from Cydni: Was Neville your first choice for a part in Harry Potter?

Matthew: Well, I originally went for everything, and Harry wouldn’t have been bad at all, but I guess I’m lucky I got anything, so I’m really happy with Neville.

Question from Jessica: What was your reaction when you got the part?

Matthew: My reaction? Well, I went mental. I ran around the house jumping on the sofa and generally being mad!

Question from Melissa: Do you believe you have anything in common with your character?

Matthew: Not a lot, but I am very clumsy, and I rush things, which I then have to re-do.

Question from Devon: What’s the most exciting part about working on the Harry Potter films

Matthew: Probably being able to say that I have worked with people like Alan Rickman, Kenneth Brannagh, Dame Maggie Smith, etc.

Question from Katie: Were there any boring stages of being on set?

Matthew: Yeah, loads. The majority of the time we are either waiting around or in tutoring (obviously very boring). When we’re on set we wait around a lot, too, awaiting resets, camera reloading, etc.

Question from Leandra: What would you say to someone who wanted to become an actor?

Matthew: Perseverence and determination. Acting is about talent, but there are thousands of actors out there [who] have what it takes but can’t get a break. Don’t give up. If you keep at it you’ll eventually get there!

Question from Anamaria: What was your most embarrassing moment on the set of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban?

Matthew: Probably when I had to step over a small broken wall, and I tripped on one of the rocks. I only stumbled, but Alfie [Enoch] was giggling right next to me!

Question from Leah: What kind of music do you like, and what are your favorite bands?

Matthew: Rock and Punk. Feeder, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Coldplay, Sex Pistols.

Question from Brittany: After you’ve finished with Harry Potter, do you plan to continue acting?

Matthew: I’m not sure. I mean, it’s great and a good career, but honestly I don’t know. If I get lucky and get into other things, I’ll probably continue.

Question from Kaitlyn: If you could play any other character in the Harry Potter movies, who would it be?

Matthew: Hmm… I think probably a bad guy, but I can’t think of anyone except Malfoy, so maybe Ron, but I think Rupert does that job perfectly. I couldn’t match him!

Question from Hannah: Any pranks played on you or by you on the set? Any funny stories to share?

Matthew: Not really played by or on me, but there was the one time where somebody put a fart machine in a bag in the Great Hall, and during a line from Michael Gambon, it went off. Very funny!

Question from PepperPrincess: What’s the weirdest gift you’ve ever received?

Matthew: Obviously it has to be the pepper that you gave me pepperprincess!

Question from Carolyn: Do you get recognized a lot on the street?

Matthew: Not really. I mean, some people do but not often.

Question from April: Have you read all the Harry Potter books?

Matthew: Yes, I have read them all. I finished Order of the Phoenix about two months ago. Very riveting stuff.

Question from Richard: What do you think will happen to Neville in future books?

Matthew: I think that it would be really cool if Neville realized he can never become the hero that Harry is, but because he’s weak he is manipulated by Voldemort and becomes evil! Yes, that would be very cool.

Question from Ellen: What countries have you seen or visited because of HP promotions?

Matthew: None. I am going to New Zealand and maybe taking a tour of the US for conventions, though.

Question from Sydney: Do you have any role models in the acting world or away from it?

Matthew: Hmm. Johnny Depp, Brad Pit, and Tom Cruise!

Question from Tim: Is it hard to come back and have to pick up the character after the break from each film?

Matthew: Not really. You see, when you’re on a break from filming you see the film that many times. You’re never really away from it. The read-through before the film helps, too, [since] you can think about how you’re going to say each line.

Question from Elizabeth: If you could have any magical power, what would it be?

Matthew: The magical ability of charm so that you could just smile and people would let you do anything.

Question from Heather: Do you like the LOTR movies? If yes, which character would you like to play?

Matthew: Yeah, they’re awesome, I saw Return of the King not long ago. What a film! I’d probably like to be Legolas because he’s an elf and because he uses a bow and arrow!

Question from Matt: What was it like filming the Boggart scene in Prisoner of Azkaban? Was it funny seeing Alan Rickman dressed in those clothes?

Matthew: You can’t imagine how funny it was. Alan Rickman is a really, really nice guy, but he’s still really, really scary, so to see him dressed like that was hilarious.

Question from GinnyRedHead: How does it feel going on the Internet and finding websites devoted to you?

Matthew: Mental. Really crazy! But it’s good to know people appreciate your work! Fans are what make you who you are in the film industry.

Question from Sammy: Who are your best friends on the set?

Matthew: Everyone is really great fun to work with, but my best friends are probably Dan, Rupert, and Alfie! But like I said, I get on well with everyone!

Question from Marvin: Have you ever met J.K. Rowling?

Matthew: Yeah, I’ve met her a few times. She came and had lunch with us one time at the studios. She’s really friendly and great to talk to.

Question from Nigel: Do you have any pets? What are their names?

Matthew: No, I used to have a rabbit called Buttons (ran away) and a canary called Charlie (died). I really want a dog, though! I’d probably call it Angelus after David Boreanaz’s character in Buffy and Angel.

Question from Tyler: What do you like doing in your spare time?

Matthew: Playing [soccer] and badminton, going to the cinema, and playing computer games.

Question from Rachel: What do you think of Alfonso Cuarón, the new director? Is his work very different from that of Chris Columbus?

Matthew: Alfonso is great, and so was Chris. They both have different visions of the Harry Potter universe, but they are both excellent directors.

Jamie: And that’s all we’ve got time for tonight! Thanks very much to Matt for agreeing to [take] part in this online Q&A session. We hope you’ve all had fun. Incidentally, this chat network is open 24/7, so if you’d like to come and chat, please feel free.

Trio on E! News Live - November 13, 2003

Trio on E! News Live - November 13, 2003

Thanks to K’lyssa!

Patrick Stinson: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban won’t hit the screens until next summer, but we already have an E! Exclusive. Lynda Lopez was on the set in London.

Lynda Lopez: This is the set of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. And for the 3rd film, a couple of changes have come to Harry Potter.

Patrick: The first big change is Michael Gambon replacing the late Richard Harris as Hogwarts Headmaster Professor Dumbledore.

Rupert: Michael Gambon is great. He’s really funny. He’s brought something really cool to the character, yeah.

Daniel: He hasn’t tried to emulate Richard in any way. It’s so hard, so he’s doing his own take on Dumbledore.

Patrick: Emma Thompson also joins the cast.

Daniel: She plays Professor Trelawney.

Emma: She’s very clumsy. She’s very, very out of it. And she’s got this brilliant presence. And it’s really funny.

Patrick: And there’s Gary Oldman as the title character, the prisoner of Azkaban. Of course Harry, Ron, and Hermione are in plenty of danger once again. But Daniel, Rupert, and Emma are still glad to be back on set.

Lynda: What was it like having to [go] back to sort of normal life and then come back to the film?

Daniel: For me, this is normal life.

Lynda: Right.

Rupert: In a way, it’s kind of like going back to school – but a lot better.

Emma: I’m really excited. This is my favorite book, my favorite script.

Rupert: I couldn’t wait to get back into this one.

Emma: It’s a bit darker, a bit scarier.

Patrick: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban will be released next June.

Trio on "Extra" - November 13, 2003

Trio on "Extra" - November 13, 2003

Thanks to K’lyssa!

Jerry Penacoli: All right, Dana. How about some Oscar stars of the future? The Harry Potter gang was nice enough to invite a Muggle like myself – that means human, by the way – to the London set of their next highly anticipated sequel. Check out this Extra Exclusive.

Emma: Hi, Extra. I’m Emma Watson.

Daniel: I’m Daniel Radcliffe

Rupert: Hi, I’m Rupert Grint.

Daniel: I’m giving Jerry the first look at the new Harry Potter movie..

Emma: The Prisoner of Azkaban.

Cuarón in background: Action!

[Cuts to scenes from the trailer]

Jerry: Our Extra sneak peek of the third Harry Potter film continues with its stars conjuring up some secrets from the set just outside of London only for…

Daniel: Extra, Extra! See?

[Here we see a scene being shot for the film. Harry and Lupin are walking through the forest, and Harry says, “I’m scared, Professor.”]

Jerry: Secret Number One: The kids who play Harry, Hermione, and Ron are as tight off-screen as they are on. And take a look, [cut to Emma messing with Dan’s hair] could Emma Watson have a hairstylist role in her future? What was she trying to do, change your hairstyle?

Daniel: I don’t even know anymore.

Jerry: You don’t even ask?

Daniel: No, see, I just let her do it because she does like it.

Jerry: Secret Number Two: Stardom for these kids has meant special star sightings, especially for Emma.

Emma: I met Brad Pitt. That was really good. That really made my day.

Daniel: And I met Halle Berry as well.

Jerry: Really? And the Hogwarts Express is full steam ahead on the next ‘Potter’ picture, but the big question: Will Daniel, Emma, and Rupert be on board? Which brings us to Secret Number Three. And it’s a shocker.

Daniel: I don’t know if I’ll do all the films, but for now I’m really keen to do the fourth because it’s such a fantastic book.

Jerry: Moviegoers will be ‘hot’ for the new Harry Potter film when it magically appears June 2004.

Galadriel Waters Chat - May 31, 2003

Galadriel Waters Chat - May 31, 2003

The following is a transcript with Galadriel Waters, author of the Ultimate Unofficial Guide to the Mysteries of Harry Potter, which took place on May 31, 2003. Questions were posed by MuggleNet visitors themselves, and Galadriel gladly answered them!

Jamie: Hello to you all! Welcome to the online chat tonight with Galadriel Waters–author of the Ultimate Unofficial Guide to the Mysteries of Harry Potter! Galadriel is prepared to answer all questions relating to her book, the first four books, the fifth book, or the final two books! We hope you enjoy this special chat event and hopefully learn something about a theory or idea that you have been formulating! Hello, Galadriel! Welcome to the chat! How are you today?

Galadriel: Fine, how are you all?

Jamie: We’re all excited to hear what you have to say about all the theories and ideas! Are you ready to start with the questions, Galadriel?

Galadriel: Hehe, yes, ready to start!

Jamie: Okay, let’s go!

Question from J-Rich: You talk a lot in your book about 12s, 13s, purple, socks and cabbage. According to the rule of no coincidences, what do you think all these mean? Or are you simply posing a question to your readers? I haven’t found anything about what it means, have you?

Galadriel: We are not sure about them for certain. However, we really feel that the socks have something to do with the knitting. Notice that there are so many people knitting in the books. We also know that socks mean freedom. We are sure that part of the 12s are to do with the twelve years. Remember, Scabbers was chained for twelve years. Also, JKR was not very specific about the horror of Voldemort coming back, but that was supposed to be the “Cedric death” and that will now start this darker timeframe. As JKR told us, we are “entering a new era” for Harry. This is highly likely to be that twelve. Purple is Emerson’s. You can ask him about that one!

Question from Usagi: How do you get some of the mysteries? Do you guess, or does JKR tell you?

Galadriel: We are just like all of you; we are fans. However, I am skilled in pattern recognition. That is my specialty. I never guess. I always use patters. That is why I came up with the four rules. It is all logic based.

Question from Siryn: Are there any juicy insights that you discovered AFTER publishing this book? If so, what are they?

Galadriel: Oh yeah… There have been several. If you have visited our HP Sleuth site, we have a few there. We also saw what you have – the new info of the covers and the release from Scholastic – so there is a lot more. We also have a little announcement. It is not a clue, but we have one BIG clue that we just barely touched on. We will be running a contest around that. It is sort of mentioned in the guide, but you will see that is is a BIGGIE! Also, many of you HP Sleuths are contributing great ideas that we have been posting to the site. We evnm have to tell everyone that we are not able to answer emails very fast. You are all so incredible with your excellent theories. We apologize, but bear with us… HP SLEUTHS ROCK!!!

Question from BastsCleopatra: Who do you think will be the romantic pairings in the fifth book?

Galadriel: I am of the opinion (after that little spat in Book 4) that Ron and Hermione will be together. However, I also see that Krum needs Hermione. He is a great guy, and she will not ditch him. I also see Cho being very fragile right now. She will probably need Harry. Otherwise, we will probably see some new romances, too!

Question from hinkypunk: Has the spoiler information for Book 5 (the Scholastic summary, the American cover) given you any ideas on what is to come?

Galadriel: Yes… the corridor and the dream of the door. I see that as being a destiny that Harry has to face. I also see that as a fear. We all have dreams about things we fear. So what does Harry fear most? It was the hat almost putting him into Slytherin, but then the dementors came along. However, the Dementors are no longer an issue after Book 4 in the maze. He was hardly fazed by them. So what now? Again, his fear of being a Slyterin He fears it so much that he hasn’t yet told his BEST FRIENDS about it. I am feeling that door leads to that destiny. Also, we have a contributor to the site who has written an article that we are about to post. He feels that the door leads to previous memories (like flashbacks to his parents’ death sort of thing). He thinks that the door will unlock those memories. We think both of those are high possibilities.

Question from Madam: “Sinistra” in Latin means “left-handed, wrong,” etc. How do you think this relates to the round room Harry is in on the cover of Order of the Phoenix and the fact that Harry is holding his wand in the left hand?

Galadriel: Okay, a few issues here. First, the left hand: If you look at the cover of Book 4, you will see that he is holding it in his left hand there too! Therefore, unless we switched Harry’s back after Book 3, we can’t determine much from that. I am still thinking it could be a mirror image of Harry that we are seeing, but as to Sinistra, she is very mysterious, hanging out in a very mysterious classroom. It seems that the tallest tower is holding a LOT of secrets. We are hoping that those will be answered in Book 5. They are driving us batty! Also, the room may not be round. We are leaning toward that, but it could be a fish-eye lens, making it only look round.

Question from Ignition: What’s the deal with Mrs. Figg? Could she be related to Harry? Or could she be his godmother? His protector?

Galadriel: She is clearly his protector. When Dumbledore said to get together the “old crowd” at the end of Book 4, that implies those are people he trusted most when Voldemort was in power last time. We are fairly certain that Mrs. Figg is Arabella Figg or somehow tied to her, so if she has been watching over Harry, she (and her cats, maybe some spiders even) have been watching him. As to related… we don’t have any evidence, and I go by Rule #1.

Question from BudIcer: Who do you think will die in the next book?

Galadriel: Since there is now the statement that it will be a “bad” death, it has to be someone important to us. We have put a lot of our theories on our site, so I shouldn’t take valuable time in discussing them here, but I will summarize. The most likely are the ones who have hints that would lead us to think so. Dumbledore may pull a Gandalf on us; Percy may cause the death of a relative (Mrs. Weasley?); Hagrid, of course, for many reasons… Although we also considered that Hagrid may not be around because he will go find his mum and stay with her. Who else do I say quickly? I think there is a story behind each, and if you go see what we say, then you can have your own theory. We are taking theories and discussing offline a lot!

Question from BluPhEoNiX22: Why do you think that none of the Hogwarts ghosts were able to locate the Chamber of Secrets (Moaning Myrtle in particular, who seems to know her way around the pipes very well)?

Galadriel: Ah, yes… nothing to help us here. So we use a little bit of JKR logic: We think that there are certain places in Hogwarts that maybe since they have already been made secure by magic to EVERYONE – that would include ghosts. Also, the real question is why Myrtle never saw Ginny or the Basilisk come out of the pipes.

Question from Kat: There’s a lot of speculation that Harry could be the descendant of Godric Gryffindor. We are your insights about this theory?

Galadriel: We agree. We list many of those theories in our guide, and we just posted a new (very cool) theory about that on our site. It concerns the name Harry – and it is really cool!

Question from Prophet: Who do you think is the third person on the left-hand side of the promotional stickers? And the person directly to his/her right?

Galadriel: I am frustrated by GrandPré’s androgynous paintings. I think it’s probably a female. The taller one I think might be an older person, but again, only Lupin or Mundungus is really obvious. Who knows? Nothing to help us. Maybe they are three aurors and are the “old crowd”!

Question from TCG-TJ: JKR introduces a character two or three times in Book 1 and is surprisingly added into the movie. Her name is Doris Crockford. JKR must have thought her important to add her in but cut the fact that it was Sirius’s motorbike Hagrid borrows from the movie. Rule #2 (I think) is if JKR reinforces it, she wants us to remember it. Is there anything we need to know about Doris Crockford?

Galadriel: You raise an excellent point! We are told that JKR has been in contact with Steve Kloves. I talk with people who know him, and I am not sure still how much contact he really has and what he knows. I assume that either Doris was a fun thing for him, or maybe some of those Leaky Cauldron people will turn out like Mundungus… You are right! We should watch her carefully!

Question from Eric: Do you believe Harry received help in locating the Philosopher’s/Sorcerer’s Stone? Do you think Dumbledore willingly pointed Harry in the right direction, or was there other help as well? Also, do you think Dumbledore and Harry are relatives?

Galadriel: Not really help other than what Dumbledore did to prepare him. However, I am convinced that Dumbledore is CONSTANTLY watching Harry. The encounter with the Mirror of Erised was not a one-time situation. Notice that Dumbledore was supposedly wandering around the night that Colin got zapped by the Basilisk. He wanders all night – always watching I bet. So he watched over but let Harry do it – just like he explained in the hospital room. No, I don’t think Harry and Dumbledore are relatives. I really don’t see evidence for that anywhere. There are many other more definitive hints about him being related to others. Yes, I know about Lily and the red hair. However, if Dumbledore is related, it would have to be very distantly because I think there is something else going on. I agree with those who think that Dumbledore may have more to his background and life, so maybe back a ways. I would agree with it then.

Question from BeX: On behalf of the team, we were wondering if you could explain the idea of Rita Skeeter being a disguise for someone using the Polyjuice Potion.

Galadriel: Ah, yes… sucking on her quill just like Mad-Eye sipped from his flask. Also, the manish hands, the stronger-than-expected grip from this old lady. Also, the idea that her hair was odd to Harry. Remember: That is the most popular place to get a “piece” of anyone for Polyjuice. So we are possibly thinking it could be Lockhart come back or the other prisoner from the pensieve. We’re not sure of anything except that it’s awfully suspicious and not very feminine. We’re watching carefully for three gold teeth.

Question from Kristen: Like you said in the Restricted Section of your book, Remus Lupin and James Potter may have switched bodies. Do you think Dumbledore knows this and if so, will the big secret also be that Harry finds this out?

Galadriel: Okay, we will start by addressing this VERY CONTROVERSIAL topic. For those who don’t like it, it’s in the SPECULATION SECTION! We put it there on pupose. Everything in there is for FUN. Now, about your question… No, Dumbledore would not have known. The only people who even knew that Sirius and Pettigrew switched were Dumbledore and Lily. Obviously James… but we think that the switch took place without anyone else knowing, so just like Dumbledore didn’t know about the Animagi, he didn’t know about this.

Question from hprox: There are many rumors over the prominence that Harry inherited Lily’s eyes. Do you think that Harry’s eyes will play an important role in the fifth book?

Galadriel: Oh, yeah! There was an interview with in which the moderator asked JKR if Harry might be doing something with his eyes that looked like this, and JKR answered with her famous “you’re good!” So we also noticed the image of Harry in the first movie posters seems to be doing something with his eyes there, and we think that his eyes may have some real non-wand power!

Question from Mr: The centaurs were proven to be quite the astronomers in Book 1 (Mars is bright) and, knowing JKR, weren’t introduced just for fun. Do you think that centaurs will play a vital role in the fight against Voldemort (or against Dumbledore)? Also, do you think house-elves will be used as spies on either side?

Galadriel: Cool questions! The centaurs (like the goblins) will remain neutral, with one exception: our Firenze, who JKR said in an interview will definitely be back. Remember, the centaurs were SWORN to not reveal what is in the heavens. As to house-elves… great spies… loyal to Dumbledore. However, also loyal to their masters (like Dobby). So what is happening with Lucius? Does he get a new house-elf? How about that “venemous” one from the Scholastic description? We are only hopeful that the house-elves refuse to support the bad masters this time!

Question from flibbertigibbet: Someone on CoS Forums mentioned that they think Rita Skeeter may be the one to give Sirius away once Hermione lets her out in London. What do you think?

Galadriel: Oh! Very good! Yes… we have stated that we are SURE Rita could be a very big danger. We also mentioned in the guide that we are very concerned about what Rita witnessed in the hospital room. We can only hope…

Question from MNGuest123456789: What was the gleam in Dumbledore’s eye at the end of Book 4?

Galadriel: Ah, yes… that famous gleam. We are sure that it is NOT anything sinister. There is nothing to tell us that Dumbledore would have any reason to suddenly do anything bad to Harry. He’s had all this time to do so. He is most certainly Harry’s protector. So why the gleam? Because he realized that SOMETHING happened at the graveyard [that] would be harmful to Voldemort. That could be something tainted by Harry’s blood. It could be that they protected Harry with something else. Remember, Dumbledore stated that “that PARTICULAR” protection of Harry not being touched is gone. That implies other protections. Maybe one of those was transferred. We have often heard from Snape about slow-acting poisons. Harry even had to write a paper about it! So maybe that? Whatever it was, the reason for the gleam and then the sadness again was that whatever it was, it would NOT take effect right away. So we are left to face Voldemort as is. One thing I should mention because everyone asks about it is that it would not be that Harry’s blood was mortal. In Chapter 1 of Book 4, Wormtail and Voldemort discuss that it could have been anyone’s blood. It was Voldemort’s decision to choose Harry. Also, remember: It was Voldemort’s OWN personal spell he invented to bring himself back, so he knew exactly what he was doing and even CHOSE to go back to a mortal body at first. We are expecting him to try [to] become immortal again. So we will be watching for what might have happened from that “gleam” to see what weakness is found in Voldemort!

Question from elangomat: I was wondering what you thought about Dumbledore’s comment about “ah, music. More powerful than what we teach here.” We know Dumbledore enjoys chamber music, and Flamel likes opera. Will music play a bigger role sometime? (and how?)

Interesting. We did cover that in the guide. I will explain. We feel that music was put in there as story-line clues to Fluffy. However, JKR has been using many popular brainteasers and puzzles in her stories. For instance, chess and mazes. So we think she might actually try to embed a code in music if she can… but that’s just fun speculation.

Question from Tashiffa: Petunia, Harry’s mother Lily, and Narcissa Malfoy all have flower names. Both Lily and Narcissa are described as being thin/slim and blonde. Do you really think they might be related, adding weight to the “Aunt Petunia is a Squib” theory?

Galadriel: Yes. We really like the “Petunia is a Squib” theory, but about flower names… We didn’t really address them because we couldn’t figure out what they might be saying. Myrtle and even Fleur (“flower” in French) are also there. We have recently received an HP Sleuth theory that we will post. It’s pretty interesting, but we don’t have it on our site yet. Unless we get an answer to all those flower names in Book 5, we will probably add it to our “Running Bits” in the guide. We really like the idea that all the “witches” have flower names. You are right there!

Question from honey: What important role will Ginny be playing in Book 5?

Galadriel: Ginny is an underestimated character. In the Yule Ball – Book 4, if you recall – when everyone was trying to find out who was Hermione’s date, if you look carefully at Ginny’s response, you will notice that she apparantly DID know the answer to that. Probably the only person to know, which means, HERMIONE CONFIDES IN GINNY! Also, if you think about it, Ginny went to the ball with Neville, and probably knows a lot of Neville’s secrets as well. We DO know from Book 2 that GINNY CAN KEEP A BIG SECRET!

Question from Mione: JKR is always mentioning how Dumbledore seems to have a “penetrating stare” (For example, when Harry’s name came out of the Goblet of Fire). Harry sometimes feels as if he is being x-rayed. Do you think that Dumbledore is able to see Harry’s thoughts and/or feelings?

Galadriel: The idea of people reading Harry’s mind was addressed in our guide. When I started writing the guide, I did it in order from Book 1-Book 4 and watched everything develop as I analyzed it. At first, I thought the “reading people’s minds” thing might have been true, but then I noticed that every time Harry though someone was reading his mind, it turned out to be that they had “inside info.” For instance, when Snape knew about the car, he had the Evening Prophet there. When Dumbledore told Harry not to send owls after the Crouch attach in Book 4, Harry found out that Dumbledore had been in contact with Sirius on his own. So I think that mostly it’s that they know things and that Dumbledore is trying hard to understand Harry. But keep that thought. We will be expanding on that kind of thing in later postings!

Question from Sirius: There seem to be some parallels regarding things like talents, wants, personalities, etc. (Harry/James, Hermione/Lily) Do you think there is a Ron parallel to the marauders era, and what could be the significance of these parallels?

Galadriel: Interesting question. JKR likes to parallel a lot. However, she also understands the importance of people relying on each other and the importance of skill sets and friendships. So is there a specific parallel to the marauders? Maybe… probably.

Question from muggle: What do you think is the significance of the Grey Lady (Ravenclaw ghost) whose name has yet to be mentioned in the books?

Galadriel: Oh! Yeah,could she be Dumbldore’s ex? Is that why he won’t leave Hogwarts? Is she the ghost of Ravenclaw? She is definitely important. And notice: In the first movie, they had her appear in several scenes, so she is important, but we have so little to go on. A BIG question is if that was the ghost we saw when Harry was under the cloak. Was she able to see through the cloak, and how is she helping Dumbledore keep track of the comings and goings around Hogwarts?

Question from yin_taku: In Book 4, around page 706, when Harry is naming the Death Eaters he saw and heard, Snape “twitches” violently after hearing Lucius Malfoy’s name. Do you see any significance at all about such a reaction? Please explain.

Galadriel: That one is not too hard. We know from the pensieve that Snape was a Death Eater. We also were told that the Death Eaters knew one another – although not all of them – so it is probably that Snape knew Malfoy, and maybe even made him a target for spying last time.

Question from dsstaff: Who do you think the person who does magic without being a wizard (as JKR mentioned) will be?

Galadriel: If Petunia is a Squib, then (as much as I would hate to see it) she could be the one. However, my vote is with Filch. I know we aren’t supposed to like him too much, but remember how concerned he was in Book 4 about the Champion’s Egg? He has good intentions at times, and he clearly loves his Hogwarts. So I could easily see him in a very emotional time letting it all out and really doing magic!

Question from Remus: Why do you think JKR made Tom Riddle look similar to Harry?

Galadriel: Well, as many things [as] I have logical theories about, that one is a stumper. She clearly said it for some reason. She has plans, but I’m afraid I have no insight at this time.

Question from RhenMyster: In Chamber of Secrets, since Riddle was in a book when the Chamber was opened, do you think Ginny can speak Parseltongue? Who else could have opened it?

Galadriel: The way that worked was that Riddle placed himself inside Ginny in the same way that Voldemort placed himself into Quirrell. So when Riddle took over Ginny, he spoke through her mouth in the same way that the spirit who took over Trelawney spoke through her mouth. However, there is a possibility, just like that way Voldemort left some of himself in Harry after the failed curse, that Ginny may have retained some of Voldemort, too, which I should have mentioned in that previous question – another reason that Ginny is probably very important.

Question from Damon: It’s been said many times that Book 2 doesn’t seem to have anything really significant to the story involved. Is it possible that the Chamber of Secrets may, in fact, be Book 2 itself – filled with secrets we’ve yet to discover?

Galadriel: Well, the Chamber will probably still be important. Remember, Trevor is still hopping around! Also, remember that collapsed tunnel on the Marauder’s Map. There may be more tunnels intersecting, and it may yet be a place for Voldemort to sneak back into the castle. As you say, Slytherin is very clever. Just like Dumbledore, he probably didn’t count on just one spell.

Question from Moody: What do you think the everything is that Dumbledore is going to tell Harry in Book 5?

Galadriel: In our Special Phoenix Edition of our guide, we speculated many things. We all should be alert that there is a danger that JKR will pull Rule #2 on us (not tell, leave us hanging)! However, there was an interview in which JKR said she was going to tell us a lot more in Book 5 – that was a few years ago – and if she keeps to that, we may get some big revelations. For instance, we have been told we will definitely hear some more about Lily, and knowing JKR, she will tell us just enough to make us scream again! We will probably find out more about Snape and otherwise not enough info. You HP Sleuths have been coming up with great theories on your own! We have nothing specific to top what you all have been speculating!

Question from hpgirlie43: Do you think that Harry will survive his 7th year at Hogwarts?

Galadriel: Ah. Very interesting. We actually have some specific statements from JKR about that. The only problem is, they CONTRADICT each other! In an interview from about 1999, she definitely states that Harry will GRADUATE and even get to use magic OUTSIDE OF HOGWARTS. However, in another interview, later on, she refuses to answer a question about Harry getting older than seventeen! What to believe? We need an accurate crystal ball!

Question from notAmuggle: Harry never got the Marauder’s Map back from Moody/Crouch, Jr. at the end of Book 4. What do you think is going to happen with that? Will he get it back in Book 5? Does Dumbledore have it? Will Death Eaters get it somehow and cause turmoil within Hogwarts?

Galadriel: YES! THAT’S THE QUESTION! We asked that in our guide. We know this so far: Dumbledore has not been aware of the map! That should be remembered by anyone who thinks that Dumbledore knows everything. He only knows MOST everything! Also, we know that Crouch/Moody had the map last, so was it on him when he got the kiss? Did Fudge get it? Was it in the trunk? Just where it is is going to make a big difference. We need to all be alert for that as we read Book 5!

Question from Lucille: What do you think about the theories about the female DADA teacher in Book 5? Do you think it will be Arabella Figg or Fleur?

Galadriel: We can’t believe it could possibly be Fleur. For one thing she’s not experienced enough. For another, even though she was a champion, she couldn’t even get away from some pesky grindylows. So unless Dumbledore is depesperate – which he could be – since the hint was dropped that she wanted to come to Hogwarts, we’re not ruling it out. As to who else, yes, Mrs. Figg is a good possibility.

Question from Brendan: What do you think the big thing concerning the Dursleys is?

Galadriel: That one I don’t remember hearing. If there is another about them, I think that Uncle Vernon has already shown himself to be brave standing up to Hagrid. Also, there isn’t much else about them that we know except that JKR has made it clear all the time that they are DEFINITELY all Muggle.

Question from HPNutter: What do you think was with the kiss from Hermione on the cheek that Harry got at the end of Book 4? Do you think that we should keep it in mind, or is JKR using her red herring card?

Galadriel: Yeah, red herring, I’m afraid. Hermione and Ron have shown the jealousy that definitely comes with caring about another person more than they’re willing to admit, while Harry doesn’t really display any latent interest in Hermione that we can see.

Question from Bex: We were told that the Weasley Clock was something to pay attention to in the Chamber of Secrets movie. What do you think it was? Do you think it meant anything at all?

Galadriel: That clock is a bit odd. It didn’t seem to tell Mrs. Weasley very well that everyone was all right during the Dark Mark thing. If “mortal danger” is a possibility, then like everything else in these stories, we might want to be concerned that it might be used. We hope not!

Question from NYMetsGirl1986: Do you think that Neville will want to seek revenge for his parents? While usually seeming weak, Neville does have his strong points, such as Herbology. How do you think Neville and Herbology will come into play in the future?

Galadriel: Oh, yes! Very good! Neville has this thing with sea stuff. He may already have some knowledge of what is happening in the Hogwarts lake. We are concerned about Uncle Algie (a sea-like word). That guy may not have been just “testing” Neville for magic. Who drops a Squib out of a high window? So Neville may need to use his water skills either with or against his uncle.

Question from RSCM: In an episode of So Weird, they talk about parallel universes for each of the choices you make (basically, you and your evil twin). Could this be a relationship between Neville and Pettigrew? Pettigrew making the wrong choice and Neville making the right choice? (Ron, Harry, Neville, and Hermione seem too much like James and his crowd.

Galadriel: That’s an EXCELLENT analogy. Classic Trek did the same thing, too. You are right. We should monitor those parallels. We see JKR using parallels mostly for comparisons of what you are saying – the choices. She has made it very clear that Book 5 will be about those choices! So do we go so far as to think in terms of parallel universes? Not sure, but they will be paralleled for decisions, and we are very interested to see Neville’s fate.

Question from Ginny: What is your theory on the ghosts? Why do some people become ghosts and some don’t?

Galadriel: This is good. JKR has used all the “classic” legends to create her world. The most popular theory of people who believe in ghosts is that they are troubled spirits who are stuck on the earthly world with unfinished business. That definitely seems to be the case here since JKR said in an interview that they are, indeed, troubled spirits. So that is why… but, the one we’re scratchign our head over is Professor Binns! What would be HIS deep dark secret that ties him to this world. What is he so troubled about?

Jamie: That’s all we’ve got time for, I’m afraid! Thank you very much to Galadriel for answering all the questions. I hope you’ve all gotten something out of this chat. Incidentally, the chat server is open 24 hours a day, so if you feel like sharing a theory with someone or just generally chatting, please visit. Thank you!

Galadriel: Thank you, all you HP Sleuths! CONSTANT VIGILANCE!!!

Give Me a Break on "20/20" - August 30, 2002

Give Me a Break on "20/20" - August 30, 2002

It’s odd that adults are upset about a book that, more than any other, has inspired kids to read.

Books Kids Want to Read

“I read ’em all. I really like ’em. I can’t wait for the fifth one,” said one boy from New Orleans.

“I keep them under my pillow at night, read them with a little flashlight,” said another child.

Most parents are thrilled with Harry Potter.

“I’m excited about anything that will tear our son away from the Nintendo games,” said one mom.

And parents with younger children are ecstatic about having something that helps introduce younger kids to books.

“He begs me every day: ‘Read these books to me, Mom,'” says one mother of her son.

Banning and Burning

So who could object to kids reading Harry Potter? Well, some people do. The Potter books have now been banned at several schools, and others have forbidden teachers to hold classroom readings. According to the American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom, the Harry Potter series is the most challenged in the past two years.

Jeremiah Films, a company that calls itself “a notable and powerful voice in today’s Christian World” has produced a 60-minute video titled Harry Potter: Witchcraft Repackaged Making Evil Look Innocent. It’s part of a crusade to warn parents about the dangers of Harry Potter, like the broomsticks the kids ride.

“It’s a phallic symbol, and it’s very important in feminine cult worship,” says Caryl Matrisciana, cofounder of the company. “The same with a pointed hat.”

She’s also upset about the lightning bolt on Harry’s forehead, calling it “a mark of power from the god Thor.”

Matrisciana adds, “This lightning bolt was considered so important in occult mythology that Hitler used it on his uniforms! It is half of the swastika.”

Rev. Joseph Chambers of Paw Creek Ministries in North Carolina, who has published similar complaints about the books, agreed to talk to me about this after the producers of the video refused.

“One of the signs of the antichrist will be a mark on the forehead,” he said. “It’s a how-to course in witchcraft and Satanism. They’re actually being taught how to be wizards and witches.”

Well, yes, the stories are filled with wizards and witches, but so what? The mystical characters are fantasy.

I asked Chambers, “Should kids not read Mary Poppins? She’s flying around with an umbrella. Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn tried to get rid of warts by swinging a dead cat over their heads.”

“There’s no real comparison,” says Chambers. “There’s not the heavy dose of witchcraft in those books as [there] is in the Harry Potter books.”

Don’t kids watch too much TV and spend too much time playing video games?

“Yes, the video game situation has gotten so far out of hand,” agreed Chambers. “It’s done terrible damage to many of our young people. But do we change that for something just as bad?”

At least Chambers wants to persuade us not to read Harry Potter rather than ban the books altogether, which is what others have done. In Butler, Pennsylvania, they burned Harry Potter books.

Friendship, Courage, and Morals

Why all the fear? Kids know the difference between reality and fantasy.

“People cannot become witches and wizards,” said one girl.

“I’m not going to want to cast a spell on my best friend at school,” said one young boy.

“Just because you read a book, it’s not going to make you turn people into witches and frogs,” said another.

I think we should celebrate Harry Potter this Halloween. The books pull kids away from cartoons and mind-numbing video games, teaching them not just the joy of reading, but [also] about friendship and courage and making moral choices.

One little girl said it best: “The people who want to ban the Harry Potter books are really cuckoo!”

Right. Give me a break!

J.K. Rowling at Raincoast Books - March 12, 2001

J.K. Rowling at Raincoast Books - March 12, 2001

Transcribed by the HP Galleries

Raincoast Books (RB): Why did you want to write Quidditch Through the Ages and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them?

J.K. Rowling (JKR): They are two titles that appear in the novels – Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is a book that Harry buys to go to Hogwarts, so it’s one of his school textbooks, and Quidditch Through the Ages is a library title. I always write more than I need for the books, so bits of them were just written for my own fun. So when Comic Relief asked me to write something ,I thought I would just love to write them. I just thought it would be so much fun, and I was completely correct. It was more fun than I’ve had writing the others.

RB: How did these books come about?

JKR: I got a letter from Richard Curtis, who started Comic Relief, saying, “Would you consider writing us a short story?” And then he cunningly said something like, “I’m sure you won’t. We’ll still love your books even if you don’t but just thought we’d ask.” Which is a very clever way of asking someone to do something. But I didn’t really need much persuasion [because] I have always supported Comic Relief, and I think they do fantastic work, so I wrote back and said, “Yes, but I’m not good at short stories, particularly not short Harry stories. I tend to ramble on, so how would it be if I wrote a couple of the titles that appear by title in the novels?” So that’s how it all started. And I decided to do two just because I had two in my head, and I couldn’t really decide between Fantastic Beasts and Quidditch, so I thought, “We’ll do them both.”

RB: In the UK, almost all the money raised is going to Comic Relief (UK). Is the same thing happening in other countries, where Comic Relief is not so well known?

JKR: Yes, they will be happening in other countries. Money raised outside Britain will be going into an international fund to help children in some of the poorest countries in the world, and it’s been absolutely miraculous that everyone who would usually take a cut from the production of a book to gave their services for free. So almost all the money from the books will be going into these funds.

RB: When people buy the book, how much money will be going to charity?

JKR: Everyone who would usually take a cut from the book is giving their services for free, and they’re donating what would’ve been their proceeds to Comic Relief, which means booksellers, paper suppliers, publishers, and my royalties… everything will be going to Comic Relief. Over 80% of the cover price will be going to Comic Relief.

RB: How much money are you hoping to raise?

JKR: As much as possible. Loads. Millions and millions. The important thing to remember is that for every book bought it will make a difference, a real difference in someone’s life, someone living in poverty. So the important thing to remember is that by buying one book, parting with your pocket money you will make a real difference to someone probably of your age living elsewhere in the world.

RB: What do you like most about Comic Relief UK?

JKR: Lots of things I like about Comic Relief. They have a Golden Pound principal, which means that every pound that’s given to them, or any money that’s given to them, will go directly to the causes involved. And it’s fun. There is something wonderful about the idea that laughter should be used to combat real tragedy and poverty and suffering, and it just is the most wonderful thing.

RB: Did the books take you a long time to write?

JKR: Not a very long time; I wrote them right after I’d finished Book 4, so compared to Book 4, which as you probably know is a very, very long book, they didn’t take long at all.

RB: One of them has extra stuff written in it by Harry. What’s all that about?

JKR: That’s Harry and Ron graffiti-ing the book, as you do to your schoolbooks. You do doodle on them; I always wrote all over mine. Teachers reading this will not be happy that I’m saying it, but you do, don’t you? So they’ve just scribbled things on them and said rude things in them, the name of their favorite Quidditch team, and stuff in the book.

RB: Can you tell me where and when Quidditch was invented?

JKR: Quidditch started in the 11th century at a place called Queerditch Marsh, which you probably won’t find marked on maps. But obviously that’s because wizards have made the place unplottable (which means you can’t plot it on a map). Originally it was quite a crude game played on broomsticks, and over the subsequent two centuries they added more balls until it became the game we know now.

RB: Why do they have four balls?

JKR: They started off with only one ball – the Quaffle, which is the ball you use for goal scoring. Then there was the addition of the Bludgers to make things a bit more interesting, and finally you’ve got the Golden Snitch. The story about the Golden Snitch is so long and convoluted you will have to buy the book to find out.

RB: Is Quidditch just as popular as it is in England all around the world?

JKR: It’s popular nearly everywhere but not so much in the Far East [because] they prefer the flying carpet to the broomstick, so it’s a real minority sport over there. But in most other places it’s fairly popular. The US… they have their own magical game, but again, you have to buy the books to find out about it!

RB: Which is the best national team?

JKR: At the moment, Bulgaria [is] pretty good. Ireland [is] very good, and Peru, surprisingly, [is] also very good.

RB: What do you most like about Quidditch?

JKR: That would probably be the violence.

RB: I hope you’re not going to turn violent on me!

JKR: It’s too early in the morning for that.

RB: How many beasts are there in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them?

JKR: There are 75, but that’s not including the ten different species of dragon. So that would be 84 if you counted them.

RB: Are they all dangerous?

JKR: No. They range from very dull, like Flobberworms, which just sit there and don’t do anything particularly interesting, right up to Quintapeds, which are very, very vicious creatures.

RB: What is the most dangerous beast?

JKR: Well, dragons. You don’t want to mess with a dragon, obviously. Then you have things like Acromantulas, which Harry has already met in Book 2, but he didn’t know it was an Acromantula when he met it. I’m not going to say anymore because you have to buy the book! Then there’s a Lethifold, which is the thing I would least like to be attacked by, which I think is quite a sinister creature. It slides under doors at night and suffocates its prey. So personally that would be my worst one.

RB: What is the most venomous beast?

JKR: You don’t want to be bitten by a Doxy, which is a kind of biting fairy, and probably wise not to be pinched by a Mackled Malaclaw either [because] it makes you very unlucky after you’ve been pincered!

RB: Which is your favorite beast?

JKR: I would most like to have a phoenix if I could choose.

RB: Why’s that?

JKR: They have all sorts of interesting properties, which I would like. They’re also very beautiful, not that I’ve ever seen one; they’re very shy. Yes, I’d like a phoenix most.

RB: Hagrid is always trying to keep beasts that are dangerous. Are there any that are safe?

JKR: Yes, there are quite a few that are safe, but Hagrid would just consider them very dull. For him the whole thing is overcoming something that could kill him. Puffskeins are a popular wizarding pet. They’re these big, fluffy, yellow balls of fur [that] don’t really do much until they get hungry, and then this long tentacle comes out and goes snaking through the house, looking for food. One of its favorite foods is bogies. It likes to put its tentacle up people’s noses and suck out their bogies, which makes it very popular with wizard children.

RB: Could Harry have a pet dragon?

JKR: You can’t domesticate a dragon whatever Hagrid thinks. That’s simply impossible. So no. He’s got more sense. He might get a different pet at some point, but I’m saying no more at this moment.

RB: Has Harry’s success shocked you, or did you always suspect he would catch on like this?

JKR: It’s really shocked me. No, I didn’t suspect this. I thought I would be lucky to get published. I knew that I’d written quite a long book for people of 8+. That’s why publishers kept turning me down; they kept telling me the first book was too long. Little did they know what was coming in Book 4, obviously! I just didn’t think it would be very commercial. I really liked it, obviously, and I had enough faith to keep trying to get published, but to say, “This is a bit of a surprise” is a bit of an understatement.

RB: When you write about Harry, is he based on any boy you know?

JKR: No, he’s not; Harry is entirely imaginary. He just came out of a part of me. Ron was never supposed to be based on anyone, but the longer I wrote Ron the more I realized that he was a lot like one of my oldest friends, a man named Sean. The longer I wrote Ron the more I realized he was a bit Sean-ish. Hermione is most consciously based on someone, and that person is me when I was younger. She’s a bit of an exaggeration of me, but that’s where she came from.

RB: What parts of the success of Harry Potter have you most enjoyed?

JKR: The first time I ever had to do a reading, which was to about four people… in fact, so few people turned up at this bookshop that the staff felt really sorry for me and came and stood around and listened as well. I was shaking so badly I kept missing my line. I was terrified. But since then, I have found readings to be the most fantastic experience. I think partly because I was writing the books in secret for so long. For five years I was the only person who read a word of it, knew all these things about Harry’s world and his friends, and so the experience of sitting in front of all these hundreds of people and hearing them laugh, answering their questions, and they all know my characters… the novelty still hasn’t worn off, and I absolutely love it, so I would say, “giving readings.” The writing is my favorite part; that’s the part I love above all else, but part of being famous is you go out, and you meet your readers, and that is incredibly satisfying.

RB: What parts have you least enjoyed?

JKR: Journalists banging on my front door! Don’t like that at all.

RB: What do most children say when they realise you’re the one who wrote the Harry Potter books?

JKR: The funniest ones are the people [who] don’t say anything at all, and they stand there staring at me, and their mothers are prodding them in the back, saying, “Go on! Tell her how much you like the book!” I like those ones.

RB: Can you tell me anything about Harry Potter 5?

JKR: Well, it will be a papery object with pages inside. Harry will appear in it. The title is Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, and I think that’s as far as I’m prepared to go at the moment.

RB: Has Harry ever used the Internet?

JKR: No. He’s not allowed near Dudley’s computer, and Dudley’s the only one who’s got a computer. He gets beaten up if he goes too near the keyboard. So no, he’s never used the Internet. I use it a lot but not Harry. Wizards don’t really need to use the Internet, but that’s something that you’ll find out later on in the series. They have a means of finding out what goes on in the outside world that I think is more fun than the Internet. Could anything be more fun than the Internet? Yes!

RB: What would you say to children is special about the two books?

JKR: I would say that you will be doing real magic by buying these books; you will have in your power by parting with £2.50, or whatever it might be in your particular country, to transform other children’s lives because the money you hand over… over 80% of it will go to the neediest children in the poorest parts of the world. So there is probably never a better thing to spend your pocket money on.

RB: Will people in countries where English is not the main language be able to buy these books?

JKR: Yes, they’re going to be available all over the world in translation.

J.K. Rowling on "Larry King" - October 20, 2000

J.K. Rowling on "Larry King" - October 20, 2000

Transcribed by the HP Galleries

Larry King (LK): Was Potter the first thing you wrote?

J.K. Rowling (JKR): No, I’ve been writing since I was six years old, so it’s…

LK: Really.

JKR: Yes, probably the 23rd thing I wrote, really.

LK: Children’s books.

JKR: No, never children’s books. That’s the weird thing. I thought I was going to be a writer for adults, but Harry was the first I tried to get published.

LK: You never submitted anything before.

JKR: No.

LK: Why?

JKR: Because I was acute enough to know they weren’t worth much. I think one of my strengths as a writer is normally I know when I haven’t come up to scratch, and I just knew I wasn’t ready.

LK: So if people come over and say, “Let’s publish some of those works…”

JKR: No one has, but that’s because I’ve made it very clear that they’re due for the shredder. I wouldn’t want them published.

LK: Is Potter all you’re ever going to write?

JKR: No, I’ll be writing until I can’t write anymore. It’s a compulsion with me. I love writing.

LK: Do you remember how… it’s impossible to say how an idea came about. Do you remember, though, the creation of this concept?

JKR: Yes, it came to me on a train going from Manchester to London in England, and it came very suddenly. I just…

LK: What came?

JKR: The idea for this boy who didn’t know what he was until he was eleven and then got this invitation to go off to wizard school, and I had this very physical response to this idea. I felt so excited. I just thought it would be so fun to write.

LK: So you went right away and started writing.

JKR: Literally. Got off the train, went home, and started writing.

LK: Do you know, JK, where you’re going?

JKR: Yes.

LK: You do? You plot it out?

JKR: Yes, I spent five years – it was five years before – between having that idea and finishing the first book, and during those five years I was planning the whole seven-book series, so it’s already written in stone. That’s how it’s going to happen.

LK: Now they’re doing a movie. I ran into Mr. [Alan] Rickman, who is going to be one of the stars of the movie.

JKR: Yes, he’s playing Snape. Good choice.

LK: Have you approved the script?

JKR: I have script approval, and the writer Steve Kloves has been incredibly generous in allowing me to answer questions. It’s actually been a lot of fun for me because I’ve seen other… writing is a very solitary business and to work collaboratively on something, although… I mean, it’s Steve’s script, as I say. He’s allowed me some input. Yes, it’s been a really interesting experience.

LK: But it is apples and oranges, movies and books?

JKR: Very much so.

LK: You can’t film a thought.

JKR: Absolutely. Absolutely true, and my true media is definitely the novel. I work best alone, probably. I love writing novels. I have no desire to do anything else.

LK: Do you like the young man they’ve selected to play him?

JKR: I love… Dan is great. It was a very difficult process. Finding Harry was very hard. It was like trying to find Scarlett O’Hara, this one. And I think everyone was getting slightly desperate. And I was walking down the streets of Edinburgh and London and looking at boys who passed me in a very suspicious looking way. I was thinking, “Could it be him?” And then the producer and director walked into the theater one night, and they found Dan. And Dan is an actor. And he’s just perfect. And I saw his tests, and I really had everything crossed that Dan would be the one, and he is.

LK: The pressure is going to be enormous on that movie with this millions of readers. You’ve got 48 million books in print.

JKR: Uh-huh.

LK: This movie is a guaranteed opening night hit. It almost has to be good.

JKR: I hope so.

LK: I mean, it better.

JKR: Obviously, I hope so because I’m going to be sitting there like everybody else, really wanting to watch Quidditch. That’s the thing I want to see most. I’ve been watching Quidditch, which, for people who don’t know, is a game played on broomsticks, quite a complicated game. And I’ve been watching this inside my head for ten years, so to be able to physically watch it, I feel like a kid when I think about that.

LK: Anything in the selection of the name “Harry Potter”?

JKR: Harry was always my favorite boy’s name or has been for a long time. And if my daughter had been a son – I was already writing Harry Potter when she was born – she probably would have been Harry, and then Harry would have been called something else because it’s too cruel to name…

LK: Is it more common in Great Britain? It’s the name of one of the princes, right?

JKR: Yes, but don’t ask me, “Did [you] name him after Prince Harry?” It’s not that common a name. It’s one of those names that’s always slightly unusual. It’s quite an old-fashioned name. I like it.

LK: It was once very popular in America. We have a song “I’m Just Wild About Harry.”

JKR: Sure, yes.

LK: But how has all the success affected you? It has to affect you.

JKR: It has. Obviously, it’s had a massive impact. Day to day not much. People might be surprised to hear that, but my day is really very what it always was, which is trying to get time to write, which used to be difficult because I’m a single parent, and I was doing a day job. And now it’s difficult because the phone never stops ringing, so I still walk out of the house to write. Occasionally, obviously, I’m on the Larry King show. This was not a feature of my life.

LK: You also don’t have economic pressure anymore.

JKR: I don’t have economic pressure anymore. And every day people constantly say to me, “What’s the best thing about that?” and without a doubt the best thing is I don’t have to worry. I mean, every day there will be single mothers out there who I think will really understand nothing means more to me than the fact that I don’t have to worry about that anymore because it’s a difficult way to live.

LK: I’ll ask more on that. But let’s take first… we went around Washington. Here’s a question from a youngster for J.K. Rowling: “I’d like to know if any of your characters of the Harry Potter series are like any real-life characters you’ve ever met.”

JKR: Right. Yes, a few people were inspired by living people. I have to be careful what I say here because some of my characters aren’t too pleasant, but Hermione, who is one of Harry’s best friends, was most consciously based on a real person, and that person was me. She’s a caricature of me when I was younger. Ron, who is Harry’s other best friend, is a lot like my oldest friend, who is a man called Sean. I was at school with him, and the second book is dedicated to Sean.

LK: Did you think it would do as well with adults?

JKR: No. In all honesty, I didn’t think it would do this well with anyone. I thought I was writing quite an obscure book that if it ever got published would maybe have a handful of devotees because I thought it is kind of a book for obsessives. I thought, “Well, maybe a few people will like it a lot.” I never expected it to have broad appeal.

LK: You might have thought it would be a cult following, a small intense group.

JKR: Yes, I think if you’d sort of given me a multiple choice one, and one of them had been mass acclaim, and one had been cult I’d have picked “cult,” yes.

LK: A family group with a question for J.K. Rowling taped in Washington. Watch.

Video: I’d like to know how you come up with the spells and if you have to research those. If that’s something that you come up entirely on your own out of your imagination or whether it’s something that you researched and had to find out about magical spells and potions.

JKR: I’d say at least 95 percent of it is made up by me just out of nowhere. And then I meet people at book signings who whisper to me, “We are trying the spells.” And I think, “Well, don’t bother because I know I just made them up. They don’t work.” But there’s a small percentage of the stuff in books that is my modification of what people used to believe was true. For example, there is an object in the second book, which is the Hand of Glory. This is very macabre, but people used to believe in Europe that, if you cut off the hand of a hanged man, it would make a perpetual torch that gave light only to the holder, which is a creepy but wonderful idea. So I used that. That’s a very ancient idea. I didn’t invent the Hand of Glory.

LK: How do you for think for an eleven-year-old when you’re not eleven?

JKR: Because I find it phenomenally easy to think myself back to that age.

LK: You can put yourself back to eleven.

JKR: Very easily. This is where it all comes from. I often get asked, “Do you get ideas from children? Do you ask children what they’re interested in?” No. This is entirely about my memories of childhood.

LK: Why not then a heroine? Why isn’t this Helene Potter?

JKR: Very good question. I was – this is weird – writing the books for six months before I stopped and thought, “Well, he’s a boy.” How did that happen? Why is he a boy? Why isn’t it Harriet? And number one, it was too late. Harry was too real by then for me to try to put him in a dress. That wasn’t going to work. And then there was Hermione. And Hermione is an indispensable part of the books and how the adventures happen. And she’s so much me that I felt no guilt about keeping the hero who had walked into my head. It was uncontrived. It wasn’t conscious. That’s how he happened. So I kept him that way.

LK: Our remaining moments with J.K. Rowling. The newest, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. The movie… what’s the title of the movie?

JKR: They’re doing a really great thing, which is [that] it will be Sorcerer’s Stone here and Philosopher’s Stone in Britain.

LK: In our remaining moments, let’s get another question. A pair of sisters are together. Watch.

Video: I want to know where you got the names for certain things like the literary references behind them. Like why is Hogwarts called Hogwarts?

JKR: I love names, as anyone who has read the book is going to see only too clearly.

LK: You are a name freak.

JKR: I am a bit of a name freak. A lot of the names that I didn’t invent come from maps. Snape is a place name in Britain. Dumbledore is an old English dialect word for “bumblebee” because he is a musical person. And I imagine him humming to himself all the time. Hagrid is also an old English word. Hedwig was a Medieval saint. I collect them. If I hear a good name, I have got to write it down. And it will probably crop up somewhere.

LK: What do you make of the critique in some elements of the United States, especially in the Christian right, who have said that this book deals with demons and things?

JKR: What it deals with is good and evil. And like a lot of classic children’s literature, it deals with good and evil. So my feeling is that their objection is utterly unfounded. I mean, occasionally, I wonder, “Have they read the books?” I think they’re very moral books. If we are going to object to depicting magic in books, then we are going to have to reject C.S. Lewis. We’re going to have to get rid of the Wizard of Oz. There are going to be a lot of very… a lot of classic children’s literature is not going to be allowed to survive that, so… and I’m very opposed to censorship. So no, I can’t agree with what they’re doing at all.

LK: In how many languages are you printed?

JKR: I think it’s definitely over 30. I know it’s 29 countries. But obviously, there are different dialects.

LK: How much mail do you get?

JKR: Avalanches of mail. This is why I’m… it’s people…

LK: Yes, why are you here? There’s no…

JKR: Exactly. Some people [say], “Why are you still doing this? You don’t…” No, I’m not trying to sell a book. What I’m trying to do is reach people because I have millions of readers, and they ask me questions. And so to do this and to be able to answer questions in this way because if I visited every school that wants me to visit them, if I gave every reading a library would like me to give, I would never eat, sleep, write. I’d never see my daughter. So this is a way of reaching people without physically having to go everywhere.

LK: Do you think, Jo…? Jo, is your name, right?

JKR: Yes.

LK: Do you think, Jo, that the pressure is going to be enormous when the Potter series is done, and we get your first book after that?

JKR: I’m never going write anything this popular again. And I…

LK: That would be impossible.

JKR: It would. I’ve been reconciled to that since Philosopher’s Stone came out. The whole thing knocked me off my feet. I didn’t expect it at all. And in a way, that will be okay because it will be… I will then probably be the writer I always thought I would be. I would be the writer I aspired to be: someone who was just getting on quietly with writing. So although this has been a fabulous experience, I don’t think I’m going to cry when the journalists pack up and go home and don’t want to speak to me so often. That’s truly not what it’s about for me.

LK: But you will not again write just for yourself?

JKR: I will always write just for myself. And that… the next book might be for adults. It might still be for children. If I’m always known as a children’s…

LK: But I mean, ones that you won’t bring forward?

JKR: Oh, yes, right. Okay.

LK: They will come forward?

JKR: You mean…

LK: You’re not going to write a book and put it away anymore?

JKR: Well, I might do. I don’t know. That could definitely happen.

LK: That’s right. You don’t have to, Jo.

JKR: No, I don’t have to publish. We all know that. The only reason to keep writing now is if I really enjoy the writing.

LK: A great pleasure meeting you.

JKR: And you, too. Thank you very much.

LK: Continued success.

JKR: Thank you.

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