Interview with Robbie Coltrane and Sir Michael Gambon
: Johnny, who are we doing next?
Interviewer: I'm just writing questions for Robbie Coltrane and Sir Michael Gambon. So this is heavyweight. I've gotta concentrate here, Dre Head.
Shrunken Head: Yeah, okay. Oh, could you ask a question for me? I just want to ask them what it is like to wear a T-shirt.
Interviewer: You think I'm gonna ask Sir Michael Gambon and Robbie Coltrane what it's like to wear a T-shirt? That's ridiculous. I'll be a laughing stock.
Shrunken Head: All right. A suit, then.
Interviewer: Yeah, that's not bad, actually. "What's it like to wear a suit?"
(Cuts to interview)
Interviewer: Michael, were you a Harry Potter fan before you got this role? How much did you know of Potter?
Michael: Not a lot, I'd seen the films. And I haven't read the other two books. Read the third one. But I like them very much, yeah.
Interviewer: And, obviously, you know, with you taking Richard's place I wondered how you sort of approached this role, then.
Michael: I just did my own thing, you know. I do it with a slight Irish accent which I think just seems to be right. I don't know why. When I got on set the first day: "Alfonso," I said, "I'll just do that." And he came around and said: "What's that accent, you're doing?" I said, "Well, it's a bit of Irish. Because I am Irish. I feel sort of Irish and this long beard and the long wig." So he said, "All right, leave it in." No one's mentioned it since.
Interviewer: Well, the part of Dumbledore is kind of a classic role, isn't it? You've compared it, I think, to King Lear, I read.
Michael: Yeah. You feel a bit like King Lear, dressed like that. And he's all-knowing and all-powerful, isn't he? He's a bit nicer than King Lear. Lear's miserable, isn't he?
Michael: Not very happy.
Robbie: Not very good at relationships.
Michael: He doesn't like his children very much. (Laughter)
Interviewer: No, he wasn't good with kids, was he?
Robbie & Michael: No.
Interviewer: Robbie, you are barely over 6 feet tall. In the movie, you're obviously huge.
Interviewer: Eight-foot-six. Without giving away secrets, how do they beef that up?
Robbie: Well, it's mainly done with very clever camera angles. There are one or two other tricks which I can't possibly discuss.
Interviewer: But at any time, have you got tall shoes to take you up to the enormous height?
Robbie: Oh yea, oh yeah, oh yeah.
Interviewer: So, what's the biggest height you actually physically get to?
Robbie: Eight-foot six.
Interviewer: And how does life feel when you're walking around 8'6"?
Robbie: Very perilous. 'Cause you've got all this hair like that and you can't really see your feet.
Interviewer: But quite inconvenient at that height.
Robbie: Very inconvenient. And the costume's very heavy. The costume weighs about 90 pounds.
Interviewer: And not only does it weigh 90 pounds, but what's it made of?
Robbie: What do you call it, moleskin?
Michael: Moleskin, yeah.
Robbie: Yeah very think and hot.
Interviewer: You had to wear this on the hottest day-
Robbie: It was 100 degrees in the forest. But I have a cool suit, you see.
Interviewer: Do you?
Robbie: Yes, it's a vest but it's got miles and miles of plastic tubing in it.
Michael: Like a refrigerator.
Robbie: Very like a refrigerator. Then there's a box with ice cubes and cold water in it and a tiny wee pump off a widescreen wiper of a car.
Shrunken Head: This is my question.
Interviewer: Yes, I know it's your question but let them answer it. Robbie, sorry, your suit?
Robbie: Of course, they died the vest pink just to make me look like a complete silly fellow. And they do, they pump the water around and it's extraordinary. You know how woozy you get when you're really hot and your concentration goes. And then suddenly it's this shock of freezing water circling around. It's just-It's wonderful.
Interviewer: Michael, how excited where the young children in your life that you're in Harry Potter?
Michael: Oh, well, every boy and girl I meet ask me about being Dumbledore. So I have to-I do my best to tell them stories about it.
Interviewer: Your young relatives. It must be a massive difference between that and the work you've done, say, doing theater. I would think they wouldn't want to talk about it.
Michael: They don't want to talk about Samuel Beckett's Endgame. (Laughter) It wouldn't really appeal to 8-year-olds.
Interviewer: "Tell us another story about it, Grandpa. Please tell us about Samuel Beckett." (Group laughter)
Robbie: "Tell us about existential alienation!" (Group laughter)
Interviewer: You're really watching the kids involved in this film grow up. Is that a strange experience?
Robbie: Well, no, not strange. Just very interesting, really. Particularly this film they're more confident as actors. They're more confident as people because they're young teenagers now. One thing that came across in this film is the sense of fun between them. They've known each other for years. They get on well. There's a good knockabout feeling between them which means that when you do get relief from the horrible things peering in the windows trying to disembowel you it's a genuine relief. Which, I don't think they could've done when they were younger, to be honest.
Michael: I suppose they're more used to acting now. After three years of
Robbie: Yeah, exactly. But they put more time in than probably any of us, don't they?
Michael: Yeah, oh, yeah.
Robbie: In terms of hours. And when they're not acting, they're doing their school studies. It's a long haul.
Michael: They're at it all the time.
Robbie: Their concentration's astonishing. If any one of those had been the wrong person-I mean, not just the wrong person at the start bud had developed into the wrong person. In fact, we had this gage that we were going to stick a phony mustache on Daniel and get him to turn up with a cigarette holder and a couple of babes and a fur coat, saying "My trailer is too small, love. I'm going back to it until--"
Interviewer: You've got the nightmare child star.
Robbie: Nightmare child scenario, yeah.
Interviewer: Ok head, go on. I know you got a question. Crack away.
Shrunken Head: Okay, great. Uh Robbie, I think Hagrid uses the same hairdresser as I use. Do you think I need a new hairstyle?
Robbie: I think you might have one or two split ends there, matey. But, no, I think it's very you. It's very you.
Shrunken Head: Great, All right. I'll keep it like this.
Interviewer: You've got a question for Michael.
Shrunken Head: Michael. Hello, Sir Michael.
Shrunken Head: You guys are classically trained actors. Could you get me a role as that skull in Hamlet?
Michael: I think that'd be a good idea, because you'd be great as a skull.
Interviewer: A chatty Yorick.
Michael: Whoever played Hamlet would be luck holding him (the Shrunken Head)
Shrunken Head: Lovely, Well, fair enough. Next question, Michael, again. I've felt like scratching my knee for the last six years now. So for the next movie, could you get Professor Dumbledore to cast a spell to get me a body?
Michael: Yeah, I think that could be done.
Interviewer: What sort of body would you create?
Michael: Long, thin, distorted-
Shrunken Head: Sounds like me.
Interviewer: Are you finished then, Head?
Shrunken Head: Ha, for now.
Interviewer: It's a waste of time to ask you to do questions. We learnt nothing. It's always about you. It's never anything interesting in them.
Shrunken Head: Well, I've had a good teacher. (Group laughter)
Interviewer: Thanks very much, fellas.
Michael & Robbie: You're welcome.
Michael: (Laughing) He's bloody witty.
Shrunken Head: (Laughs hysterically)