MuggleCast | The #1 Most-Listened to Harry Potter Podcast 3

MuggleCast 242 Transcript (continued)

Deathly Hallows - Part 2 DVD/Blu-ray Review: "A Conversation with JK Rowling and Daniel Radcliffe"

Andrew: Okay. So, we're going to go through some of the features that stood out to us. First of all, probably the thing most people were looking forward to, I know I was, the JK Rowling/Dan Radcliffe one-on-one conversation. They were speaking only to each other. There was no interviewer in the center, it was just a conversation between the Harry Potter actor and the Harry Potter author, which was a great idea. As for the timing of this, I've been trying to figure out when they actually did this, and based on - Dan made one comment about being on set recently, he said, so that made me think this was before the Part 1 film release. But anyway, all the information in it was brand new, and there were a few particularly interesting things that JK Rowling in particular revealed about the books. One was that Lupin was supposed to live, which was very interesting, but I mean, I think she made the better decision by killing him - by killing them both off, because as we discussed long ago on the show, it brought - it was a full circle kind of moment.

Eric: It was that, and I remember...

Andrew: Teddy loses his parents.

Eric: Yeah, that basically creates an orphan, and I think she said she wanted to show that war really did mean that people were losing their family, and that those were the stakes of a war. And it really reminded me of when we were trying to debate whether or not the trio would all survive, because we were thinking, okay, the three most involved people in this war - it doesn't make sense that all three members of the trio would actually make it through all seven books because they're on the front lines. And I think it just kind of echoes that sentiment where war is real, and that's why certain characters that she didn't expect to get it got it. But then remember what she said about Hagrid, why he survived. [laughs] She said he was never in the - never a contender for getting eliminated, which is in stark contrast to some of the fan polls. I know whenever we polled people, "Who's going to die?" everybody was like, "Hagrid, Hagrid, Hagrid!"

Micah: Well, she said that...

Eric: Yeah.

Micah: ...he would have been a natural choice if he hadn't been the one who was responsible for bringing Harry to Privet Drive, because she always - again, talking about bringing things full circle - wanted to have Hagrid be the one carrying Harry's supposed dead body out of the Forbidden Forest. So, you have sort of that connection again, that Andrew was referring to.

Andrew: Yeah, and that was great. That was very smart on her part. Let's see, what other - this was the biggest: JK Rowling "seriously considered" killing Ron.

Eric: Yeah.

Andrew: This was a bombshell.

Eric: Yeah.

Andrew: And she spoke, saying - what did she say? [laughs]

Eric: She said - well, later she said that she enjoys writing Ron, [laughs] because Dan asked her who she enjoys writing the most and she said, "Well, Dumbledore's always been part of my head, but then I enjoy writing Ron." And I said, "Hang on woman, you just said you were going to kill him for, like, five books!"

Andrew: And she said the reason she was considering is because she went through a dark period while writing the books...

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: ...and she was just in this - she said, quote, "I wasn't in a very happy place. I started thinking I might punish one of them off out of sheer spite."

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: And then she said, "Midway through the series, in my absolute heart of hearts, although I did seriously consider Ron. Anyway, I can tell you it's a real relief to talk about it."

Micah: So, he wouldn't have even made it to Deathly Hallows?

Eric: Right.

Andrew: Is that what she was saying?

Micah: I thought so. I thought you just said mid-series.

Andrew: Well, no, I thought she meant midway through writing the series, she considered - like say she was writing...

Eric: Oh.

Andrew: ...Goblet of Fire, Order of the Phoenix, and she was like, "Yeah, Ron will probably die by then." That's how I interpreted it, but maybe not.

Micah: Right.

Eric: It's just so weird...

Micah: Well, also, remember she thought of killing Arthur Weasley in Order of the Phoenix, too.

Andrew: Mhm.

Eric: Mhm. Yeah. And just thinking about...

[Eric's phone rings]

Eric: Jesus, I silenced my other phone, but this phone...

Micah: How many phones have you got?

Eric: Several. And so - anyway, just thinking about some of the characters, killing - she would have had to - if she had killed Ron earlier than Book 7 - I think you bring up a good point, because then she would have had to deal with the other characters' reactions to his death, right? If she killed him in Book 5, Book 6 would all be like, "Oh, I wish Ron were here," and it would be all depressing and sad, and she'd just have to keep going back to it. I think when she's chosen to kill characters, it's been those characters that the people who care about them are still able to move forward, whereas Ron just seems to be even more central to Harry and Hermione than Dumbledore or even Sirius.

Andrew: I believe that Ron - it was a good idea to kill Ron, or one of the trio members...

Eric: Really?

Andrew: ...because I just think it was too perfect that the three made it through the entire thing. I mean, they were all - all faced so much trouble throughout the series, and especially in Book 7. I think one of them finally should have got what was coming to them.

[Andrew and Eric laugh]

Andrew: It just - it's too perfect. And having Harry and Hermione suffer that loss, for Hermione to suffer the loss of somebody she loved, I just think it would have been great.

Eric: Wait, what loss did Hermione suffer?

Andrew: Well, maybe she wasn't as in love with - I mean, losing Ron, because she certainly - by that point, she was having feelings for Ron.

Eric: Oh, okay.

Andrew: They weren't married, but...

Eric: Well...

Andrew: I just think it was too convenient that all three made it all the way through.

Eric: Well, don't pity the dead, Andrew. Pity the living.

Andrew: Right. Well, that's why Ron should have died. Micah, tell us how George R. R. Martin, the Game of - the Song of Ice and Fire author, just kills people non-stop, right?

Micah: Well, without spoiling too much, he has no second thought...

[Andrew laughs]

Micah: ...I would say, when it comes to killing a character. He's not afraid to kill off the characters. It's just - you'll be reading the book, and you'll think the character is completely safe, "Oh, I'm reading this chapter," and all of a sudden, that character is dead.

[Andrew laughs]

Micah: And he just - he does it because it's a reality, and...

Andrew: Right.

Micah: ...he's not afraid to - he says, in almost every interview, that he's just not afraid to kill off the main characters.

Andrew: Mhm. I think that's great. [laughs] I'm sadistic.

Eric: Yeah, I wouldn't say it's a political thing, but there are some things you just shouldn't do in literature. You can't make these drastic decisions with no regard for the readership in some ways. I mean...

Andrew: But is it really worth not killing him just to appease the readers?

Eric: Well, I don't necessarily think that Ron...

Micah: Well...

Eric: ...should have died, but at the same time, you realize these - I don't know, authorship is authorship, right? You have the final say in everything, you shouldn't care what anybody thinks of you. But at the same time, there are these greater morals and greater things that appeal to a lot of people, and if people can get behind what it is you're saying, you're going to be more successful. So, I don't know if that - I mean, that obviously comes into play a little bit with the Harry Potter series where she did have this tremendous fan reaction to the tiniest things, and you almost can't take it into account. I think she says even in this interview when Dan asked her about having such a large fan base, she said she really tried to stay unaware of it for a lot of times because it would affect sort of her writing and change her sympathies for the worse.

Micah: Yeah, but tying it back just for a second to the A Song of Ice and Fire series, those characters - by the second book, let's say, in the series - are immersed into war. And JK Rowling points out that one of the realities of war is that people die, families are destroyed, and I think that that's why she did kill the characters that she did in Deathly Hallows. And I kind of agree with Andrew a little bit that it's almost too perfect that the trio made it through completely intact.

Eric: Well, I mean, wasn't I just saying this, too, that they're on the front line so it doesn't make too much sense?

Micah: Yeah, exactly.

Eric: Yeah. But then again, it's not - I mean, there are winners in a war. There are victors and there are losers, and I think the victors - there are families that survive war. There are whole entire families that survive war, in real war. So, why wouldn't there?

Micah: That's fair.

Eric: I mean, also...

Micah: And the other thing we should also bring up is that Harry - did he die?

[Andrew and Micah laugh]

Andrew: Oh God.

Eric: Yeah, yeah!

Micah: Because I know somebody is going to write in and say, "Well, technically..."

Eric: Harry died.

Micah: "...Harry did have that moment at King's Cross that you guys didn't talk about."

Andrew: Yeah. All right. Well, that's fair enough. That's actually a fair argument. But somebody should have died for good.

[Andrew and Eric laugh]

Andrew: Oh, and as Rowling says on the DVD, Harry did have a death scene.

Eric: Yes. That was so funny. And I think one of the things I enjoyed most about this conversation with Dan Radcliffe and JK Rowling - they were telling the story about Matt Lewis, I guess. When JK Rowling approached Matt Lewis at the premiere of - I think it was Order of the Phoenix, and JK Rowling was so inspired to go and tell him that she's got some great things for Neville in the upcoming book. And I think - didn't she say he practically screamed back at her, "I don't want to know!"...

Andrew: Yeah, yeah.

Eric: ...[laughs] and ran away. That was hilarious.

Andrew: This is something we kind of already knew, Alan Rickman did know about Snape and Lily, that Snape loved Lily...

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: ...and that's why Snape was the way he was towards Harry, treated Harry how he did.

Eric: What's funny - didn't Dan say that there were times when he imagined Snape - or, sorry. [laughs] Jesus. Where he imagined Alan abusing that?

Andrew: Not imagined, he did it.

Eric: Oh, he did abuse it?

Andrew: Alan would be on set and say, "Given what I know..."

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: "...I think this should be happening this way."

[Andrew and Eric laugh]

Andrew: Which is funny.

Eric: And that's another thing they talked about in "Maximum Movie Mode." They actually went back to that, and the idea that David Heyman and them didn't know until a little later on. But I think David Heyman said, too, that's one of the reasons that Alan's performance is going to stand the test of time and it's going to be so successful, is because they - Snape knows and Alan knows, and he was able to portray that even in the first few films. Going back, you can see that he knows. You can read more into his performance.

Andrew: JK Rowling also said that she really wanted Robbie Coltrane. She said that was actually one of the sticking points that she had. She kept asking for Coltrane even though they were looking for different actors, or they were considering different actors.

Eric: It's interesting, there is a bit in Page to Screen about that, the Harry Potter: Page to Screen, Harper Collins's second book. And there's all sorts of concept art about Hagrid, but because Robbie Coltrane was so preferred by Jo, some of the earliest concept art still has him as the basis for it. So, he was like the first person they kind of cast, and it was due to her suggestion. I wonder, though, what she had seen in him that made him - I mean, I'm sure he's quite well known, but still, in Bond he plays a cripple or a partial cripple. So, he's not exactly - you can't get any idea of him being super tall, right? Because he's crouching and he's sitting down...

Andrew: I mean, they would have had to make anyone super tall, though. I think what may have stood out for her was maybe his face.

Eric: Well, in real life, he's very tall, though, right? I mean, that's the other thing...

Andrew: I guess.

Eric: without extenders...

Andrew: Is he? I don't know.

Eric: Yeah, I feel like he's just got this reputation. He's probably been in lots of things in Britain that she would know him from. I just...

Andrew: Yeah.

Eric: That's what I was asking. But yeah, he's just a massive guy. But anybody would look similar, wouldn't they, in that much of a beard and...

Andrew: Yeah, but it's also the personality he brings.

Eric: Well, that's...

Andrew: It's the acting.

Eric: Yeah. I love Hagrid, and Robbie Coltrane as Hagrid is just dandy.

Andrew: Yeah, he brings the spirit, and sure they buffed him up more, they made him taller, but that's just the - he's a very warm person, Robbie Coltrane. He's just a great actor, that's what it comes down to. That's why Jo wanted him, was the acting, maybe not so much the physical appearance even though he certainly fit the part. I mean, they couldn't have put Alan Rickman into the role of Hagrid. [laughs] They needed somebody who was a bit physically large to help out. What else did we learn here? JK Rowling told Dan that Harry would have a death scene. I'm - was that entirely new? I thought...

Eric: Yeah, I think I've heard that exact story before.

Andrew: Yeah, me too.

Eric: So yeah, it probably wasn't - but again, hearing it - just like anything else, hearing it from them, the fact that they were in this room talking with each other for...

Andrew: Yeah.

Eric: ...this extended period of time blows away anything, any other news source that you could get it from.

Micah: Well, Dan also mentioned that prior to that, he played it up as if he knew what happened when he really didn't.

Eric: [laughs] Yeah. Again, it's relating to the other actors on set and stuff, and bragging. I think he said he did it at some point. He bragged that he knew what was going to happen, but I think he ended up being caught in the lie, later on.

Micah: And another thing that was interesting, he said that he felt closer to members of the crew than he was to some of the cast and that he was going to miss sort of the day-to-day interaction with members of the crew.

Eric: Yeah, that's a really personal bit. He's talking about his makeup team and how, I think, towards the end of the shooting for Deathly Hallows, the films, they mentioned sort of what their next project was going to be or something, but it was going to - basically, it wasn't going to involve him, so he got very upset because this person who had put on his makeup for ten years - obviously it's a very intimate thing because you've got to do it before every shot, every shoot - was going on to do something else without him, and he said that that really - that's what hit him the most, I think, emotionally he said, in the interview. And JK Rowling completely understood, and I think - didn't she say that she had been close to some of her - I mean, obviously it's not the same closeness, but just - her team of people writing the books, and so she totally empathized with him.

Micah: Yeah. And then Dan mentioned how Leavesden was very isolated because there were no other films that were taking place at the same time, so you didn't have the cast interacting with other casts, the crew interacting with other crew, it was just Harry Potter which apparently is unique.

Andrew: As we've really emphasized on the show, fans pick apart the details about the books versus the films, and they did talk about that a little bit during the interview. Rowling actually addressed Harry's green eyes, and the gist of the story was that David Heyman, the producer, called Rowling and said, "How important is it that Harry's eyes are green?" And she said, "It's not important so long as whoever you cast as Lily has eyes that are similar to Harry's."

Eric: Right, because it's the connection between their eyes that's important.

Andrew: Yes. And some people brought up a good point when we posted it on Hypable, in the comments. It's like, "Well, Lily's eyes don't look like Harry's eyes, so what happened?"

[Andrew and Eric laugh]

Andrew: So, that story is yet to be told.

Eric: Well...

Andrew: But, I mean, what do you guys think? Do Lily's eyes, I guess in Deathly Hallows in particular, look like Harry's?

Eric: You mean actress Geraldine Somerville?

Andrew: Yes, her.

Micah: I don't remember, [laughs] to be honest with you.

Andrew: Yeah, me neither. I don't even know how to compare eyes.

Eric: The movie's not well lit. The movie's not well lit. I think it's one of those things where it's like you have to trust the characters when they say that, right? "You have your mother's eyes." Okay, I have my mother's eyes.

Andrew: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Micah: JK Rowling made the perfect comment, I thought, and look, we are more culpable than any other [laughs] group of people because we have torn the films apart on this show many, many, many times. But she even said it herself. At the end of the day, the books are too long to make into very faithful films, and I don't think that you can kind of respond to that in any way. She's the author and she realizes this, so that's just one thing that people are going to have to deal with.

Andrew: A couple of other things here: Dan is allergic - Dan was allergic to his glasses at first.

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: He revealed that, which was funny and kind of sad.

Eric: [laughs] Yeah.

Andrew: He didn't know - they didn't know what was causing the allergies around his eyes. [laughs]

Eric: Yeah, turned out to be his glasses. Why - do you think it says something, like because it's new to him, so like - because you don't really get over an allergy, or you can, I guess, but it was like an allergic reaction. He had an allergic reaction to his glasses, but then after a little while it was okay. Or did they change like the type of what his glasses were made of because still to this day, he's allergic?

Andrew: No, I don't think he's still allergic to this day.

Eric: Yeah.

Andrew: He just said at the beginning, so they must have changed the material that they were made of or something.

Eric: Well, he ended up getting over it because he said that's the prop he was going to take with him.

[Andrew and Eric laugh]

Eric: Yeah, JK Rowling accused - didn't she accuse all of them of already having things that they were going to take? [laughs]

Andrew: Yeah, I'm not surprised by that.

Eric: Yeah. But everybody will admit to that freely when we speak to them, too.

Andrew: Dan and JK Rowling joke about being dictators, able to mobilize the Potter masses.

Eric: Yeah, that was interesting. That was like the Oprah moment, the JK Rowling/Oprah...

Andrew: [laughs] I was totally thinking that, too.

Eric: Wasn't it?

Andrew: Yeah.

Eric: Where it was just like, we have so much money, don't we? We have so much... [laughs]

Andrew: Right, right. Oh my god, we're so rich. [laughs]

Eric: But really, it was like that kind of - I wasn't as uncomfortable about it, really, because you have to admit that what they were saying was partially, in a sick world, true. But yeah, basically I think - what did they say exactly?

Micah: They were talking about showing up at the premieres and sort of seeing - I think - and this might also provide some perspective on when this interview was. They were talking about the last premiere and how it poured, and...

Andrew: So, that was Half-Blood - or Part 1.

Micah: That was Half-Blood Prince.

Andrew: Okay.

Micah: Yeah. Or was it Part 1?

Andrew: Part 1, it rained, too. Not as much, though...

Eric: Right.

Andrew: Half-Blood Prince.

Eric: Oh, but they were saying...

Micah: But they were...

Eric: Yeah.

Micah: How many people were there despite the rain, and that they could easily mobilize this many people. And JK Rowling was referring to, I guess, maybe she was on a book tour and she had seen all these people, and Dan was referring to the premiere. I don't know specifically what the events were, but I know one of them was a premiere and they were talking about sort of the hundreds, if not thousands, of people that were there and how they could just march on the palace.

Eric: The palace.

Micah: I think Dan joked about...

Eric: I think Dan said something like that. Yeah, he said - because the enthusiasm was so great from everybody, even in spite of the rain, that if one of them, either Jo or Harry, had just said, "Today, we march!" then they could have taken everybody elsewhere.

Andrew: I mean, I assume they were joking but it seems like...

Eric: Yeah, yeah.

Andrew: Does this surprise them? I mean, they're seeing their favorite author and their favorite actor, of course they are going to come out in the rain, it doesn't matter.

Eric: Jo says - is it early in this conversation or early in "The Women of Harry Potter," where she says that typically authors don't have that much power, so...

Andrew: Yes, she does say that...

Eric: She thinks it's totally not disingenuous - or is disingenuous, I forget - for her to be able to say that she is still surprised by any power that the series has afforded her. I thought that was a good quote from Jo.

Micah: Another interesting thing that I thought Dan said early on in the conversation was he was talking about himself, Rupert, and Emma, and he was saying how in the UK, the child comes before the celebrity whereas in America, the celebrity comes before the child, and that's why they felt that they were able to kind of grow up out of the limelight, whereas - let's say they had grown up in America, it would have been completely different. Do you guys remember that?

Eric: Yeah. I also remember about the films possibly being filmed in America.

Micah: Yeah...

Andrew: [laughs] Yeah.

[Eric laughs]

Micah: ...she had a pretty adverse reaction to that.

Andrew: Yeah. That's why I loved this because they both learnt so much from each other, too.

[Andrew and Eric laugh]

Eric: We should get to the other features.

Deathly Hallows - Part 2 DVD/Blu-ray Review: "Maximum Movie Mode"

Andrew: Yeah, we're going long here. Okay, so - yeah, bunch of other stuff, you can see the rest for yourself. It's all in the - it's almost an hour, the entire JK Rowling/Dan Radcliffe conversation. Also on the DVD was "Maximum Movie Mode." They had this on Half-Blood Prince, Part 1, and, of course, now Part 2. And I love this, I really do. I read in a review that the "Maximum Movie Mode" - it brings the movie to over three hours...

Eric: It's two...

Andrew: ...because there's a...

Eric: Well, it's two and a half hours.

Andrew: Oh.

Eric: They count...

Andrew: I don't know where I read that.

Eric: Well, there's the things, though - is that they count the credits, so it's like when you go on the menu and it says timestamp and it's 2 hours, 47 minutes, they're counting the credits. But also there are the focus points, you remember those? It's like on Disc 1, they have the focus points. So, it's not part of "Maximum Movie Mode" but they pop up during "Maximum Movie Mode" where you can go and view these focus points. But in addition to all the stuff they're flipping and rewinding and going back and doing in "Maximum Movie Mode," it also links to those focus moments which are provided separately on the main menu. So, yeah. And those total a half an hour, so that is your three hours right there.

Andrew: And it's just - and the deleted scenes are inserted, too, seamlessly. And a little deleted scene kind of banner comes up, so you're aware - in case you're wondering why [laughs] some special effects weren't done or why you didn't see it in theaters. And it's just great. It's such a unique way to enjoy the film a second time. So, say you get the DVD and you watch it a normal time like you would in theaters, and then maybe a couple of days later you watch "Maximum Movie Mode." And it's exciting because you're waiting for each new featurette to pop up, you're waiting for the deleted scenes, and you learn a lot of cool information. And the actors who are in it - Matt Lewis, I know David Barron, the producer - they all have fun and interesting tidbits to share. So, I love "Maximum Movie Mode." It's really great. It's a shame all the DVDs didn't get them but it's kind of a Blu-ray thing.

Eric: That's the thing. Do you think in the Definitive Collection on Blu-ray, maybe they'll do that? Would it be...

Andrew: That would be cool.

Eric: I mean, it would be cool.

Andrew: But they'd have to shoot so much.

Eric: Right.

Andrew: I don't know, I guess they could.

Eric: More stuff of them standing. Yeah, well, this was the first time I saw "Maximum Movie Mode," but I have the Part 1 on Blu-ray and I'll probably buy the Part 6 on Blu-ray but maybe I'll wait until the Definitive Collection.

Andrew: [laughs] Part 6?

Eric: [laughs] Or Movie 6 on Blu-ray. But still, I think that this "Maximum Movie Mode" made me want to see "Maximum Movie Mode" for the other ones because more than any documentary is going to do - documentaries are typically only about a couple of things, whereas "Maximum Movie Mode" they were able to take one scene, and talk about all the aspects of the scene, without it taking too much time, because it's just a quick cut-away that says, by the way, about these masks on the goblins, or...

Micah: Do you feel that it interrupts the movie at all?

Eric: Well, yeah, it does but isn't that the point? I mean, the movie itself...

Micah: Yeah. No, I was just wondering what your reaction was to it.

Andrew: Yeah, and that's why you don't watch it the first time you get the DVD.

Eric: Yeah. Definitely like...

Andrew: You watch it like...

Eric: But yeah. I mean, more to that point, I don't think there were one or two minutes that went by without somebody interrupting and the film minimizing into picture and picture. That shows - it works two ways. It shows how much material there is to really talk about, and I was happy to learn all that stuff. But yeah, I guess if you don't want an interruption to the film, obviously don't choose "Maximum Movie Mode."

[Micah laughs]

Eric: [laughs] If you want an uninterrupted version, play the version. But yeah, it was very thorough on this disc and it did make me want to go back and see, definitely, the existing ones already on "6" and "7".

Andrew: And while I'm thinking of it, one disappointment with this one, and Part 1 frankly, is, Half-Blood Prince, the Blu-ray, if you had the Blu-ray you could tune in at a certain time for a live commentary hosted by Dan Radcliffe and producer David Baron. They did this only once and it was just for Half-Blood Prince. And again, it was live so you were watching the movie live with Radcliffe and Baron. It was really cool. And they were taking questions from Twitter or something. It was through this technology called BD Live and if you had the Blu-ray, like I said, you could watch it live with them. And they didn't do it again and they should've! They should've done it for Part 2.

Eric: Digital Spy, which I think reviewed this set first, said there is an icon for BD Live.

Andrew: Yeah, it's on there. I saw it. But I think that's just so you can connect and you can post through Facebook. And I think you can watch it with other friends. You can sync it up to watch with other friends and talk about it.

Eric: Interesting.

Andrew: Yeah, but...

Micah: Well, it's possible the Home Entertainment Celebration got in the way of the BD live chat.

Andrew: That's true. Maybe it was like, "This is too much!"

Eric: [laughs] I mean - but there's always the opportunity to do it later, right? Essentially - I mean, if it's the internet...

Andrew: Yeah. Mhm.

Eric: So, that's good.

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#244 (November 20th, 2011): For the first time ever, MuggleCast has a DVD commentary! Watch Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2 on DVD with us. We'll comment on each and every scene - it's as if we're in your living room watching alongside you!

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