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

Interview With David Heyman (Episode 200)

Micah: All right. Well, we are now joined by the producer of what will be all eight Harry Potter films, Mr. David Heyman. David, thank you so much for joining us today. It's our 200th episode of MuggleCast. So it's really great that you could be with us.

David Heyman: Wow! Well, thank you for having me and I feel very honored to be here on this, the 200th episode. That's amazing!

[Micah and Eric laugh]

David Heyman: When was the first one?

Micah: 2005.

Eric: August 2005.

David Heyman: Wow. Well, congratulations!

Eric: Well, thank you very much. So to help the listeners get an idea, can you tell us how you first got involved with Harry Potter?

David Heyman: Yeah sure. I was a very fortunate person to - I was in the right place at the right time. I read an unpublished manuscript in 1997 - the beginning of 1997 - and fell in love with it. And there began my journey, I suppose. I had no idea that it would become the phenomenon that it's become. It was just something I had read and loved. You know, it made me laugh, it moved me. I'd been to a school a bit like Hogwarts but without the magic.

[Micah laughs]

David Heyman: I had friends who I - who were important to me. I had friends who I hung out with, I had teachers who I liked and teachers who I didn't like. And it felt just entirely relatable and yet at the same time there was this sort of wish fulfillment aspect to it. I loved it. It reminded me of those books I'd read as a child and yet in a completely fresh and new voice. I fell in love and so I sent it to Warner Bros. with whom I had a relationship. They were paying for my office in exchange for first book deal and I sent it to them and they didn't have a clue [laughs] what they were about to get their hands on.

[Eric laughs]

David Heyman: I sent it to someone they call Lionel Wigram. Lionel was someone I'd been to - you know, I'd grown up with. I'd known him since I was around 13-years-old. The first girl I ever made out with was at a party thrown by Lionel. That's probably more detail than you need.

[Micah and Eric laugh]

David Heyman: But anyway, that was a long time ago. And I sent it to Lionel and he read it and he liked it and there began the process. I think that Warner - they really didn't have a clue. I'm not sure they even read it besides Lionel at the beginning, but they had this deal with me and this was the first substantial thing that I'd submitted, and I think they were - you know, they wanted to show faith and it's worked out brilliant for everyone - for everyone concerned.

Eric: I'd say.

David Heyman: But clearly I was in the right place at the right time because I'd just moved back to London. If I'd moved back six months later, someone else might have gotten it. Though actually there were people who did read it and passed on it. It wasn't like everybody was convinced that this was going to be a - that this was the film, but certainly before it had been published.

Micah: Wow.

Eric: Right.

Micah: Well going in to the production of moving the books into the movies were the studios prepared for the attention that the movies were going to receive? I mean, having had so much time to now see this fan base and how passionate it is.

David Heyman: I think that when we, you know, it took a - the negotiation was quite long to acquire the rights and we eventually, you know, Warner Bros. secured the rights for some time, just before the book was published and the first book was published in the United States. Once you understand, and it's hard to think of this now but Harry Potter was, in large party, a word of mouth phenomenon. It wasn't one that, you know, huge marketing dollars led to sort of create the good will that the books earned. But it was people, you know, it was kids talk to kids, parents talking to parents and the fan base filled. So when we optioned the book they really - actually, even when we hired Steve Kloves to adapt the first book it was still not a phenomenon. However by the time that it reached number one, number two and number three on the New York Times Best Seller list, I think they realized that there was something that was, you know, that there was huge possibilities. But again I don't, you know - I remember on that opening weekend of the first film when it came out in cinemas, I think everybody was in a bit of shock at quite the fervor, the passion and you know, the amount of people that were coming to see these films.

Micah: Right.

[Eric laughs]

David Heyman: Warner's had already by that point committed to making a second.

Eric: Yeah.

David Heyman: When they were making the first - when we were making the first we already knew we were going to make the second. When we were making the second we knew we were going to make the third. So we were always one ahead, as it were. So I think they had a sense that there would be an audience. I think that the extent of that audience and the passion of that audience - I don't think they were quite prepared for.

Eric: Mhm. Oh absolutely, and we've seen how the fansites have grown. MuggleNet started back in 1999 with a few other select sites and just as the fandom itself has grown and sought resources on the internet and otherwise, we have seen how it has grown so much throughout the years and obviously - it's cool to hear you talk about that and how the studios and all that reacted to it. Now has the relationship or - how has the relationship between the studios and the fans adapted? How has it, would you say, changed throughout the years?

David Heyman: I'm not sure I understand the question. I mean I can tell about how we approached the films...

Eric: Mhm.

David Heyman:, you know, how I've - I'm a fan. I love Jo's books and I think people working on the films feel the same way. Our desire is to make the very best version of these films we can. And clearly there are many different versions of the Harry Potter book that you could do, that you could make. And we have to make choices about what we choose to emphasize and what we don't emphasize. There was a big moment when we were starting the third film when Alfonso Cuaron came aboard where we really, in order to give the film some form of cinematic structure we decided to tell the story from Harry's point of view and things that didn't relate to - many of the things didn't relate to Harry's journey itself, fell by the wayside. Some things I loved actually and missed in the films. So - in terms of film makers to audience - fans - there is great respect for the fans; there is great respect for Jo's work, and we do show the script to Jo, and Steve Kloves clearly has a keen understanding of Jo's voice. I think when she first met Steve - I think that was the thing that - I think that that first meeting was one of the scariest things for her because this is the person - a fellow writer...

Eric: Mhm.

David Heyman: ...and he was being entrusted - in a way - with the adaptation, and I think she was greatly relieved; I remember that meeting so well - driving her to the studio and having lunch with Steve and then driving her afterwards back to the hotel, and how relieved she was, by having met him. We have to - we're all incredibly respectful and passionate about the material. That being said, we all - we have to make choices - we have to make choices that will please some and not necessarily please all because you'll become acutely aware of as a producer when you see the number of letters that I do - that we do. Each with - everybody loves and misses something different; everybody has their own interpretation...

Micah: Right.

David Heyman: it's going to be impossible for us to please everybody, and so we have to make a very - we ourselves, as fans, have to make certain choices. It seems to be the studio. They I think have come to - they've always respected the fans, and actually I think respected the work first and then the fans. And clearly with that things have been difficult with fan sites with fans, and I know it has not always been a smooth relationship, but I do believe Warner Bros., and I'm not Warner Bros., I am an independent producer who's making films...

Eric: Yes.

David Heyman: ...for Warner Bros...

[Eric and Micah laugh]

David Heyman: ...but I do think they have - it's a very important distinction - I do believe - I really do believe that they have Jo's - that they really do care about Jo's material, most certainly the way they supported myself as a producer, and not just the resources but the independence they gave us to make decisions as opposed to being mine and so many other different voices...

Micah: Right.

David Heyman: ...which just can't happen at other studios. They've been very respectful...

Micah: Yeah. I know one of the things you just brought up: difficult decisions. The Marauder's story line and I think the House Elves are kind of the two things that stick out amongst fans. You know, obviously...

David Heyman: I think there's a whole host more than a couple things. The funeral - the memories.

Micah: Right.

David Heyman: Boy oh boy. I'm sure if there was a Voodoo doll of me...

[Micah and Eric laugh]

David Heyman: ...there'd be quite a few pins in there for missed things. But again, if you follow the House Elf story, it would - these films, as they are, are two hours and 30 odd minutes. It just becomes - and some people think they're too long - some people may not think they're long enough. But many - some people do think they're too long, and I think it's just to give a clear story, a define narrative, means that you have to make some choices.

Micah: Right. Well with effect to the...

David Heyman: Sorry.

[David Heyman and Micah laugh]

Micah: No, we understand, we understand.

David Heyman: I'm sorry! Really I am.

Eric: No.

David Heyman: Because I've loved to have all those.

Eric: I thought the Dumbledore death scene at the end of Half-Blood Prince - I thought it was just fine. I didn't miss - and clearly there would have been a lot more people to cast, and it would have kind of been a mess of huge amount of actors at the funeral scene.

David Heyman: And just so you know, the reason behind it wasn't actually purely an economic one, though that...

Eric: Yeah.

David Heyman: In spite of the vast sums that Warners gives us, it's all - any film you make, you always want more, though some of the best decisions are made through having to work within budgets, I feel. But Dumbledore's funeral is an interesting one because in the book it was one of my favorite scenes. I shed a tear whenever I read the book. Really I find it incredibly moving. But in terms of film, how many scenes of grieving we could have.

Eric: Yeah.

David Heyman: It felt that it would be not redundant, clearly not redundant, but at that stage in the film we would be - I think our concern was that we would be in a place of melancholy for too long, or a place of grieving and that the repeated emotional, or similar, similar beat that we were repeating on more than one occasion.

Eric: Mhm.

David Heyman: Does that make sense?

Eric: Yes.

Micah: Yes. Yeah, talking about taking the Potter books and making them into movies, do you think this has helped other books be green-lit into for other films as well? This has kind of laid the ground work?

David Heyman: Well I - when I moved back to London in 1996, I decided that books was going to be the foundation of my business of how I produced. I love to read; I'm a voracious reader, and books traditionally have had the greater success in terms of going from development to films. More so than pictures or other such things. They have had great success. So that was my - I love to read, and I thought that, there were many reasons why, but traditionally they have been quite successful in terms of being made. I do think that what Potter - and I think there's been interest in family entertainment, but I think that the success may have paved the way for revisiting certain books, whether it be Narnia or Lord of the Rings already in the works, but I think it gave it fresh life...

Micah: Right.

David Heyman: ...possibly. I don't know. I can't honestly say. Clearly, there's a lot more - the success of Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, and Narnia has meant there are a lot more book, I would say, family books that find their way to screen, like - <>Percy Jackson or, I think people are looking in that direction maybe more than they have. But you look back through time, Snow White. Disney's been adapting Jungle Book, adapting children's books for a long time.

Eric: Yeah.

David Heyman: So I don't think it's an exclusively contemporary thing.

Eric: Yeah, I definitely see what you're saying and being a voracious reader that's absolutely excellent. And now that you're on the subject we looked and we see you are currently attached two upcoming book adaptations, the first is Paddington Bear by W.B and the second is the Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.

David Heyman: Yeah.

Eric: Can you comment on either of those? Because I'm really excited particularly for Dog in the Night-Time, to see that to fruition. Are both of those projects still in the works?

David Heyman: Yes. Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time is another book I auctioned before it was published. I just read it and felt that Mark Hadden had a really distinctive voice in it. This is a very moving and powerful story. Steve Kloves been a little busy with recent work of the Harry Potter films...

[Eric and Micah laugh]

David Heyman: We attached him as writer and director way back when - he directed, he's directed a couple of films. Well, I love both of these films, The Fabulous Baker Boys, and he is really capable of capturing the voice of the author, as he has done with Potter. And I was really excited when he said, "yes" having not directed for so long, since Flesh and Bone, and he would do this. But I've been waiting quite a while because he's been busy and he says - he assures me that some time in the next six to twelve months I will see a script and that will be really exciting - and yes it's very much in the works. Clearly not a film on the scale of Potter, a more modestly-sized film but one that I think can be great. And then Paddington, I love Paddington. It's part of my childhood and we've got a wonderfully talented young director called Paul King who has done the adaptation and hopefully we - who's attached to direct, and he's just doing the final flourishes to the script and then we'll turn it in to the studio. The difficulty and the times we are in now, means that the studios are really interested in major brands in that Spiderman, Ironman, Batman comic books and books like Harry Potter, but of course there are other things. But it is harder and Paddington is well known in Britain and in other territories - Japan and Australia but it's not a big, bestseller in America, so I've got to navigate that minefield before bringing it to screen. But they seem positive and Winnie the Pooh was just announced and I don't know if that's a good thing or a bad thing.

[Eric and Micah laugh]

David Heyman: Another bear, another British bear.

[Eric and Micah laugh]

David Heyman: But I'm really hopeful and I'm going to do everything I can to see it made. I think Paul will do a brilliant job with it.

Micah: I think I will have to ask you the lottery numbers for tonight between Potter and all these others films...

[David Heyman laughs]

Micah: ...that you have been able to land.

David Heyman: I'm a very lucky man.

Micah: Well, you have done a tremendous, tremendous job. We really appreciate it as fans, though. I can't tell you enough.

David Heyman: Thank you. Well, somebody said - one of the nicest compliments I had, this weekend I was visiting some friends and they - my friend's son said to me that one of the things that - they love the films and they said they're so much better than they need to be. And I took that as a real compliment in the sense that I do think that, each time, we're trying to make the last - the latest one better than the one before.

Eric: Mhm.

David Heyman: We're really ambitious for the films, you know, Stuart Craig and David Yates now, and everybody is - everybody working on it is hungry, is determined to make this Potter the best one yet, and nobody is complacent. Nobody is just resting on their laurels, and I'm sure we make mistakes and I'm sure that there's certain things we could have done better, but we most certainly - we don't settle, and - and the studio has been supportive in that, I have to say. They encourage us to reach and give us the independence to do so. And the fans - we have - I feel we have a great responsibility to the fan base. I mean, your fans and the other people - you know, all these ever-growing web sites and the people who send letters and it's - there is a real responsibility there, I think.

Eric: Mhm. We have a few more questions for you and it's...

David Heyman: Fire away.

Eric: Oh, it's a bit of a lighter segment here where we - we do it. We call it Favorites. We'd like to know, first and foremost, your favorite book.

David Heyman: Wow. I think I - God, that's really hard. I - the first - each - it's funny, because I've been - these have been so much a part of my life. Each one marks off a certain time in my life. The first one, that first love, as it were, when I first read Philosopher's or Sorcerer's as it is known in America, Stone was really just - I was caught up in this world. I love the third book and the scale of the fourth. I loved - I love all the memories in the sixth, even though very few of them have found their way into the film.

[Eric laughs]

David Heyman: And I love the way Harry is so wound up and tight in the fifth, and what - and the discoveries he makes. And the seventh, I think that Jo outdid herself with her final offering, and I think it's just the most fantastic book.

Eric: Yeah. Okay. Do you have a favorite villain?

David Heyman: Voldemort.

Eric: Voldemort, really?

David Heyman: Yeah. I have to say, I love Snape, but...

Eric: Oh.

David Heyman: ...he's not really a villain, is he?

Micah: No.

Eric: No. I was thinking of Umbridge, because she's obviously quite...

David Heyman: Well, I tell you, what I love about Umbridge is I think she's delicious.

Eric: [laughs] Yeah.

David Heyman: I love her. I think that she's - Ralph - I think Voldemort, in some ways, is the most challenging - it was one of the most challenging decisions we had to make, and choices, and the creation of that character, because he is - we've been building him for four films and he's got to carry us through the next, as it turns out, four, and he is the embodiment of evil. And there have been some - there have been many attempts, I think, to try and make Voldemort distinctive. We're - and I was really proud of the way that Ralph and Mike helped see the - and sort of Jo's - helped adapt Jo's villain. I love Umbridge in 5. I think...

[Eric laughs]

David Heyman: ...she is - what I like about her is her smile, and her pink, and her little giggle.

[Eric laughs]

David Heyman: ...and I think Imelda Staunton...

Eric: Yes.

David Heyman: wonderfully irritating.

[Eric laughs]

Micah: Yeah, I remember one of our other hosts used to say all the time that when he was reading the books he used to literally start hitting things when Umbridge would be brought up and he felt that Imelda Staunton did exactly that in Movie 5. It just makes you want to jump into the screen and attack her.

[Eric and Micah laugh]

David Heyman: Well, I love the scene in 5 where - one of the things I like about Umbridge is her quietness and how much she is about control and yet she is so abusive. That scene with the quill, where the quill writes on Harry's hand in the film is I think one of the most chilling scenes that we've had.

Eric: Yes.

David Heyman: Most disturbing and uncomfortable, and yet it's a scene of ñ well there's cats, sweet purring cats.

Eric: Yes!

David Heyman: All the alpha veneer softness masks this...

Eric: Truly horrible thing.

David Heyman: ...horrible thing. And I found that scene to really make me feel very uncomfortable. It's very hard to watch. And the slowness of it...

Eric: Yeah.

David Heyman:'s allowing it to breathe and that handwriting not being too quick and you feel it just digging into him. Oh, I just - and I love the way that Harry looks at her towards the end of that scene, the resolve. That's one of my favorites. But I also like the fact ñ because I don't think this is always easy - is I think she's very funny.

Eric: Yeah.

David Heyman: I think you take great pleasure in her wickedness. So yes, I think that's a very good character to bring up.

Eric: Oh, but so is Voldemort. [laughs]

David Heyman: Oh no no, Voldemort's more obvious.

Eric: Yeah.

David Heyman: I think more obvious just because - but it is, as I said before, if you think about it now that he's there...

Eric: Yeah.

David Heyman: ...but when we tried to conceive him; Who are we going to cast? How are we going to dress him? There was, believe it or not, a big debate about the nose, because Ralph was unsure about losing his nose...

[Eric laughs]

David Heyman: ...and that dialogue and how all those pieces ñ the decision to not make him have slit eyes...

Eric: Yes.

David Heyman: ...and the reason for that was that the eyes are the window ñ are so important. And if you gave him slit eyes it would - I know that Voldemort is inhuman, but we felt that the lack of humanity or humanity was really important to get across and that was better done with seeing eyes, we felt, making him slightly less of a creature. But all of those decisions that ñ because every - there are so many decisions one makes that many of the fans or the audience don't realize but everything is an accumulation of hundreds or thousands of decisions. I really feel that the decisions we made with Ralph, for the most part, were successful.

Micah: Yeah, well going I guess a little more light-hearted, away from the villains, what do you think your Animagus or Patronus would be? For you specifically.

David Heyman: A lion.

Eric: Excellent.

[David and Micah laugh]

Eric: No, I think that's good.

David Heyman: We haven't seen one of those have we?

Micah: No.

Eric: Now the Potter...

David Heyman: [laughs] Take of that what you will.

Eric: Hey, that's fine. Now the films are filmed on location in gorgeous, absolutely gorgeous areas. They do tours now to Scotland and England looking for some of these places. Do you have a favorite place from your travels, in working on these films?

David Heyman: Well, I love going up to Scotland. Filming in the Highlands which was did a lot in 3, even in the terrible weather. We meant to film there for five days and we ended up there for, I can't remember thirteen, fourteen...

Eric: Oh wow.

David Heyman: ...fifteen days because it was raining. And Alfonso - I remember Alfonso was just smiling away because the overcast, it all contributed to the aesthetic, which he wanted. But boy, it was very hard. But yeah, filming up there I think that's one of the most beautiful locations I think I've been on. Since that time, we've been doing more and more filming here at Leavesden because I think Warner Bros. was so - well two things, one, Warner Bros. really didn't like the lack of control the elements brings you, and two, the nature of the visual effects have improved such that we can, with green screen, we're able to make an environment extend far more and create environments that don't exist where we're filming them so a lot of our work is plate work.

Micah: Is there a musical piece or one of the film scores that stands out to you, that you're particular proud of, that you thought was the best?

David Heyman: Well, I don't know, I remember first listening to "Hedwig's Theme" when John Williams sent it and really loving that. I loved his score for the third film.

Eric: Yeah.

David Heyman: I think that it's wonder - it's very minimal compared to - his scores can be - are quite full and broken in parts but I really respond to a more sparse score. The ticking clock when you're going back in time, the tick, tick, tick, tick, tick...

Eric: Yeah.

David Heyman: ...playing over, I thought was beautiful. In the fourth, I loved Patrick Doyle's melody and I think some of the pieces that Nick Hooper did in 5 and 6 were very, very moving. Pat Doyle at the end of 4, when we see the Beauxbatons leaving. And in 5, some - I love the piece in 6 when Harry is getting Slughorn to reveal - to hand over his memory at Hagrid's hut I thought was a very difficult piece of music and very moving. So that's some of the pieces that I liked.

Eric: So I'm sure one of benefits of producing a film is seeing the props and sets that are - that have been constructed. If you could take a prop away from the film or the sets, and I'm not suggesting you have, if you could, which prop would it be that you would sort of take home as a keepsake?

David Heyman: You know that's funny. I have taken a few props...

[Eric and Micah laugh]

David Heyman: ...from a few films [clears throat and laughs]

Micah: We'll edit that out, we can edit that out.

[Eric laughs]

David Heyman: I took - I got a Quidditch box, you know the box with the...

Eric: With the balls in it?

David Heyman: Yeah.

Eric: Oh!

David Heyman: I got one of those.

Eric: I want one of those.

David Heyman: I've got Harry's wand and - I've been too busy actually to cull the others but I'm about to sit down the week after next with the head of props and take a few more things.

[Eric and Micah laugh]

David Heyman: Yes, that would - but I don't know, I really like - there's so many things - I think Harry's wand I think is a very special thing to have. The Snitch. I like the - and it's not in the book but I love the Jamaican...

Eric: The heads.

David Heyman: ...heads. I think that really - every time I see the film, makes me smile.

[Eric laughs]

David Heyman: I would love to able to take the - where all the memories are held - that box. But I'm not sure they'll allow me out of the studio with that one or will be able to leave with it sufficiently discreetly...

[Eric laughs]

David Heyman: [unintelligible] - I think that's really beautiful. I like the Deathly Hallows emblazoned on Umbridge's locket. There are a lot of them I think - what the departments here, what Stuart Craig and his team and the props and all the manufacturing it's just - it's really incredible what they do, the detail. Now in the films - I almost wish I could invite - well I can't - invite everybody to have a look at the level of detail that goes in these films and things you don't really see. For example on the notice board in the Gryffindor common room, which is probably my favorite set just because it's so comfortable and cozy. I mean I like many sets but that's just got a special taste for me. There's a notice board and we really don't focus on that notice board, but on that notice board are class schedules, meeting groups, warnings, notices, all of which have been hand-drawn and they just contribute to the making of the environment seem that much more real...

Eric: Mhm.

David Heyman: that when the actors are playing in it, they have to think a little less, they have to use their imagination a little less.

Eric: Yeah.

David Heyman: It feels like what it is.

Eric: Yeah. Fortunately, I have been able to visit the travelling exhibition which has props from the films, just as a hint...

David Heyman: What do you think of that?

Eric: Oh, I loved it. I absolutely loved it. Just the detail, and particularly the Bloody Baron's costume...

David Heyman: Yep.

Eric: ...from Philosopher's Stone. He just does a fly-by, he's transparent, but the detail...

David Heyman: I know.

Eric: ...on that outfit is just amazing to see. And it's good to have an exhibition where you can see it in a glass case a few feet from your face...

David Heyman: Yep.

Eric: see that detail because that is that it the environment in which a lot of these pieces deserve to be seen.

David Heyman: Thank you.

Eric: So...

David Heyman: I think the level of work done by the people here is just - again, there's much more detail than there needs to be and Warner Bros. have been generous enough to allow us to do that. But I think it also contributes to making the films feel as majestic and as rich as they are. I'll tell you what one of my favorite costumes, which I'm not sure you've seen yet, I don't think they've been in any publicity source, is Fleur Delacour's wedding dress.

Eric: Oh! I haven't seen...

David Heyman: [makes a long sighing noise] Wow. I mean, she is lovely but the dress is...

[Eric and Micah laugh]

David Heyman: just as lovely as she is.

Eric: So, I recently went to the theme park which has not...

David Heyman: Oh, you did?! When did you go? Did you go last - when?

Eric: No, I was there in the end of April, I think. No, the end of March. I'm sorry. So it was a couple of months ago but we heard that you were possibly there as well during that time.

David Heyman: I've been there three - a couple of times. Universal has been very inclusive. One, they wanted to get the film look and two, especially with the main ride, they wanted to get - because we work a lot with the special effects - they wanted...

Eric: Well they...

David Heyman: I'm a bit of a - actually they wanted - I probably gave them more notes than they wanted.

[Eric laughs]

David Heyman: I'm a bit of a pain in the derriere about this.

[Micah laughs]

David Heyman: I can't let it go. Even if it's a theme park...

Eric: Yeah.

David Heyman: ...I can't let it go! I think it's incredible what they've done.

Eric: Yeah, they took us through Hogwarts and it looks great.

David Heyman: It's incredible, isn't it?

Eric: Yeah. It absolutely is.

David Heyman: I don't know if you've seen it with - when you can see Ron and Hermione there and they project them...

Eric: Yes.

David Heyman: ...but it looks like they are really there.

Eric: It's unbelievable, the new technology they developed there. They also talked to us - I did want to ask you about the Three Broomsticks, because they talked to us about that being in sort of conjunction with the Three Broomsticks that was going to be used in the film...

David Heyman: Absolutely...

Eric: ...for Deathly Hallows because the set had not been created before, I guess, or...

David Heyman: Well, the set had been drawn but not completed and I think that there was a good dialogue - an interesting dialogue between Stewart, and just yeah, absolutely, there was a conversation which was had. It wasn't as we designed our set around the theme park...

Eric: Right.

David Heyman: ...and they design theirs around ours but, yes, there was a dialogue between the two. They were going on simultaneously.

Eric: Unbelievable.

Micah: Wow.

David Heyman: Yeah. Mind you, the Hog's Head is a bit - it's an amazing space at the theme park. It's much bigger than our set because there will be more people in it than there were making the film, but it's fantastic, I think people will really enjoy going there for refreshments...

Micah: Well...

David Heyman: ...and Butterbeer!

Eric: Yeah!

David Heyman: They've got Butterbeer. Which is amazing. I have to confess, it's a little sweeter than my palette can stomach...

Eric: Ooh!

David Heyman: ...but everybody loved it. Jo loved it - I mean, from what I hear, Jo really loved it. Everybody really dug it. But maybe it's just my judge of too much sugar.

[Eric and Micah laugh]

David Heyman: They've been really interesting, they've made an effort to - there is not Coke, there is no branded - I don't think there are branded soft drinks. They've been truly trying to be conscious of health and all that within it, but that was something that I think Jo stipulated. But the Butterbeer is incredible. The white froth on top is [laughs] amazing.

[Eric and Micah laugh]

David Heyman: It is kind of mad that you work on these films and you make your own Butterbeer, and the next thing you know - and Jo wrote these books - and here we are having Butterbeer...

Eric: Uh huh.

David Heyman: the theme park.

Micah: Wow. Well, I guess I wanted to ask you a little bit about Deathly Hallows and whatever you are allowed to...

David Heyman: Yeah, that's fine.

Micah: ...or whatever you feel free to talk about. But I know you guys have about a month of filming left...

David Heyman: Yeah.

Micah: Now at this point, have you guys decided where the film is going to be split...

David Heyman: Yes.

Micah: ...or is that still going to be...

David Heyman: Yes, we have. Actually it's funny, the script was written with an end in mind and the first draft was written with one ending, and then as we developed it, it went to another ending, and then we reverted it almost in part to the original ending, because we felt that it allowed us a more emotional conclusion. And felt like it was more complete, as it were.

Eric: Hmm.

David Heyman: But we've added this other scene which I think is really amazing and I can't tell you where it is, I'm sorry, but I do feel that it will be incredibly dramatic, very moving, and will make people want to watch the next film.

Eric: Can you confirm that it won't be in the middle of Ron and Hermione's kiss, that they'll go in for it and then the film will end?

David Heyman: I can confirm one hundred percent that that's not the case.

[Everyone laughs]

David Heyman: It is funny how the gossip now just...

[Micah laughs]

David Heyman: ...takes something and - I don't know if that - I haven't heard that....

Eric: No, no, that was just me.

David Heyman: ...oh.

Eric: I just created that, but that's...

David Heyman: It could be - if I had not answered that question, it would have been on the gossip column.

Eric: I'm terribly sorry to put you in that position.

[Micah laughs]

David Heyman: No, no, no, no, no, I'm very happy to answer that one, it won't be in the middle of it. If it was their kiss, there would be very little left.

[Micah laughs]

Eric: Oh, that's true. I'm sorry, I forgot where that was chronologically. I thought that was when Ron returned. But that's...

David Heyman: But yeah, anyway.

Eric: Sorry, my bad!

Micah: So with that type of decision, obviously you play a huge part in that. Is that you and David Yates and other people that are involved in deciding this stuff?

David Heyman: It's Steve Kloves and David Yates, myself, and David Barron is around too. So that's the group.

Micah: Mhm.

David Heyman: Steve writes, we look at it and discuss it. Sometimes it's easier when it's presented to you in a script, though funnily enough when you've seen a cut - I've already seen Part I three times. Two times? Three times, in the most rough forms from shooting and things become clear when you read it in the script, things become clearer when you see the cut version of the film. So it became clear when we looked at the first cut, that the ending wasn't quite what we wanted, or we felt it could be better and I think we've ended up in a much, much, much better place.

Micah: Nice. Now, what do you think is the stand out scene, without too much specifics? What was the scene that you had the most fun filming in this final bit?

David Heyman: Well, I can give you a couple of good scenes. We had a lot of fun filming the seven Harrys scene where they drink the Polyjuice Potion and they all become Harry. Just Dan having to perform like all the others was very fun...

[Eric and Micah laugh]

David Heyman: ...but I think very challenging for him, but really great. And I think the final battle is going to be fantastic. But I also like - one of my favorite scenes so far, is the scene where Ron leaves because I think it's really moving. For all the spectacle - obviously the battle at Hogwarts is going to be spectacular and all that - but what I love the most in the Potter films are the characters. All the spectacles, all the action and magic. I really love Harry, Ron, Hermione, Neville, Luna. Just the relationships between the various characters. And so that scene when Ron leaves. And also we have a little moment, which I kind of can't elaborate on except to say that Hermione and Harry are alone, missing him, are some of my favorite scenes that we've shot in ten years.

Eric: Excellent. Okay, well just two short bits here. We do have a segment on our podcast called The Dueling Club which is where we basically choose a character in our heads, and then we state the characters and we face them off against each other, arguing in favor of the character we chose, who would in a duel. Would you think that would be something you'd be interested in playing?

David Heyman: My goodness, I'm going to be - who will I be playing?

Eric: You'd be playing against Micah, and you can choose whatever character from the Harry Potter books that you could possibly think of.

David Heyman: Okay.

Eric: Okay? Do you have your character?

David Heyman: Yes.

Eric: Okay, Micah, do you have your character?

Micah: Yes.

Eric: Okay, which one...

David Heyman: You go first, just to give me a hand, what I'm meant to do. [laughs]

Micah: [laughs] I guess I'll go with Bellatrix.

David Heyman: Ah, excellent! I'll go with Snape.

Micah: Wow.

Eric: Ooh! This is good. All right gentlemen. Since, Micah, you presented first, what is your argument in favor of Bellatrix beating Snape?

Micah: Well, I think...

David Heyman: [laughs] Wait, do you want to accept defeat now?

Micah: Yeah, exactly!

[David and Micah laugh]

Micah: I don't even know that that's even a fair fight. I know she's a very powerful Death Eater, kind of Voldemort's right hand woman, but I don't know that she would stand up very well in a duel against Snape. I think he's too powerful. I think...

David Heyman: I think Snape is really under - I think the power of Snape - I think we both agree that Snape would win.

Eric: Yes.

Micah: Absolutely.

David Heyman: But I think that - but I didn't think about this because you chose Bellatrix. I think thats it. I think Snape is very underrated, one, he has the ability to deceive terrifically because he deceived the Dark Lord for an extended period of time. He also had wanted to be the Professor of the Dark Arts forever so you know he is well versed in all the Dark Arts and the defense of as well ñ defense against, And also he's not too bad at potions either. So he's a quite well rounded wizard...

Eric: Yes.

David Heyman: many ways. I think he does have Achilles heels. And maybe if Bellatrix knew about Lilly then maybe a vulnerability there in some form or other. So that she was in many ways his greatest strength. The fact that he was able to love which of course is the thing that Voldemort is not able to. Bellatrix is, because I suspect she's in love with Voldemort.

Eric: Yeah.

Micah: She's a bit of a head case though. I think Snape is probably - he keeps his mind about him no matter what. So I think that gives him the upper hand right off the bat probably.

David Heyman: You're very right. He's very much in control, and he isn't.

Eric: Yeah, so Micah you lose. [laughs]

David Heyman: Sorry Micah.

Eric: No thank you for playing too. And so finally that's all of our questions really so thank you so much!

David Heyman: Thank you and thank you for all your support. It's fun. This is a really nice forum.

Eric: Good luck wrapping everything up.

David Heyman: Thank you so much. Take care.

Micah: Bye.

Eric: Bye.

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October 8, 2014

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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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