BBC Radio Jersey Interviews Julie Tottman About Training Animals Seen in “Potter” Films
Host Murray Norton from BBC Radio Jersey was lucky enough to interview Julie Tottman, trainer of the animals seen in the Harry Potter films. They discuss how long the training process is for specific animals, outtakes, and even the Leavesden Studio Tour in London. Here is an excerpt from the interview in which Tottman answers questions about Hagrid’s dog, Fang, and how the actors respond to the animals.
Norton: Now, listen, because obviously outtakes are the things that we love the most. You’ve probably got a collection of them by now. If they’ve let you have them. But in terms of things that did go slightly awry can you tell us some stories of those?
Tottman: Uh, probably the biggest problem we had was Fang, the dog. If you remember his big jaw, so he would slobber as soon as I got my piece of chicken out to give him a treat, he’d slobber, and quite often he’d shake and the slobber would end up either on the clothes or, if people were talking, in their mouth which was quite off-putting quite often (laughs).
Norton: How were the actors with some of the animals because some of the animals are delightful and, you know, Fang obviously is a delightful animal? It was made to look bigger than he was. But there are some of the other animals that are a little bit horrible. Slimy.
Tottman: (laughs) All the actors were absolutely fantastic on this. We were very, very lucky. They seemed to cast it really, really well. Everyone was very tolerant, very patient, and we spent a lot of time with them before filming, so they knew the animals so well over the years. So, they were great.
The idea of training animals for movies isn’t something that viewers often give much thought to. It’s always nice to hear more about what goes on behind the scenes for the Potter films. What are some of your favorite animals from the films? Share in the comments!