Transcribed by Ryan McCormick
Alexandra Maher: Firstly, congratulations on your upcoming wedding. And happy birthday! Thank you for coming to Australia for us. How are you enjoying being in Australia so far?
Chris Rankin: It’s great! It’s always really nice to get down here. There’s such a long way to come from the UK and, being from New Zealand originally, any excuse to get this far is a good one. It’s also nice because at this time of year it’s miserable and horrible and cold at home. We can get at least get a bit of extra summer time.
Alfred Enoch: That was one of the things that certainly appealed to me. Also, I’ve never been down here. Chris is a pro in this part of the world, but I’ve never visited. I was looking forward to coming to see what it is like; and equally, the thought that it would be summer when we’ve just started getting drizzly, miserable, cold darkness. It’s been lovely so far. It’s been nice, apart from yesterday’s rain. Can’t have it all.
Alexandra: How are you enjoying Super Nova?
Chris: It’s really good, actually. You never quite know what to expect. I’ve done Super Nova before. I did it in Melbourne about six years ago. Everywhere you do a convention [it] is always different because it’s always a different set of people. So you never quite know what to expect, but it’s been cool. Everyone’s been nice and friendly, and we got chocolate brownies yesterday.
Alfred: Yes, we did!
Chris: We got all sorts of things. It’s great. Everyone’s lovely.
Alfred: It’s been nice in that respect because everyone has felt sociable and friendly which is quite nice when you [go] to conventions and people are happy to talk and excited, but communicative. Everyone’s been surprisingly at ease and makes you feel at ease too. It’s been a bit of an English stereotype with Australian people. They are very friendly, comfortable…
Alfred: …and easygoing, yeah… That’s how I found it.
Alexandra: It’s good to hear!
Alfred: It’s pretty fun!
Alexandra: Do either of you have any plans to attend any more fan conventions within the next year or so?
Chris: Probably. I know there is one I am talking about doing in July. [It is] in Alaska of all places, on a boat.
Alfred: To get there? [unintilligible] That sounds cool.
Chris: Other than that, I don’t know yet. I think it’s unwise to do too many at the same time. We’ll see what comes in. I like doing them; they are good fun.
Alfred: They are a lot of fun. I don’t have any plans to do them, but that is not through any unwillingness, I just don’t know of any at the moment. It depends on what happens and what I am doing back in the UK, and if I have the time. I enjoy doing them, so if the opportunity comes up I’m usually game.
Alexandra: Have you seen any films recently - such as The Woman in Black, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, or Gambit - that had any of the other Harry Potter actors in them, and what were your thoughts?
Alfred: [laughs] I can see Chris’s frown, no frowning.
Chris: No, I have not seen them yet. I do want to see The Woman in Black because I am a big fan of the stage version and I’m interested to see how it is adapted to film. I can’t see how it’s worked, but I’ve heard good things.
Alfred: That was for The Woman in Black?
Chris: Yes, [The] Woman in Black. I have not seen the others.
Alfred: I’m very dreadful. I’m really keen to go and see, for example, [The] Woman in Black. I was going to go and see it and I just didn’t, which was a bit rubbish. I equally wanted to get over to broadway to see the new show that Dan was doing there. The musical is based on the songs of Tom Lehrer. It sounded like a lot of fun, but again, I didn’t manage that [either]. It’s obviously a big organizational feat to get over to New York to see a musical. I think that was maybe a bit beyond me at the time, because of quite a busy year. I did see My Week With Marilyn; I thought that was cool for Emma to get that. That was a cool part for her and it was a very fun movie. It dealt with a relatively serious issue and difficulties of being this figure that becomes almost public property. It was quite interesting to case Emma as someone who's on the other side of that. [It] was quite interesting and on a similar theme. I [also]saw that music video that Rupert did.
Chris: Oh, that was brilliant!
Alfred: That was so, so funny, I was like, “That’s so witty, so cleverly done.”
Chris: Have you seen the one that Dan’s done? I can’t remember who it’s for. It’s really good! I can’t remember who it is. You could probably tell me. Can you tell me?
Alexandra: I don’t know. [laughs]
Chris: No? It’s really good though. Really good.
Alexandra: I’ll definitely look that up though.
Chris: Because it is not him singing it, but it is him miming all the way through, and they do it in one very long, continuous take all the way through. It’s incredible!
Alfred: Did Dan do one like that? It was just like the one that Rupert did. It’s pretty much a continuous take and you think he’s replaced the lead singer, and then it turns out, no…
Chris: That one is a bit different, but it is all one take and quite clever.
Alexandra: Have you heard of the MuggleNet podcasts, MuggleNet Academia and Alohomora!?
Chris: I can’t say that I have. I did a MuggleNet podcast many years ago, but those ones are new to me.
Alexandra: They are very new, they were just started this year.
Chris: Oh, well there you go!
Alfred: So what are they?
Alexandra: On MuggleNet Academia, they discuss the academic side of Harry Potter. They have done lessons on the law behind the Harry Potter series, on characters, [and on] the psychology. They really discuss it quite in depth.
Alfred: As in law in terms of…
Alexandra: How the law in Harry Potter relates to real-world…
Alfred: Oh right, okay. That sounds quite fun!
Chris: That is the stuff I enjoy!
Alexandra: And then, Alohomora! is re-reading the Harry Potter series, which leads me to my next question. In the early chapters of [Harry Potter and the] Philosopher’s Stone when Harry has his first transfiguration class, McGonagal goes to her desk and turns it into a pig, and then back into a desk again. On the podcast, they discuss the implications of if the desk had remained the pig and you were to eat it, would you be eating a desk or would you be eating a pig? Alohomora! would like your opinion on whether or not you would eat the desk pig as it’s come to affectionately be known.
Alfred: The desk pig? I’d eat the desk pig.
Chris: We’ve been talking about shredding his cat quite a lot.
Alfred: Is it a pig or a desk? Is it both a pig and a desk at the same time? [laughs] I’d eat the desk. The whole transfiguration turns one thing into another. It’s no longer a desk, it is now a pig. Presumably, you could then turn into something else and that would be that. There is no compulsion to turn it back into the desk as opposed to the natural order of things.
Chris: Would it taste any good though?
Alexandra: That’s the question! [laughs]
Alfred: Surely it would taste like a pig!
Chris: Would it?
Alfred: Well, maybe it’s a totally superficial transformation? There is something table-like about it.
Chris: I don’t know. It’s not something I’ve thought about, to be honest.
Alfred: I imagined that it would taste like the taste of bacon.
Chris: Yeah, I’d eat it. In short terms: Yes.
Alfred: If nothing else you’d have a unique eating experience.
Chris: Table pig?
Alfred: Table pig.
Chris: Desk pig?
Alexandra: Well, the listeners of Alohomora! will be very happy to hear your answers on that one.
Chris: Okay. At least we agreed!
Alexandra: If J.K. Rowling were to release more background information on your particular characters, what would you hope that it would contain?
Chris: I would like to know who the hell this Audrey woman is that Percy marries - apparently marries - which never happens in the books. But everyone seems to know that Percy married some woman called Audrey. Who is she? And what happened to Penelope Clearwater? [laughs]
Alfred: You fixated about that…
Chris: That’s twice she’s come up this weekend. I think what you get in the books is pretty much all there is to Percy. He’s figured [out]. But J.K. Rowling has said before that Dean has got this very interesting backstory, and then she’s done that thing that she always does. She’s gone, “Oh, I’m going to give you a little bit of information,” and then she will never say it again.
Alfred: Well, it will be interesting to see what happens in terms of this whole backstory and how it goes through that, if he ever finds his Dad and what happens with that? Is it someone known in the books or not?
Alexandra: I think that is what a lot of us fans really want to know, too. So it will be interesting if that one ever comes out. Just as a final question, are there any charities that you would like to plug in, and do you have any upcoming projects?
Alexandra: That you can talk about?
Alfred: That I could talk about? There is someone in the room who could talk very extensively about one of the charities I’d like to plug. It’s called Babati Link Schools and the idea is that it [laughs] - let me put this concisely and correctly - develops links between schools in England and Tanzania. Specifically in a place called Babati and a place called [unintelligible]. The idea came out of a school trip that [my] school used to do where they used to take kids over to Babati. They would get to Tanzania and help out around the school and get to know the kids at the school. It’s quite an educational trip from their point of view. And the other side of it is that teachers from the school in Babati then come over to Birmingham and get a teacher training. Because of the education system and the way it works out there, that was quite a useful service they were offering. And the idea of that charity in schools is to expound that so it gets done on a bigger scale. It’s not just one school, it is several schools taking kids over to several schools in Babati, and several teachers getting to go over to the UK to do teacher training, and enabling the people who have had that experience and been over in Tanzania to stay in touch and help out. So if they want to go out to Babati again [they could], because people who have done it have all felt very passionately about the place and wanted to go back. It is creating an infrastructure for people who have been on the trip - the alumni - to go out there and keep helping out, donating money, and so on and so forth.
Alexandra: That sounds really good.
Alfred: It is a great cause and [great] people. I’ve never had the opportunity to be out there.