Phelps Twins at Supanova Sydney
Transcribed by Selina Dhanani, Felicia Grady, Katie Kerekes, Erica Lee, Celia Ludwinski, and Charee Savedra
Audience Member: Hello.
James and Oliver Phelps: Hello.
Audience Member: I wanted to ask, what have you learned about yourselves personally through the process of playing Fred and George?
James: Quite a lot, to be honest with you. When I was 14, when we first got the roles, I was very shy. This kind of thing would scare the living hell out of me. But playing characters with such charisma and everything, you kind of have to do it, and then it becomes part of you, so that affected my life. I also learned to appreciate having your roots done…
James: … which is something which I never thought I would, but… so there’s that, and then anything else?
Oliver: Eyebrows being dyed. Other than that… and also, I think, just an understanding of traveling the world, which has been wicked. It’s one of the best things we’ve been able to do with these films, is to travel and to meet people like all you guys, and I just see how far-spread the world of Harry Potter goes. It’s really special.
Audience Member: Hi. I’m sure you both know that you’re both very gorgeous.
Audience Member: On that note, what’s the most…?
Audience Member: What’s the craziest fan girl experience you guys have encountered?
Oliver: [laughs] A couple of years ago, we were in Newcastle in England – northern England – and we were walking down by the riverside with Sean Biggerstaff, who plays Oliver Wood. So we were walking down, and then these three Geordie girls – these girls from Newcastle – recognized us and started running after us. So we kind of – “Ahh!” – ran the other way.
Oliver: And then it came to that awkward moment where we couldn’t be bothered to run anymore, they got to us, and then it’s kind of a [pauses] “Hi.”
Oliver: So that was a bit strange.
Audience Member: Hey, g’day. I’m a really big fan of your work. So yeah, it’s really cool to see you. I have a question: You’ve probably been asked this a lot, but do you guys really talk in sync off set? Do you finish each other’s sentences and talk at the same time [like] you guys do in your movies?
James: Yeah, a little bit.
James: Actually, how that happened in the films is we met with Alfonso [Cuarón], the director of the third film, and he was coming up with ideas, and as we were talking to him, he noticed that we were doing that, and you could see this light bulb go off right above his head. He’s like, “Oh! Okay, I got it.” And then, yeah, so when we got the next script version through, Fred and George were doing just that. So I suppose it kind of happened naturally.
Audience Member: Hi. What’s your favorite memory on set?
Audience Member: Of Harry Potter?
James: There are so many, to be honest with you. We'[ve been] filming these movies for over ten years, so quite a few. One that really stands out in my memory would be the Yule Ball in the fourth movie because first of all, we had to learn how to ballroom dance, which wasn’t on my list of priorities at 18 years old, but it was fun to do, and then after that, they decided they’ll throw in a mosh pit and a lot of headbanging, so that was cool. It was just a fun couple of weeks. Right before Christmas as well, so with a nice, snowy, icy set. That was really cool.
Oliver: Yeah, that whole scene was wicked. I don’t think it made it in the film, but we actually did one segment where Warwick Davis was crowd surfing…
Oliver: … over everyone in the Great Hall. So bits like that really stand out.Mo
Audience Member: Hi. Even though you didn’t share a lot of scenes with the late Richard Harris or [Dame[ Maggie Smith or Alan Rickman, what were they like to work with?
Oliver: They were… Yeah, as you said, we didn’t spend too many scenes with them, but I can remember chatting with Alan Rickman when he was in the makeup chair next to us. Which is pretty cool to just ask these people [for] advice on certain scenes you’re doing and stuff. Or even talking about how to set an iPod up.
Oliver: So we exchanged info. Yeah, it was pretty special, and certainly now, when I look back and think of the careers – what those guys have had – and the experiences that they’ve been able to share with us has been… Money can’t buy stuff like that, and it’s certainly a good life lesson to listen to those people.
Audience Member: What was it like acting with [Dan], [Rupert], and [Emma]?
James: It was cool. Dan, Rupert, and Emma, and Tom [Felton], Matt [Lewis], Devon [Murray], Alfie [Enoch]… They’re all our mates. It’s really weird because if you imagine, we were all friends before the first movie came out because we were working together. So to us, they’re just our friends, and we still keep in contact with a hell of a lot of them now. So they’re just our good friends, and we’re very lucky to have them.
Audience Member: Hi. I just wanted to know, if you guys weren’t twins and you got the chance to play any character in any of the movies, out of the hundreds that there are, which one would you have loved to have played?
James: I was going to say George, but if I’m not a twin…
Oliver: Was that in any film? Or Potter film?
Moderator: Any Potter film.
James: I don’t know. I know he wasn’t in the films, but Peeves would have been pretty cool.
Oliver: I think maybe to do the voice of Kreacher would be quite good because he’s kind of a lot like me early in the morning.
James: I can vouch for that.
Audience Member: Hey, boys. If you were able to travel by Floo Powder for real, where would you like to go?
James: Well, Sydney, after that 24-hour flight here.
James: That would be the first one. I don’t know; all over the place. If you could travel as quick as that, I would be… I love traveling, but I hate the traveling side of it. So yeah, I would probably go all over. Probably the World Cup next year. Congratulations to the Socceroos.
Audience Member: Hi. One of you did the AD or runner role in I think the fifth movie. What was it like being commanded around?
James: It’s horrible. [laughs] It was cool. For those of you who don’t know, on the sixth movie, we were signed up, obviously, for the whole shoot. But we were only actually down for about three or four weeks of filming. So I decided that I wanted to try my hand on the other side of the camera in the assistant director’s department. The first thing I learned was, [it is] a 5 a.m. in the morning and at 9 p.m. at night, and I learned more about the film industry in the first week of doing that than I had the previous six years of being an actor. But it was really good. I understood what different departments did, what different jobs were, and it was something [that] I… if you ever get the chance to work on a film crew, I definitely recommend it because everyone thinks it’s all like the premieres and everything, but it’s really not. It’s a lot of early mornings and late finishes. But it’s a really cool industry to be in.
Audience Member: Hi, guys. This is a question for Oliver: I was just wondering what it was like to have to play out your brother’s death.
Oliver: It was a right laugh.
Oliver: No, it was interesting. It wasn’t quite as… I mean, we did probably about six takes on it. But I can remember beforehand, I was chatting with Julie Walters about it, and I said, “How would you go about that? Making yourself tearful and everything?” And she said to me that if you get yourself into that zone before you go on set, and then even if you walk into set, when people try to talk to you, almost look blankly so you are in that zone. You can always apologize later. And just doing it, it was surreal in one way because, first of all, I thought it would be a closed set, meaning there would only be the Weasley family there and the director. Wrong. It was the Great Hall, and there was about as many people as you in a room about this size, watching me cry like a little girl.
Oliver: Which was all right. But apart from that, it wasn’t as bad as I… People will send me photos online, on Twitter, and there’s a lot of wording on it which says, “When Oliver and James filmed Fred’s death scene, they cried and they hugged each other at the end and said I love you.”
Oliver: No, we didn’t really do that. In fact, James went to sleep, and I left him on the floor because I went to lunch.
Oliver: But it was an interesting scene because it was a very final “that’s it” for these as a double act, as it were. It was different to a lot of the days we had on Potter.
Audience Member: Hi. Thank you so much for coming to Australia. I was wondering if you are familiar with A Very Potter Musical and if the other cast has any comments or whatever.
James: Yeah, we saw it last time we were in Australia, actually. Which was… Yeah, it was cool. It was cool. It was fun to see that what we’ve been able to portray is being portrayed in other ways as well.
Audience Member: I wanted to ask, after the movies were finished, did it feel weird to see yourself in the mirror and not see you with ginger hair?
James: [laughs] Nah.
Oliver: To be honest, in between the sixth and seventh film, we actually dyed our hair back to brown as well. But it kind of became normality whenever we put the hair on, really. The dye went on and everything like that. And it kind of just became… It wasn’t too… I mean, when we first had it dyed off, yeah. Oh, God, how dark is our hair? And I did miss it for a while. But I didn’t miss, as James said, every six weeks, getting it touched up.
Audience Member: First of all, you are the most awesomest twins ever. And I was wondering, who[m] do you think the more attractive twin is?
Oliver: I don’t know.
Moderator: I’d just like to point out that that’s a question to twins, from twins. Ladies and gentlemen…
Oliver: Okay, reverse question.
Oliver: Which… Okay, there you go. Fair enough.
Audience Member: How do you feel being the younger twin?
James: I feel a lot more youthful being the younger twin.
James: Less wrinkly, more hair. [laughs] To be honest with you, it doesn’t really mean anything, does it?
Oliver: Well, no. I mean, my back is playing up these days.
Audience Member: Hi. Do you guys ever get the cast back together and hang out and play backyard Quidditch?
James: No, but that could be something cool to do. We’ve all seen different members of the cast at different stages, but obviously, because everyone is all over the world doing different things, it’s quite hard for us all to be in the same room at the same time. But we still meet up every so often. Like, we played golf with Rupert last week. We play on the same cricket team as Alfie Enoch. So yeah, we still hang out.
Audience Member: Hi. If you actually had to go to Hogwarts, what House would you be in and would you be in the same House together?
Oliver: Well, we’ve actually been Sorted. Yeah. And they Sorted me into Gryffindor, and James made it into Hufflepuff.
Oliver: So they split us up.
Audience Member: Hi, guys. Just wondering, what are you guys doing nowadays and are you working on any films together?
James: Actually, at the start of the year, I did my first-ever stage show. I didn’t even do stage show at school, so my first of one I was cast as the lead, and I had three weeks to learn 41 monologues for a really random show, which was about a lad who wanted to become Woody Allen.
James: So yeah, that was fantastic. I had to learn this whole New York accent and all that kind of stuff. But it went really well, and subsequently from that, I’ve been asked to do another show. So hopefully at the end of the year, if I could do that. Oliver and I have also been approached to do a movie in the fall, in autumn. So our autumn, not your autumn. Your spring, I guess. So yeah, we’re still keeping busy.
Audience Member: Hi there. I was just wondering if you have a favorite book or a favorite scene from the books.
Oliver: I think my favorite scene from the books, they didn’t actually make it in the film, which I was a bit gutted about. But it was the whole swamp scene in Goblet of Fire, so I was really like, “That’s going to be awesome!” But yeah, unfortunately, it didn’t make it. But in the books, that was one of my favorite bits.
Audience Member: Hi! Did you guys always make sure that you stuck to George or Fred or did you sneak around on set and swap your characters?
James: I’d say for 99.9 percent of the time, we were always the same character. One rehearsal on the second movie in the long Great Hall scene, we switched from side to side of the table. And we told this in an interview once, and from that, we’ve heard stories of how we were caught and they had to reshoot the whole movie. And this reporter was asking us this and was like, “Is this true?” No. No, it’s not.
James: But it’s on Wikipedia; it’s got to be true.
Audience Member: Hi. I was just wondering what your favorite scene to film was.
James: I’d say either the Yule Ball, which I said earlier, that one, or I think the joke shop because that was… You walk onto a set, and when the whole thing has been purposely built for your characters, it’s pretty cool. And the whole building side was wicked because they flew in a guy from Paris to make these tailored suits, so there was a bit of improv with that to make it all very much showmanship style. And that whole scene was wicked to film because there was that much attention to detail of everything inside of it. It was really, really cool. I don’t know if anyone here went to the Exhibition, what was at the Powerhouse down the road.
James: Which was really good. There was actually some stuff from the joke shop in there, and you would have seen the detail that went into all the props and everything.
Audience Member: Hi. I was just wondering, what was it like on the making of Harry Potter?
James: It was fun.
James: That’s the only way I can describe it. It honestly didn’t feel like work. You go into a shoot every day to hang out with some friends, film a scene every day. And everyone around the world seem to enjoy it, so we’re very, very lucky.
Audience Member: Hi. In the future, would you guys consider doing movies separately where it doesn’t involve twins or anything like that?
Oliver: Yeah, definitely. We’re actually standing quite far apart now, so it’s like a head up.
Audience Member: Hi. I was wondering, what’s the best prank you guys have pulled off as twins and what do you think the best prank for twins should be?
James: We don’t really do that many pranks on the twin thing, really. The best one we did… Is there one we can say?
Oliver: No, we probably shouldn’t tell the best ones we’ve done because they’re probably not…
James and Oliver: … friendly.
James: We did… I know there was… Well, kind of going on the twin thing, there was a lady who worked on the first four movies, Fiona, and she could tell the difference between us, and she told my dad on the fourth movie – so this was five or six years into making these films – “Yeah, I know how to tell them apart because James told me in the first movie that he’s got a mark on his nose where he was shot by a farmer for trespassing.”
James: Realistically, it was a chicken pox mark from when I was a baby. And my dad was like, “No?” I don’t think she’ll ever forgive me for that because that’s a long lie to carry on.
Audience Member: Hi, guys. My question was, you’ve worked on the Harry Potter films with lots of really great classic British actors. I was wondering, what’s the best piece of advice [that’s] been given to you?
Oliver: They all shoot in with bits and bobs whenever you wanted to ask them anything. I always remember when Michael Gambon would say, “Just enjoy it. If you’re into it and really enjoying it, then that will be portrayed and that will come out very well. Try and get into it.” And he actually gave… We were doing a reading with the Hallé Orchestra, weren’t we? And when James was on set, he asked him a bit of advice and…
James: So essentially, when we were doing the sixth movie, Michael was shooting – spoiler alert if you haven’t seen it – [laughs] the end of Dumbledore. So he was outside, and I was out there as well, and he said, “So what are you up to on the weekend then, James?” And I said how Oliver and I are reading Peter and the Wolf with this orchestra, never done it before, don’t really know what to do. He said, “Well, I’ve done that before. Come on, sit down, get the script out, and we’ll go through it.” So this is Michael filming a quiet moment in the film, and he was there sitting down with me, showing me how to read this script out loud in front of an orchestra and a theater. So that was pretty cool.
Oliver: While in the Dumbledore…
James: While in Dumbledore gear, yeah.
Audience Member: If you had a superpower, what would it be?
Oliver: Probably to Apparate. It would help me out a bit. Yours?
James: Super strength would be good.
Oliver: Yeah. Any reason?
Audience Member: Hey, guys. I think you’re awesome, but I have got a question for you – it’s a favor – would you be able to say happy birthday to Georgia Clark? She’s probably one of your biggest fans.
Oliver: Happy birthday, Georgia Clark.
Audience Member: Yes! Thank you so much.
Moderator: Is Georgia Clark here? Well, that was a waste of time, wasn’t it?
Audience Member: Hi. First, my friend couldn’t be here, so she’s going to kill me if I don’t say that Maddie loves you. And also, I saw an interview with you guys when you were in Prisoner of Azkaban. You said the weirdest gift you’ve ever gotten is a bra with potatoes in it. So what did you do with it? And has anything topped it since?
James: A couple of things. I think we just looked at it and went “hooray.”
James: Last year, someone sent us… We’ve got a fan mail address. This huge box came, and it was really heavy. [laughs] So we kind of picked it up, and I was like, “Oh, this is going to be good. This is a gift. Put it down. This is a TV.” I mean, this thing was huge and heavy. Open it up, and inside was bubble wrap. Unwrap the bubble wrap. And there’s a watermelon with a note saying, “Please sign the watermelon and send it back to this address.”
James: Half the watermelon went back; the other half of the watermelon stayed at home.
James: Yeah, that was pretty random.
Audience Member: If there was to be a gender-bent version of Harry Potter, who[m] would you want to play Fred and George?
One of the twins: I have no idea what that means. [laughs]
Audience Member: So if girls played all the guys and guys played all the girls. So if Fred and George were female characters, who[m] would you want to play them?
Oliver: I don’t know, really. I think I would quite like it to be an unheard-of like James and I were, I think.
Audience Member: Hello. This is a serious question: Do you put your sauce in the fridge or the cupboard?
James: I think that’s a private question, so I’ll keep it to myself.
Audience Member: I love your work. There’s a couple of favorite lines that I have. What is your favorite line that you’ve ever said in any of the movies?
James: “Mischief managed.”
Audience Member: Hello. I was just wondering, where is the best place you’ve traveled because of doing the movies, in the world?
Oliver: Probably the funnest trip we’ve ever had was when we came to Sydney. And I’m not just saying it because we’re here, but it was a ten-day-long… just kept going. And I think it was more of the guys who were here with us as well. We had a really good laugh doing it, and we did finish everything the city had to offer. And the response of everyone, what with coming out… It was at the Powerhouse Museum about 18 months ago. That’s certainly one of them. And it was one of the last ones. We did everything, from climbing the bridge climb to skydiving over Wollongong. So it was a cool, fun-filled trip.
Audience Member: Hi. I was just wondering, I read on the IMDb website that you are going to be in Hamlet. Is that true?
[Audience Member laughs]
Oliver: [laughs] Maybe. Yeah. We’re in late, advanced talks with that. So it should be quite interesting, something totally different. So yeah, hopefully it will all come good.
Audience Member: I was just wondering, when you were playing the twins on Harry Potter, did you have a crush on anyone?
Oliver: Not really, no. We were always a bit older. I mean, when the Beauxbatons [students] turned up, everything got a bit like, “Ooh, hello.”
Oliver: But no, nothing too much. No.
Audience Member: Hi, guys, again. I was just wondering, being famous and everything, have you guys got any stories of anyone [whom] you’ve met [whom] you’ve idolized [whom] you’ve just been starstruck and been like, “[gasps] Oh my God”?
James: Yeah, I actually met Slash from Guns N’ Roses.
James: [That] man has the hardest handshake. You’re literally just like, “Phew.” But yeah, that was pretty… [speaking nervously] “Hi. How are you?”
James: So it was pretty cool.
Oliver: Hmm. I’m trying… Yeah, that was a weird, fun night. We went to see a concert when they were in [unintelligible] Velvet Revolver. And after the show, they were like, “Do you guys want to come to the party with us?” And I was there with a couple of guys from the film. We were like, “Okay.”
Oliver: Don’t take my hand off.
Oliver: Yeah, that was an awesome night. And I think it’s meeting people you… music you’ve been listening to for years and years, and you get to hang out with them and chat with them about how they do things. It was pretty awesome.
Audience Member: Hi! Do you have the most embarrassing moment on set?
James: One for me would be on the fifth movie, and it’s the first time we’re actually given our wands. So I was doing the whole… You know [when] you’ve got a drumstick and you’re spinning it and all that kind of stuff? I must have [gone] through four wands.
James: Because it was in the Room of Requirement, and that had, like, a mesh floor, and it kept getting trapped in the floor and broken. So I kept going over to Gary the prop guy, like, “There you go. And there you go.”
James: And actually, in the last… and then I thought I’d become a bit more professional and not do that, until we were shooting… We did the stills for the poster for the last movie, where Fred and George go into battle mode kind of thing, and I actually broke that before we shot… I was doing it again, and it broke. So the actual wand, I’m only showing half of it because it’s only half in my hand.
[Audience and James laugh]
Audience Member: Hi.
Audience Member: I love you so much. Thank you for existing.
Audience Member: What’s your favorite band and do you like Nutella, and what’s your favorite color, and what are you allergic to?
James: Very good. [laughs] Okay. I’ve slightly got hay fever, so I guess that’s what I’m allergic to. Yes, I do like Nutella. My favorite band would either be Foo Fighters or the Verve or AC/DC.
Oliver: No real allergies. Nutella? Yeah, a little bit, but I prefer Marmite.
James: This is another thing [that] differentiates Oliver and [me]. He likes Marmite; I hate Marmite.
Oliver: We should really do an advertising campaign.
Oliver: And favorite band would be a band called Alter Bridge. You should definitely check them out.
Audience Member: Do you like Blink-182?
Oliver: Yes. I saw them last year; they are awesome.
James: They were good questions, though. Thank you.
Moderator: Ladies and gentlemen, thank you so much. I want you to put your hands together and thank these two exceptional young men.
[Audience applauds and cheers]
James: Thanks, guys.
James: Have a good weekend.
[Audience applauds and cheers]