LeakyCon Denver 2022: Mile-High Fandom Fun
by Hope Forgey
From October 14 to 16, Denver, Colorado, played host for the first time ever to a much overdue LeakyCon. Thwarted by COVID-19, some attendees had held tickets to this coveted event since 2019. The energy and excitement were palpable at the Crowne Plaza Denver Airport Convention Center.
One of the true highlights of attending was witnessing the fantastic cosplays. One of the standouts was Rita Skeeter, who was entertaining visitors in the marketplace with a whimsical shop called Mud in My Blood.
Stepping through the main doors, this Dumbledore cosplayer wowed the crowd and had many children approaching him to get a closer look.
These young witches came dressed to impress in their robes with wands at the ready!
Finally, these real-life twins knocked our socks off with their Weasley look.
In fact, they stopped to chat with us and upon seeing our MuggleNet press passes, absolutely gushed about how they have been fans of MuggleNet since the very beginning. Julia and Laura Brennan share more than just their appearance. They both regaled us with stories of following MuggleNet since the early 2000s. “It was, absolutely hands down, the only website we checked on a daily basis in middle and high school,” Laura said. “From the fan fiction to the pictures to the news updates… Honestly, it was everything to us and still is,” Julia explained. It was such fun to talk to these two.
Beyond the marketplace, some wonderful panels and presentations were happening. LeakyCon Denver included appearances by Stanislav Yanevski (Victor Krum), Tolga Safer (Karkaroff’s aide), Sean Biggerstaff (Oliver Wood), Luke Youngblood (Lee Jordan), and Chris Rankin (Percy Weasley).
There were so many terrific panels, but the standout one that really drew an impressive crowd on Saturday afternoon was called Our Power Hour: The Potter Actor Mega Panel. All the actors mentioned above shared the stage for a discussion moderated by Melissa Anelli, the CEO of Mischief Management, which produces LeakyCon.
Tolga shared that this was his first LeakyCon experience. He remarked, “What struck me is that this really feels like family. It’s an amazing experience to be surrounded by everyone who is so welcoming.” When the rest of the panel was asked what advice they might offer Tolga as a first-timer, Luke suggested, “Don’t drink the Polyjuice Potion!”
Melissa asked Luke Youngblood to tell the story of how he landed the part of Lee Jordan, and it was quite entertaining.
I was just wrapping up The Lion King in the West End and one of my castmates was reading these books. I had absolutely no idea what they were, but she told me it was about a boy who was a wizard that didn’t know he was a wizard, and I told her that was completely insane. Wouldn’t you know it, my agent reached out shortly after saying I had an audition for this thing called Harry Potter.
In his audition, he had been sent 12 pages of what was essentially a monologue. Luke said that the first four pages were no problem, but his mind went blank after that. The rest of his audition was Quidditch commentary that was completely made up!
When asked about his audition experience, Sean Biggerstaff shared, “Well, I first wanted to audition for the part of Percy, but they told me I was too handsome.” (That one got quite the reaction from the crowd.) He also shared that he loved that Oliver Wood is only Scottish in the movie because he is.
Chris Rankin also had an amusing story about his audition experience. It turned out that Chris Columbus also made Rankin improvise in his audition. Without warning, Columbus prompted Rankin for the password in the scene where Percy leads the first years to the Gryffindor common room. When Rankin recited “Caput Draconis,” Columbus replied, “No, the password changed.” And that, Rankin said, “is when I learned that adrenaline is brown.” Avoiding panic, Rankin was able to come up with a retort: “Well, Dumbledore would’ve told me if the password had changed.” He explained that Percy must have just embodied him that day, and within a week, he was on set filming.
From start to finish, LeakyCon Denver really delivered a magical experience for attendees. The energy inside this convention was buzzing with excitement and enthusiasm.