Rupert Grint Dreaded Kissing Emma Watson, and 8 Other Harry Potter Revelations
Before it all ends on Friday with the release of The Deathly Hallows Part 2, the Harry Potter franchise had one last task to overcome. No, not finding another Horcrux; rather, surviving one more press conference. With the exception of Daniel Radcliffe (busy singing and dancing on Broadway), the main cast members and creative team behind the beloved series spent their Sunday at the Waldorf Astoria hotel in Manhattan answering questions from assembled journalists. Ahead, the nine best revelations.
*Warning: Some spoilers abound.
Even professionals call Rupert Grint by his wizarding name
Twice during the press conference attendees referred to Rupert Grint as "Ron." Thankfully, he didn't seem to mind the slips of the tongue all that much. "I've always felt this close connection to Ron, even before the films," he said. "After ten years, playing the same guy every day, you naturally just morph into him. We have become this kind of 'Ronpert' kind of thing. I think there will always be a bit of Ron in me for the rest of my life."
Emma Watson gets noticed everywhere
Being a main character in one of the biggest film franchises in history has its obvious pluses, but also some minuses. "It was when I was in a shanty town in Bangladesh, and a boy stopped me in the street and said, 'You're the girl from Harry Potter!'" Emma Watson said at the press conference, recalling the strangest place she's ever been recognized. "There's nowhere in the world that I can go -- almost, it feels -- that isn't somehow touched by this film franchise. It's absolutely amazing. It reaches the farthest corners of the Earth, the least expected places. So, that was a real -- I was like, 'Wow, I really can't go anywhere! Wonderful!'"
Watson is able to handle such scrutiny, however, because it has been there most of her life. "I feel fortunate in that I've never really known what it's like to have total freedom and anonymity. It's not as though I had it, and all of a sudden it got taken away from me. It's something I grew up knowing, and there's a process that happened gradually. I've never known anything else. In a way, I guess that's a blessing."
Though Ron really wanted to kiss Hermione, the same could not be said for Rupert Grint and Emma Watson
The big kiss between Ron and Hermione is handled with a deft touch in The Deathly Hallows, something made all the more impressive because of the reluctance of the two stars involved. "I've known Emma so long, we were dreading this scene," Rupert Grint said. "We wanted people to think that we actually wanted to kiss each other, because in reality we really didn't. It's a nice moment, hopefully people believe it."
Does Grint remember anything specific about the kiss? "I find it hard to recall anything about it, I think it has been erased from my mind."
Many young Harry Potter fans are scared of Tom Felton
While Rupert Grint and Emma Watson possess many of the same qualities as Ron and Hermione, star Tom Felton couldn't be more different from his character, the villainous Draco Malfoy. For starters, he's hella charming, especially when recalling how young fans would react to him during set visits over the years. "Naturally, no seven or unders wanted to have anything to do with me. Which was, at first, a little worrying. They always get very excited when they meet Daniel, Rupert and Emma, obviously, and then they suddenly hide behind their parents legs when it comes to me," he said during the press conference.
Not that he's totally blameless. "I probably lay it on too thick. I'm really ultra-friendly. 'Hi! Nice to see you guys!' They're like, 'Oh my God, this is weird.' I learned to take it as a compliment over the years, the fact that minors are pretty terrified of me."
Most minors. As Felton was leaving in the interview room, he was stopped by a young Harry Potter fan seeking an autograph. "Sorry, I can't do that," Felton said, before relenting with a laugh. "I'm kidding!"
Matthew Lewis's Deathly Hallows hero moment almost came with real-life casualties
One of the best moments in The Deathly Hallows happens when the much-maligned Neville Longbottom gets to prove his Hogwartsian worth by swinging the Sword of Gryffindor. "I nearly killed somebody with the sword," said Matthew Lewis, who enjoys beefed-up screen time in Deathly Hallows: Part 2 as Neville. "When you do that big swing in the film, the sword came off the hilt and just went about 30 feet in the air. I was just holding the hilt, looking terrified in the camera. It's a great outtake," he joked.
"It goes up, and obviously, it must come down, and it landed amongst a lot of children. The last place I want it to go: a lot of children." Fortunately, tragedy was averted. For the most part. "Amazingly, it missed everybody. I don't know how. I was very thankful. If you see [the sword] in the museum -- if it's going to be in the museum -- it's dented and bent. And that was because I did that."
Professor Dumbledore worked blue between takes
Not only did the child stars of Harry Potter grow up together during the eight films in the series, but they grew up around some of the biggest British actors from the last fifty years. As you can imagine, it was imposing. "In the early days -- they've always been lovely -- but in the early days it was very much the children and the adults," Matthew Lewis said about his well-respected co-stars. "As we got older, we realized we could speak to them and they wouldn't kill us. It was fun. I enjoyed the last year so much more, because I was chatting to Alan Rickman about scrambled eggs and really inane things, and it was someone at work, who was a lot of fun. [...] Michael Gambon tells filthy, filthy jokes. They're just people. As soon as you realize that, then you can start to have fun with them. They are good people, and I learned a tremendous amount from them all."
When it comes to Harry Potter directors, David Yates is probably glad he wasn't Alfonso Cuaron or Mike Newell
David Yates went from directing the British television series State of Play and the HBO film The Girl in the Cafe to Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. Then The Half-Blood Prince. And now, both parts of The Deathly Hallows. Quite a leap, and one that he's glad he saw through until the end. "I didn't want to be the director who had done the two in the middle," he said. "There was something about that that made me feel really uncomfortable. Order of the Phoenix and Half-Blood Prince Hallows Part 1 ended with commas, and I wanted a movie with a really big third act. That kind of finished and rounded everything off. So that's why I stayed."
Don't expect to see everything from the trailers in The Deathly Hallows Part 2
Trailers often feature alternate takes than what winds up in the finished film (see Bridesmaids), and The Deathly Hallows is no different. "There's a moment you probably saw in early trailers, where Voldemort is looking at Harry -- looking at him in the eye -- and he says, 'Why do you live?' And Harry says, 'Because I have something to live for.' It was a really cool moment," Yates said during the press conference. "I actually asked Steve Kloves to write it. 'Steve, we've waited 8 movies, I want Voldemort to say something!' And of course when I put it in the movie -- and the reason Steve didn't write it in the first place is because, Voldemort would just kill Harry. [Laughs] They wouldn't stop and have a conversation." Watch the trailer in question below.
It all ends with The Deathly Hallows Part 2, something not lost on the film's participants
A decade of producing Harry Potter films created a family amongst the cast and crew, making the finale bittersweet. "It's been a weird time, kind of accepting the end," Rupert Grint said. "We finished filming a year ago, and I was left with a kind of empty feeling. It's taken a while for me to accept that. It's going to take a while for me to let go of this. It really has been my childhood. To have that come down to that last film, it just feels really weird. But I'm starting to get used to it."
"How do you summarize this experience, really?" said Matthew Lewis. "It's tremendously difficult to do. I have just had the most amazing experience for the last 11 years. I've met the most wonderful people I"ve traveled the world, I've been to many exotic locations. I've sat in the Waldorf Astoria in New York City, talking to assembled journalists. It's not something I expected to be doing ten years ago. I feel like I'm living somebody else's life. Every day, I sort of have to pinch myself, or think, 'Is this really happening to me?' If I never work again, I'll always look back and go, 'You had a pretty good run there.'"
In the end, Yates summed things up best. "We went to Chicago and tested the picture, and you get these cards that everybody fills out, and this young girl had just one note. She didn't criticize anything, she just said, 'Goodbye, childhood.'"
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 opens on Friday.