On Friday June 22, 2007, I - TheSnitch's co-webmaster, Stefan - attended the Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
press junket in London, on behalf of TheSnitch; while I was there, I was also able to meet up with Emma, from our partner website SnitchSeeker.
Even before the press junket began, the world of Harry Potter
had weaved itself into the Muggle world, due to the fact that props from the character of Professor Umbridge were on display; these ranged from one of Imelda Staunton's costumes, to more of the office-based props, such as the desk as well as a vast collection of the kitten plates that feature on the walls.
The press junket was split into two different sections, each lasting approximately 45 minutes. The first section was with Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint, while the second was with David Heyman (producer), David Yates (director) and Michael Goldenberg (screenwriter).
One of the first most notable questions that were asked to the trio can be seen in terms of Emma Watson's "journey of hesitation" at signing-up to the last two Harry Potter
movies. Emma's response to this was that she wanted to "figure out the logistics of combing making two more Harry Potter
films with [my] school time table." Emma would like to carry on with her education and take the A-Levels of English Literature, Geography, Philosophy and the History of Art and then attend university. At the same time, she would like to continue with the filming, in order to not "have to give either one up," therefore was ultimately placed in a "difficult position," however expressed how "supportive" Warner Bros. had been, through ways such as providing her with "all the tutors that [I] need." Additionally, Daniel commented on how much time and effort each Harry Potter
movie takes, expressing that "on the whole it is a ten month commitment."
When asked about the biggest indulgence that they each had treated themselves too, Rupert expressed that he had "recently [I] got an ice cream van," while Daniel quashed the story by the London Lite
stating that he brought a Fiat Punto, claiming that "I never plan to buy a Fiat Punto." Moreover, Emma expressed that she had brought an "Apple Mac laptop," while she also stated that she is learning to drive at the moment and even though is finding the whole experience "so hard," would like to buy a car that is "really small, really safe and un-intimidating."
In regards to the key messages of the movie, Emma illustrated that she felt it was based around "Harry's journey to realising that he doesn't have to do it on his own and the importance of his friends" which in effect "makes him a much powerful wizard than Voldemort." Daniel expressed how he felt it is about Harry’s character where he must stay "sticking to his guns."
Moving away from the movie and more towards the novels and the Post-Harry Potter
era, a question relating to the fate of all three characters was asked. Rupert stated that he would "like Ron to survive," while Emma felt "pre-convinced that she [Hermione] is going to make it" and wishes that Hermione will have a "really cool career." When Daniel answered, he expressed how a couple of years ago he wished that Harry would die, since it would ultimately create a "conclusive ending" and would be "fitting," however he now feels impartial, since "[I] don’t know."
Furthermore, in relation to the Post-Harry Potter
era, one question was based around the trio's careers, after all of the movies have been created. Daniel wishes "to keep acting" and to "continue to find things that are really difficult for me to do... so I don’t become complacent," while he also mentioned how he would like to write poems. Similarly, Rupert wishes to "continue acting," however mentioned that if it doesn't work out, "I always have my ice cream van!" In contrast, Emma "would love to try some theatre" and would also like to do "a period drama" and even though "[I] love to sing," she reassured us that she will not be launching a singing career!
Discussion of leadership roles in the movie, led to the set of the Room of Requirement being mentioned, specifically the technicalities of filming with under-floor lighting and how "the whole place was mirrors," as Daniel put it. In addition, Daniel acclaimed how he felt the set was "a degree hotter than the sun." Similarly, Emma suggested that the set was more like "walking into an oven," especially since "it was an enclosed set."
Thoughts about David Yates then led Emma to confirm that Yates is "staying on for the next one [Half-Blood Prince
]" while Daniel suggested that he might "get David Yates into his director's chair and break his legs so he can never leave!"
When asked about their favourite scenes from the movie, Daniel stated "I like the scene after the kiss with Cho Chang, because we are all just in hysterics and I think that a lot of that was genuine. I think that day we were all just quite in a giggly mood." Emma agreed, stating that "something to do with oranges" may have been the culprit.
To conclude the press junket, the trio were asked what they had learnt from each other, to which Daniel replied "I want an ice cream van" and later explained how as they are all of similar ages and are friends, then they are more likely to support each other and instead learn from the older members of the set. Additionally, Emma expressed how "If I am having boy troubles, I will occasionally chat to Dan and Rupert" and reiterated the fact that they are all friends off-set. The final phrase that was uttered came as an ensemble, "So basically we've learnt nothing from each other," and after a few giggles, they were whisked away to be replaced by the other trio, this time the ones behind the creation of the movie.
Just like the trio, straight away, you could tell that Heyman, Yates and Michael are keen Harry Potter
enthusiasts, due to the sheer amount of hard work and effort that they have placed into creating this movie, in order to truly make it a movie made for fans, by fans; one of the first most notable questions that was asked can be seen in terms of reducing the 766-paged novel into a film adaptation. Yates stated "The first challenge you face is the adaptive process, making choices about what you keep and what you loose... That's the hardest part, starting that series of choices about what you are going to let go, because you know that when you let something go, a fan somewhere will really miss it and we have really missed a lot of stuff that we have let go." Yates then went on to discuss his goal for the movie, in relation to making it "organic," "clean-cut" and "cohesive" opposed to a movie based on "a series of episodes or chapters."
When asked about the amount of input J.K. Rowling has had with the movie, Heyman described her as a "dream collaborator," since he expressed that even though she was busy writing Deathly Hallows
at the time, she was "there when we need her." A particular example that Heyman used to highlight this was illustrated through the Black family tree: "I don’t know how many names in the book, but it is very few and when you are making it into a film you are visualising it needs to be more than four or five names, so I called Jo up and said 'help!' and 15 minutes later this drawing arrived of the family tree, which was 75 names, going back 5 generations, birth dates, death dates, marriage dates, who was married to whom, who had been excluded from the family, you know like Sirius's black hole. She is remarkable"
As the movie has been rated a 12A in the United Kingdom, one question was based on the darkness of the movie and the effect that it might have on the younger audience, to which Yates responded, "I love being scared. I think children love to be taken into that territory. It just makes them feel vital and alive. It's a really important thing I think, and I also think it's important that children aren't patronised too, that we give them storytelling and material that means that they need to stretch their fingertips that little bit." Additionally, Heyman agreed with Yates, expressing, "I think kids do like to be scared a little bit, there's literally a tradition of children fiction that most certainly is scary as this is, you know like Grimm's fairytales. People talk about this being darker, but maybe why it is dark is because it is more emotional and you connect with it more emotionally and to me that is more exciting because it means we are being true to the book."
Relating back to one of the earlier questions from the trio, in regards to the Cho Chang kiss scene, Yates stated, "Katie was very sweet and charming, and Dan was very sweet and charming and we talked about first kisses generally and what first kisses felt like and Michael had written it this way to make it as tender and true as possible. What was really charming was the fact that many people who had spent a lot of time with Dan growing up through these films... they all gathered around the monitor as if they were watching someone that they loved very much snogging for the first time and they got very emotional... It was quite sweet." Additionally, Yates spoke about the scene after, in which the trio had "the giggles." "They know each other ever so well, Rupert, Emma and Dan... Michael had written a beautiful scene, but we kind of improvised a little bit... it's odd because sometimes when you are working on a scene you can feel something in the room, you can feel an atmosphere. That day, there was just something about the way... they were all just a little bit giggly together and I just encouraged them to kind of embrace that and have fun with it... We caught it in a bottle really and I am very proud with that scene."
Discussion then turned to the casting of Imelda Staunton as Professor Umbridge, to which Yates stated, "It was very easy to cast. I walked into the office and the Umbridge conversation of who to cast went like this. David [Heyman] said: 'How about Imelda Staunton?' and I said: 'Great!' and then I went off and had coffee with Imelda and looked her in the eye and just knew... we all just knew really. I think that Imelda is such a gifted actor."
Following on from talk about Umbridge, Yates highlighted his favourite scene from the movie, "One of my favourite scenes in the film is when she takes Harry into detention and what we explored there was this sort of slightly religious, cleansing thing. She is convinced that Harry had done something terrible in lying and she just wants to cleanse him of his sins."
Heyman then mentioned something that will truly get all of your thinking caps on; talk about a certain character that they were going to omit from the movie, however later decided not to, due to advice from J. K. Rowling. Heyman, expressed, "If there was anything that we were unsure about then we would call Jo... There was one time... there was a character we were going to cut out, that we discussed amongst ourselves and she said: 'You know, I wouldn't do that if I were you, or you can, but if you get to make a seventh film, you will be tied in knots and it will cause you some difficulties.'"
You have now reached the end of TheSnitch's press junket report, however it doesn't end there! To view some photographs of Daniel, Emma and Rupert, as well as the props that were on display, then simply click on the thumbnails below.
Don't forget to stay tuned into TheSnitch, since we currently have our house elves writing up the entire transcripts to the audio clips, while the actual audio clips should be online soon too! Furthermore, stayed tuned to TheSnitch on the release date of the movie in the United Kingdom, since this is when my review of the movie will be released!
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