To read The Daily Snitcher's set report for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1, just click the "Read More" button - definitely be aware that spoilers lie ahead! ;)
The Daily Snitcher's Deathly Hallows: Part 1 Set Report
Leavesden Studios, located about an hour outside of London, has been one of the major filming homes for the Harry Potter movies these past ten years. The day of the set visit was in March, toward the end of filming for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Walking inside the airport hangar which has been turned into a Harry Potter film studio was amazing. We were lead into a room filled with props in glass cases, photos, costumes and concept artwork from the final film, so of course everyone looked around for a bit because there was much to see.
Things of note were concept art from Bill and Fleur’s wedding showing them dancing and Fleur’s wedding dress is a thing of beauty made of white feathers and black lace, the vibrant yellow outfits worn by Luna Lovegood and her father, the Weasleys, and the burst of flames when the Death Eaters attack. Images of Harry, Ron and Hermione apparating from the wedding scene were also there. Also included were shots of Harry holding Dobby’s body, Bellatrix with the Gryffindor Sword, Hermione and Bellatrix, Ron and Hermione, the Lovegood’s crazy house with their furnishing all askew, George Weasley with his injured ear, Harry running after the silver doe Patronus, and Umbridge’s pink office at the Ministry.
Following that were interviews with some of the cast and crew.
Daniel Radcliffe (Harry Potter) said that: “The first part is a very strange sort of road movie. People will be seeing the kids outside of Hogwarts for the first time, which is a big deal actually because we started filming seven by the time we were doing the premieres for [Half-Blood Prince]. When I was going in to see Half-Blood Prince I was thinking, ‘my God, how very different the seventh film is going to be’. Because to see these characters outside what has become such a familiar environment is hopefully going to make people see them in a very different way. And also, the first film is about the gathering of information and getting all the information in place - all the things we need - to go towards the final battle.”
Set designer, Stuart Craig, echoed similar sentiments: “In Part 1, the kids are on the run, they’re in very different locations, mainly urban, they’re in tents, they’re threatened, and they invade the Ministry of Magic in disguise.”
Director David Yates voiced his thoughts: “These kids are on the road. They’re very small in this very big world. They’re away from Hogwarts - this very big, familiar comfort blanket that they’ve grown up with. They feel surprisingly vulnerable and fragile in this big, Muggle world. And I’ve shot it in a way that it’s not very measured. It has more raw-ness to it.”
He added: “the style of Part 1 suits Part 1 because, you know, we always say these films are slightly about coming of age. But, when you take these iconic characters out of that framework of Hogwarts and you put them in this dangerous world. And they have to bury their first body, for example, or - there’s a moment in the film where Harry and Hermione dance for the first time. It’s full of proper sexual tension because they’re both teenagers and they’re at that stage where Ron’s left and there’s a sort of intimacy between them. So there are all sorts of corners that you turn because they’re young adults. And turning those corners in the real world is actually quite fun and interesting because the verity just seems to suit that.”
Costume Designer, Jany Temime, spoke right away about the wedding dress worn by Fleur. She decided to make the wedding with French accents, using purple and black colors. “Not a Weasley wedding, which would have been tragically bad taste,” she said, “but to have a French wedding with style.”
On having a Weasley-themed wedding, she said: “A Weasley wedding would have been tragically bad. A French wedding allowed us to have style.”
Fleur’s dress was designed to look like what a witch princess would wear for her wedding. “On the dress, I have two phoenixes which are in the shape of a heart, and the dress has black, so it’s not really a white dress, which would not have been good for a witch wedding,” Jany said. “I wanted the dress to appear as if it belonged in the family for 20 generations, so the lace is all broken. I wanted the fabric to be very dream-like. It’s really amazing.”
David Yates spoke on the maturity that Dan, Rupert Grint (Ron Weasley) and Emma Watson (Hermione Granger) expressed in the more emotional scenes in the film. “They’re older and life experience helps them draw on it. So, I encourage them to bring some of that into their performances. So, these life experiences help them with nuances in their performances that they may not have had in films 5 or 6.”
“I told Dan that he has to tune into this experience, rather like a dial on a radio…here there’s a bit of static…here the sound isn’t quite right…and here you’re in that experience, tune into it and find out what it’s like. It just happens to you; it just is.”
“There were some bits that were very powerful where Emma just let go for a while and forgot that she was acting…she lost herself in this process and her screams were quite horrible, and you could feel it on the set.”
David also had the following to say about the torture scene with Bellatrix and Hermione. “Emma was really keen to do this scene. She completely gave herself over to the scene. We set up a few cameras, and Helena got on top of her. Helena was writing ‘mudblood’ on Emma’s arm, so she was scoring her skin, so we just let the whole thing role for like three or four minutes, and in that time we got some good bits and not so good bits,” he said. “There were some bits that were very powerful where Emma just let go for a while and forgot that she was acting…she lost herself in this process and her screams were quite horrible, and you could feel it on the set. Everyone felt uncomfortable; everyone just sort of stepped back a bit. It was a very odd energy in the room. She was kind of exploring and exercising demons and serving the scene in doing that. It was very interesting.”
Dan talked about filming the Seven Potters scene, detailing the technical side of things. He said they used a computer-controlled camera that would film the “exact same shot at the exact same time” repeatedly, and that they used this camera for each of the seven Harry’s so they could make them all appear on screen at once. Dan also said that it took about ten takes for each Harry - 95 takes total for the one shot of all seven Harry’s standing together in the same room.
On playing the other characters, Dan said: “There was no middle ground, some are so subtle you’ll have no idea what character it’s supposed to be. Or, so caricatured and exaggerated that you can be in absolutely no doubt which character I’m playing. It’ll be very obvious which one is Mundungus.”
After these interviews, we toured the studio and saw the special effects and creatures departments with our guide, Nick Dudman, who designed the creatures. Aragog, Fawkes, Dobby were all there and so much more! We were also shown the mechanical double of the actress who plays Charity Burbage, which we’ll see at the beginning of Part 1 in the Malfoy Manor scene. We also saw the Great Hall, the Ministry of Magic, the trophy room, and we also saw a set that was being used for 2nd unit filming – the Gentlemen’s bathroom that Harry, Ron and Hermione use to get into the Ministry of Magic in this film.
Dudman said: “My approach is very much that you take two or three goes at something, and very often you’ll chose two or three different sculptures with different styles to try something. Then what we do is we get a sculpture to a certain point and we photograph it. We put it in the computer and Photoshop the color scheme so we can look at any stage. Then we can go, ‘Okay, this is a great sculpt, but this is what it will look like if it’s done as a make-up. Because one of the key things you learn doing this kind of work is that nobody can visualize what the hell you’re talking about. Especially if they’re a producer or a director,” he jokes. The easiest thing we found is that you present them with concept art where you can go, ‘That can be built.’”
We also spoke with Warwick Davis (Flitwick and Griphook) who said this about playing Griphook: “There’s the nose, the ears…I feel much more contained. Griphook’s neck comes all the way down, and I can’t hear very well, and then there’s the contact lenses as well. So it’s as far from me as you can possibly get.”
He continued: “You know, one day I’ll come in as Flitwick and the next I’ll be Griphook, so it can become pretty confusing. I don’t know if I’m Flithook or Griphook.”
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 is set to be an amazing film. Every detail has been thought of and taken care of, nothing has been overlooked, and it is in fact a blessing that the last book in this fantastic series has been split into two parts – nothing will be left out, which will make every Harry Potter fan very happy!
The set visit report for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 will be released next year, closer to that film’s release date.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 will be released November 19th, 2010.
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