Untold stories of the Wizarding World
In celebration of the upcoming release of Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald — and EW’s latest cover — we gathered together the cast and crew from all eight Harry Potter movies to find out what really went down on set. Can you say Accio behind-the-scenes secrets?
Derek Hough was a stand-in for Draco Malfoy
To fill out the Hogwarts student body, the Sorcerer’s Stone production recruited hundreds of kids from London-area theater schools — including DWTS alums Derek and Julianne Hough. “Since I was a blond kid, I would be a stand-in for Draco Malfoy,” Hough said. “That was my claim to fame! Being young, it was pretty cool to see behind the scenes.”
But he only made it on screen for a split-second
“There’s a specific scene where Hermione is leaving for Christmas while carrying her suitcase,” explained Hough. “We pass in the hallway. I was holding an owl. That’s my big moment. I’m right in the camera’s viewpoint, so every time you look at Hermione you can see me.”
Lucius Malfoy and Albus Dumbledore were great friends…off-camera
In his first scene for the franchise, Jason Isaacs (Malfoy) got to play opposite the late, great Richard Harris (Dumbledore) on Chamber of Secrets and they had a rollicking good time.
“Richard was telling me hysterical and unrepeatable filthy anecdotes of his life in the ’60s,” said Isaacs. “Which I was amazed he could recall with such detail.”
Chris Columbus kept the Golden Snitch
The director of the first two Potter films (and producer on the third) only brought home one item from the set but it was a big one. “I can’t restore it, but I have the Golden Snitch,” he said. “It’s not in good shape. It just sits on my desk in a little glass case, but it’s dying. It’s not made of gold anymore; it’s brass. The wings are getting crooked.”
Chris Columbus’ final interactions with Richard Harris were both funny and poignant
When the director saw Harris on the actor’s last day on set for The Chamber of Secrets, Columbus was playing basketball during a lunch break. “I’d already said goodbye,” he recalled. “Then, dressed as Dumbledore, Richard is being driven by a golf cart — I’m making a shot and all I hear is ‘Go, Chris!’ It’s [him] cheering me on as Dumbledore. I thought, ‘This has got to be one of the great moments of my film-making career.’”
Richard Harris was writing an autobiography
Their last encounter was roughly six weeks after that day on set, in Harris’ hospital room. Columbus entered and saw him writing.
“Next to his bed are stacks of composition books, maybe 25, and in front of him is another composition book — he was writing an autobiography,” said Columbus. “Telling me he was going to tell the truth about everyone. We sat there for a couple of hours, talking and laughing.”
(As for the book: “We’ve never seen it; I don’t know what happened to those pages.”)
Warwick Davis had to study a ton to learn how to fake-conduct a frog orchestra
“You think it’s just waving your wand around — that’s what it looks like — but there’s more to it than that,” said Davis, who plays Professor Flitwick. “I wanted to make sure that if anybody watching understood music, they’d think I had some knowledge.”
David Tennant was totally starstuck on set
“I was, like, No. 72 on the call sheet but I was happy to be in their orbit,” the actor, who played Barty Crouch Jr., said of Maggie Smith and Alan Rickman “But I was happy to be in their orbit. I remember us sitting around in a circle telling wonderful stories [between takes]. There was something really fabulous about Michael with his enormous beard, Alan wearing his wig, and Maggie in her witch’s hat. I just thought, ‘This is what acting’s all about.’”
Evanna Lynch fought hard for Luna’s Quidditch commentating scene to be included
“I remember reading [that scene] and being like, I can’t wait to do that, because I always find sports really boring so I relate to Luna completely when she wants to make it interesting,” Evanna Lynch said of the Quidditch scene. In the book, Lovegood weighs in on details like the players’ psychological states and the shapes of clouds — everything except the actual events of the game. But ultimately, Lynch says, the scene was cut from the script.
Evanna Lynch tried to pay for Dumbledore’s funeral herself
When producers told her they couldn’t include Dumbledore’s funeral in The Half-Blood Prince for budgetary reasons, she offered to contribute a portion of her paycheck to help fund it. “They were like, yeah it wouldn’t cover it,” she said with a laugh.
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