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Image copyright: see contents page of each issue. All other material © Visual Imagination Ltd 1998 - 2004
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Feature: Harry Potter #3

Hairy Tale

Hagrid (Robbie Coltrane)

As the Harry Potter #3 breaks box office records, we catch up with Hagrid, alias Robbie Coltrane, for an outspoken chat, before we call Daniel Radcliffe and Emma Watson in for questioning…

Robbie Coltrane hates Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint with a vengeance. He’s had his fill of them, and never wants to see any of them again, especially on the set of a Harry Potter film. Not buying it, huh? You’d be right. “Here’s the trouble – everyone really likes each other and the kids are lovely,” says Coltrane, who plays the gentle giant, Rubeus Hagrid, in the films. “The English press, who’d find dirt under Jesus’s fingernails, are so upset that none of them are on drugs yet, and that we all get on so well. People keep asking me, ‘How’re the kids?’ And I say, ‘Oh, they’re bloody great. I miss them and I look forward to starting the next film.’ Then they go” – and he’s whispering conspiratorially now – “‘But how are they really?’ And the truth is they’re great. But no one’s happy with that.”

Radcliffe, Watson and Grint are already at work on the next Potter adventure, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. That, however, is news to Coltrane. “No, no, they haven’t started,” he insists. Informed that, yes, new director Mike Newell started production a few weeks earlier, Coltrane’s face assumes a look of mock horror. “They’re filming?” he asks. “Is there a big guy on the set? Has anyone seen Brian Blessed recently? Have you seen that ad they do where William Shatner finds he’s being replaced by Leonard Nimoy? It’s a good gag.”

Coltrane will likely begin his Goblet of Fire gig in July or August. In the meantime, he’s very much on view as Hogwarts’ groundskeeper in the current movie, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. Here, Hagrid tries his hand at teaching, only to have his efforts disastrously undermined by Draco Malfoy, who disrespects Hagrid’s pet hippogriff, Buckbeak, prompting the beast to attack the smarmy creep, which in turn results in Buckbeak receiving a death sentence. Fortunately, even though they’re dealing with a variety of threats – including the presence of Sirius Black and the dread Dementors of Azkaban Prison – Harry, Hermione and Ron make use of a device called a Time Turner to try to save both Buckbeak and Black.

As a result, when he wasn’t with Radcliffe, Watson or Grint, Coltrane was usually in the company of Buckbeak. “They had three things: a horse, a mechanical Buckbeak for me to put Harry on, and then the CGI effects one that was added later,” Coltrane notes, explaining how the filmmakers realized Hagrid’s beloved pet. “And that was magical for us too; it couldn’t be hokey at all.”

by Ian Spelling

Get the full interview, plus a further one with Daniel Radcliffe and Emma Watson in
Xposé #87

Photo © Warner Bros
Feature © Visual Imagination 2004. Not for reproduction

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Xposé #87
July 2004
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