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Feature: Harry Potter

The next Harry Potter school year

We catch up with stars Daniel Radcliffe and Rupert Grint, to talk about what’s coming in the fifth film, growing up onscreen, and their projects outside Hogwarts…

For actor Daniel Radcliffe, there’s an odd moment to look forward to in the next year. Sometime next summer, JK Rowling’s final Harry Potter book will be released, bringing the story of the teenage wizard to a close in one medium, while he’ll be hard at work on the penultimate movie in the sequence. After six years, almost a third of his life, the end is in sight... but fortunately, he won’t be left without work, to judge by the number of projects he’s been cramming into the gaps between production of the Potter movies.

Next year, he’ll be seen as poet Rudyard Kipling’s son Jack in an ITV one-off, My Boy Jack, about the tragic events of the First World War. He’s sent himself up, along with a string of other celebrities as wide-ranging as Ian McKellen, David Bowie and Robert De Niro in the second season of Ricky Gervais’ Extras. On-stage, he’s about to prove that he’s all-grown up as he bares all in a revival of the chilling play Equus… and in the summer, he played Harry Potter for the Party at the Palace marking the Queen’s 80th birthday.

“I wasn’t actually there on the day,” Radcliffe tells us of his contribution to the day’s fun, which saw Harry joining in the hunt for the Queen’s stolen handbag, taken by the villainous Captain Hook in a series crossing sequence of vignettes involving children’s characters from dozens of series and classic books. “I was out of the country, but I filmed all the stuff for it beforehand. We thought we had rushed days for Harry Potter, but for this it was like high speed, we got the whole thing in half an hour. It was unbelievably fast but I quite like filming in chaos; I think you get some of the best results when everyone’s slightly under pressure. Not that I would encourage any kind of tyranny on a film set to try and make you feel under pressure, but I think it sometimes happens that right at the end of the day, when you’ve got 15 minutes before you have to leave, you get your best performance.”

Rupert Grint has also been working with an on-stage relative, his ‘mother’ Julie Walters, in the quirky movie Driving Lessons, where she plays an eccentric actress who hires him as her assistant...

“It’s quite different,” he says, “obviously they’re completely different characters.” That, he admits, made shooting the movie quite unsettling at times. “Yeah it was, yeah, especially with all the swearing – some of it was quite shocking. The first scene we rehearsed was the camping scene when she swallows the key. She’s very funny and she’s really cool.

However, he adds, “It was actually really good having Julie there, because I obviously knew her before in the Harry Potter films. Because we were only filming for six weeks, it was good to have someone there you sort of knew. She was really fine, really easy to get on with, so she’s cool.”

So, why did the actor chose Driving Lessons as his first adult lead role, after appearing in the comedy adventure Thunderpants back in 2002. “I wasn’t really looking out for anything,” Grint comments, “it just sort of came, I was doing the fourth Harry Potter film and it came up after that, and I just really liked the script and it was just something really different. I’d been filming the fourth one for about 11 months, and though I love being Ron, it’s just sort of good to do something different. So that’s why.”

Read the full interviews and more on the world of Harry Potter in
Xposé Special #31

Photo © Warner Bros Pictures
Feature © Visual Imagination 2006. Not for reproduction

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