Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint
On Fire About Harry Potter
by Brad Balfour
Obviously, the best place to start investigating the fourth Harry Potter film, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, is to begin with talking to the series’ youthful stars – Daniel Radcliffe (Harry), Emma Watson (Hermione), and Rupert Grint (Ron) – who held a pow wow in London to enlighten the world and a pack of journalists. Since Potter and crew face their most dangerous threats yet with the evil Voldemort’s Death Eaters gaining strength and the Dark Lord trying to rise again–and, since the film’s stars themselves are aging–there may more tribulations with this film than ever before, both on-screen and off.
While this is probably the darkest Harry Potter film, it is also the funniest. Was it hard balancing the two?
Emma Watson: It was quite difficult, mostly for Steve [Kloves, the screenwriter]. Difficult because there is such a huge audience of children, and you get such young kids who are so into it and the people who were making this film really felt they didn’t want to make it too scary because [that would] cut out this huge audience who are so passionate and love the Harry Potter films. But at the same time, they wanted to be faithful to the book, which is a dark book. I think they made a really good balance because it is faithful. It is darker, and scarier, but I think that was the best way to go because from the very beginning it has always been, “We are going to stay faithful to what this is about.” It’s not about having huge audiences.
Daniel Radcliffe: It wouldn’t have been so hard for us, as it was for Steve who wrote the script. To adapt something as massive as this whole book, that was huge. I certainly wouldn’t envy that task. He did an amazing job. To me, the humor is actually essential to the darkness in a way because if you had that darkness running the whole way through the film, you’d be tired and it would be completely ineffective, whereas if you’ve got the humor, and what’s kind of nice is, that it might lull you into a false sense of [security.]
Emma Watson: Mike [Newell, the director] never held us back in any way. He really pushed us to make it real — [he would ask,] “how you would react in that sort of situation?” He really wanted that. The other thing about Mike is that he really treated us like adults. He expected us to be professional at all times, whereas before in some ways…
Daniel Radcliffe: We could get away with more.
Emma Watson: Yeah, but he really pushed all of us.
What about the aging of your characters and growing up on film?
Daniel Radcliffe: For me, it’s great because there is so much pressure on the films to get better and better, especially after the third one, which for me was great and there was an awareness that we had to work really hard to go further with it and to make it better. Otherwise people would be very disappointed in it. And for me, it is also loads of fun playing Harry as he is getting older because it is almost as if you go from being… When we started, it was Harry’s 10th birthday, so it’s almost as if in real life, not just in the stories, but with people sort of grow extra emotions, which is partly to do with hormones and the trouble they cause and partly it’s just a thing about growing up. You have other assets so it’s fun playing that in Harry as he grows older. There is always this thing of, “Will you get too old for your part?” Well, people play a lot younger than they actually are in real life. I don’t think it is as much of an issue as a lot of people make it out to be.
Emma Watson: There has been a lot of speculation about whether we’re going to outgrow our parts or that the films will take longer than we will [to grow up,] but, actually, it works out really well because each film takes about a year and, obviously, that corresponds with us doing our year at school. So we’re pretty much growing alongside them. At the same time it’s everything we’re going through. In some case, they actually…
What did you think of your romantic scenes in this film?
Daniel Radcliffe: You know what? That was really awful for me. And that was great and fantastic. I don’t know if Katie had been in and said, ‘God, I hated doing the hugging scenes with Dan’ or something. But, for me, it was great fun.
Rupert Grint: All of the characters are more sort of in the teen-age of life. I think Ron was a bit moodier in this one. He has a few arguments and I enjoyed doing all of that.
In this film, you all have issues with each other. What was it like arguing with your friends?
Emma Watson: I loved all the arguing. It was really juicy. Even though we have always got along perfectly, I think it’s much more realistic that they would argue and that there would be problems, so I thought it was great fun. It’s quite a dark book, this one, and I think it makes up for a lot of the humor, which is nice. It’s a bit of light relief.
Daniel Radcliffe: Actually, what’s nice about what goes on between Harry and Ron in this one in the tension is that it is funny to someone looking in on it, but to them, it is absolutely serious and they are really angry with each other. Each of them feels they have both behaved in a really bad way and have been betrayed by them and also it’s mutual blame. They are both to blame for how they are acting with each other, but to someone else sort of watching in, it’s quite funny because in the long run it is actually quite trivial what they arguing about, as a lot of arguments are. They seem really important at the time and then two years later, you can’t even remember where it started or what it was about.
Now that you have a few movies under your belts, what kind of luxuries do you treat yourself to what do you splurge on?
Rupert Grint: I really do like gadgets. We went to Japan last year and that’s a really good place for gadgets. Oh, and when I went to Japan, I got this sort of spy camera and it was disguised as a cigarette box and that was quite cool.
Emma Watson: Probably my iPod. It comes with me everywhere. Everywhere.
Daniel Radcliffe: I find the iPod thing hard because I’m quite obsessive about CDs and so I quite like actually to have the CDs with the little sleeves and the back and the pictures… So, for me, it’s mainly CDs and books. I haven’t changed much in the last five years. It’s obviously exciting, but that is the honest answer.
You are part of this global Harry Potter empire and yet you maintain low-key profiles. Is that going to change now that you’re teens? Will you turn into Lindsay Lohan-like party animals?
Emma Watson: Actually not. I think we have kind of a responsibility to that, as well, and no, I don’t think we’ll be party animals.
Daniel Radcliffe: I’m planning on buying twenty Porsches and crashing them all just for the extravagance. I don’t think so. I think it’s a really good thing that we haven’t [gotten over-exposed] because the characters are so well-known and iconic, if we had been going out to every party under the sun that we were invited to, it would have been hard for people to divorce what they see in the film from what they see in magazines. So I think that would have been a mistake and that’s why we only really go to the premieres. I enjoy not having the high-profile thing. I quite like that. I feel like I’m fooling people because it’s this massive thing and yet it’s still quite a low-key thing. I feel like I’m freaking everyone basically, when you get back to school, as on the set, originally when you go there, it is like there is a novelty factor. People go, “Wow, it’s that person,” like you’re running along with an extra arm or something, but then after a few weeks it settles down, and people go, “Oh, there’s the kid with the extra arm.” It doesn’t seem to affect everyone quite as much and actually, the only time it peaks is when I’m at school—it’s only happened once, really—when the third film came out, then it went a bit fever pitch again. It went sort of mad but it’s not really a problem.
Rupert Grint: I’ve finished school now, so I don’t get the same sort of recognition. Getting recognized is pretty weird anyway. I’m seventeen now. You get the odd person, sort of shouting out, “Ron!” And my hair sort of stands out a bit at the moment.
Copyright ©2005 PopEntertainment.com. All rights reserved. Posted: November 10, 2005.
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