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James AND OLIVER talk DH2

Festax0333Festax0333 Posts: 11,753 ✭✭✭✭✭
edited May 2011 in General
James and Oliver Phelps discussed their life on the Harry Potter film sets with Empire magazine, as well as Fred and George Weasley's dramatic and darker turn in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, and whether or not they'll chose to do joint projects after the completion of the series.

So looking back, how has it all been?
James Phelps: It's amazing! You're in a room with Julie Walters, Mark Williams, Maggie Smith and Alan Rickman: it's not the worst place to be! Even when we were shooting scenes on this last film... I was there with Sir Michael Gambon, and I was getting ready to do something with the Manchester Orchestra, narrating Peter and the Wolf. I'd never done anything like that before in my life and I was a bit nervous. He asked what I was up to and I explained and, even though he had this big scene coming up, he said, "Oh, I read that a few years ago", and took the time to go through it all with me. That was pretty cool.

Was there anyone that you were really starstruck by?
You just kind of get used to it. I suppose you're always like that in some shape or form, when you're acting with someone who you've seen for years and years, then once you get to know them it all just runs.

Did you find, as the books were coming out and the films were being made, that you were reading it to see where your character was going?
Well, the fourth book had just come out when we went for our first audition, and that was the biggest book launch back then. I'm not going to say that we were avid fans of the books, but we enjoyed reading them, so we knew all about it. I remember being in Japan when the last book came out, and I was on the bullet train reading it and looking for what happens to me. I literally just read the paragraph where that happens, and I had this Japanese guy trying to get the ticket off me...

You've always had a lot of comic heavy-lifting, but in the last part there's a switch into much more serious stuff.
It was kind of easy: because we've played the characters for so long, we see them as more than the one-liners. So it was great fun playing the same characters with that comedy element but a serious side because they become entrepreneurs and this, that and the other. It's nice to try and get that across.

As brothers, that relationship must be very real when you're playing those scenes.
Yeah, I guess so. It's weird.

Are you going to work more separately now that you've finished Potter?
We actually went to America for the start of the year to do meetings and everything, and a lot of the guys there wanted us to do individual stuff, but we did have a really good script for twins. I guess we've always got that thing to play. As we grow up we might be slightly different, but we can always do our own thing as well, which is quite exciting.

It's clear that the whole cast has become friends.
Yeah, it is really. A lot of people think that we're told to say that we're friends but in fact, we are. There have been times where we've all gone out for meals when we were shooting in Soho or whatever, and to us it's just mates catching up but everyone else will look in and see us and ask, "Is this for real?"

You must be incredibly proud to be part of the films.
Oh yeah, completely. It's one of those things where, because we're so close to it, we don't really appreciate how big it is. For what it is, we're very proud. I wouldn't say that any of us, if we're in the pub and we hear someone talking about Harry Potter, we'll be like, "I was in that!" But then, lots of our friends are like that! We're very proud of what we've done. But then we couldn't do this shoot yesterday because we went to Great Orm

ond Street to go around the wards there, and that hit me more than anything else because they are braver than anything I've ever done. There was one lad who hadn't been out of hospital for 7 months, and he was like, "I've been watching the Harry Potter films back-to-back." You know, that's when you know that you've done something good if it gets people through that sort of stuff. It's things like that which we're more appreciative of doing than any of the accolades that come with doing the films. It's the best way of describing it, I think.

What was your last day filming?
Oliver Phelps: I think it was when we were doing re-shoots, and it was a scene at the battlement sequence. It was an added scene, actually, where James [Phelps, aka Fred Weasley] and myself were standing on the turrets of the castle, where there was a green screen and everything, and it was just ad-libbed for about a minute. It was quite nice, but it was hard. It was a weird feeling when they yelled, "Wrap!".

Did you find yourself reading the books as they came out with an eye to see where your character was going?
Definitely. I'd always go through it intensively in a very selfish manner like, "Where's me? Where's me? Where's me?" The twins have done well considering where they started out. The family were quite poor and now they've gone to a different level. When you lose all that, I think the whole family unit really comes into its own. Whereas you look at the Malfoys, who have all the wealth but don't have a family unit, and it's very much each for themselves.

Your characters may not be academic, but in the books they certainly go on to make their fortune.
Yeah, I know it doesn't really come up in the films, but in the books George and Fred flunk all their exams, they don't do very well academically, but they do better outside school. There are people I know who have left school with not a lot of qualifications yet, as soon as they have knuckled down into what they enjoy doing, when you've got that self-belief, you can pretty much succeed where you want to.

Your characters have always added a rather light touch, but in this film there are some rather heavier sections.
Well yes, in the final instalment there are not a lot of laughs from Fred and George at all. Actually, the re-shoot scene that we did was, I think, the first time you see them scared. it's great to be able to play the same character but show a totally different side, one that the audience haven�t seen before, or even something that they hadn't been expecting.

The way that Rowling wrote the final battle, you don�t quite know how it's going to go, and it seems like there will be surprises for everyone there.
Especially when it all goes the wrong way! When the good guys are falling by the wayside and when you see that in the picture itself it looks really harsh. There are some cool elements in it, like when you see Matt Lewis in the battle. That's quite funny because, again, you see a totally different side to his character [Neville Longbottom]. I think you see every character in a different light, which is great.

When we were photographing some of you guys today, it was clear that there�s a genuine friendship between you all.
There is! We've been together for 10 years, so we're going to form these bonds with people. Especially at the time when you're all together, you're growing up and discovering who you are, so through that you have common interests, like with Rupert [Grint] especially. It's just how you see it in the films really; we all take the mick out of each other and hang out with each other. The same with Matt [Lewis] and Tom [Felton]: with Matt, we went to see The Doves just before Christmas and it was a really good night out. And we play golf with Tom. There's a cool mix of people who we still talk to and see outside of filming.

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