Harry Potter Opens July 15
Magic and mysteries in the air at Harry Potter’s New York premiere.
I was like a seeker in the game of quidditch, but I wasn’t searching for the golden snitch...I was searching for the golden actors who star in the latest Harry Potter movie, Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince. And like Harry Potter on his flying broom, I scored!
At the premiere of the newest Harry Potter movie in New York City July 9, I stood along the red carpet watching as excited Potter fans crammed together behind metal barriers waiting for the stars to arrive. Some sported sorting hats, the signature round rimmed Potter glasses, and other mystical garments from the world of Hogwarts. Some held up signs. One read: “Honk if you love Harry.” And there was honking—and yelling and cheering and chanting. “Snape! Snape! Sirius! Snape!” It was magical!
The crowd ignited with screams and cheers as the actors stepped out of their limos and onto West 54th Street in front of the Ziegfeld Theatre. There was so much excitement in the air you could taste it!
Daniel Radcliffe, who plays Harry Potter, was one of the first to arrive. Before talking to reporters, however, he walked along the other side of the street greeting fans and signing autographs. I could tell where he was by the location of screaming fans.
While Radcliffe was busy, Warwick Davis, who plays Professor Filius Flitwick, showed up. This was his second premiere at the Ziegfled, he told me. He was also in the movie The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian. He said the Harry Potter red carpet was much longer. I asked him to tell me about the hardest scene for him in Harry Potter. To give you his full answer would mean revealing the movie’s ending, so I edited his response.
“It’s a very moving scene,” he said of one of the final moments in the movie. “When you’ve been so close to all the characters and then have to stand there and witness [something like that] it was really quite, quite moving for me personally as well as in a character sense.”
Producer David Heyman talked to me about the hardest special effect, which was creating the infery, the underwater zombies.
“We all have a feeling about how zombies should be and what they look like,” he said. “And so to come up with something that had a connection to zombies of the upper world, but that was unique to water, that was the most difficult.”
Freddie Stroma, who plays the cocky Cormac McLaggen, a student at Hogwarts, told me about his favorite scene, when he goes into potions professor Horace Slughorn’s office with Hermione.
“I got to do sort of cheeky grins at Hermione, trying to get her attention and she kept looking away; that was quite fun,” he said.
I asked Director David Yates which scene had the most bloopers.
“There’s a scene right at the beginning of the movie where we get Daniel, Rupert and Emma sitting in the burrows talking about how old Dumbledore is,” he said. “ I can’t tell you how many bloopers we got in that scene because they kept cracking up. I had to send them off the set for a while!”
He promised it would show up in outtakes at some point—maybe the DVD.
Radcliffe finally made it to the red carpet and it was my turn to question him. He has eyes that pierce right through you and a nice smile. He is also very gracious. I told him I had two questions to ask. First I wanted to know how he was most like Harry.
“I think in the way that we value our friends,” he said. “Friendship is very important in both our lives. I think I have Harry’s natural curiosity as well. He’s interested in a lot of things in his world as am I in mine.”
Before I got to ask my next question, anxious reporters began to call out questions to him and he asked them very politely to please wait while I asked my second question. That was cool!
I asked him to explain how Harry has changed from the first movie to the sixth. His answer made me laugh.
“Well, he’s gotten marginally taller,” he said. In a more serious tone, he said that the films have gotten darker from the first to this most recent. “I think Harry has had to become a lot tougher because of that,” he said.
Tom Felton, who plays Draco Malfoy, was next along the carpet. I asked him what it was like to play such a bad guy.
“I think it’s a lot more fun than playing a good guy really,” he said. “It’s great to play someone as far opposite of who I am in real life, so I really enjoy it.”
Emma Watson, who plays Hermione, answered the same question.
“Hermione has relaxed a little bit more now,” she said. “She doesn’t feel she has to prove herself so much because I think when she first arrived at Hogwarts she felt she had to prove herself.”
I spotted Rupert Grint, who plays Ron, before he got to my spot on the carpet. I saw his red hair through the crowd. I could also hear chants of “Rupert! Rupert! Rupert!” as he got closer. I asked him about his first on-screen kiss.
“It was kind of a big moment,” he said. “We were both quite nervous about it because we were in a room full of people who were shouting at us. It was a little bit embarrassing, but it was quite a bit of fun, too,” he said with a devilish look in his eye.
If you’ve read the books, you know who Ron’s first kiss is with, but if not, don’t expect me to spoil the surprise!
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince opens in theaters nationwide on July 15.
Danielle Azzolina is a member of the Scholastic Kids Press Corps.