Hey everyone, Welcome to another installment of Harry Potter Theory. In today’s theory, I’m going to be doing something a little bit different- I’m going to be sharing with you some behind the scenes secrets from the sets of the Harry Potter films. These ‘secrets’ span the series and give us just a quizzical glimpse in to the workings of a truly magical production. They also range from light-hearted and fun, to a little bit more serious.
Anyway, these secrets and factoids speak for themselves, so I won’t dawdle any longer: let’s get started: 1. The Ford Anglias You might remember the Flying Ford Anglia, the light blue Ford that was enchanted by Arthur Weasley and enabled it to fly. The Ford Anglia notably makes an appearance in the second film, when Harry and Ron hijack it in order to drive to Hogwarts after Dobby seals the entrance to platform 9 ¾.
Just as the boys are arriving at the school, they drive the Anglia straight in to the Whomping Willo, which certainly did some damage. What you might be surprised to hear, however, is that an astonishing FOURTEEN Ford Anglias were destroyed in the filming process. 2.
Professor Snape wore contacts Severus Snap, Potions professor, Defence Against the Dark Arts Professor, Lily Lover, and one time Hogwarts Headmaster, was played by Alan Rickman. Rickman played the perfect ‘Snape’- but what many don’t know is that Rickman went to considerable lengths to achieve this level of perfection. In fact, one little detail about Snape’s character- his eyes, was something which Rickman paid particularly close attention t, wearing black contacts throughout the films in order to properly convey the ‘darkness’ of Snape’s character. 3.
Harry and Hermione’s Appearance When the books were adapted to film, producers wanted to try and replicate as much as they could. This meant ensuring that characters resembled their descriptions from the books. However, in the case of Harry and Hermione- this proved difficult.
Harry (played by Daniel Radcliffe) was meant to have green eyes, but Daniel had an allergic reaction to his contact lenses. Hermione (played by Emma Watson) was meant to have buck teet, however, she didn’t end up wearing them because they effected her ability to speak. 4.
J. K. Rowling almost played a role Though Rowling is certainly not an actress, she was originally considered for the role of Harry’s mother in the Philosopher’s Ston, which could have perhaps been a nice cameo.
However, Rowling and the casting directors eventually decided that it would be best that they go with someone else. Though it’s not a particularly large role, actress Geraldine Sommerville, who eventually went on to assume the role, did a good job. 5.
Voldemort was played by five different actors What many don’t know is that over the course of the 8 films created, five different actors portrayed Voldemort. Ralph Fiennes is perhaps the most well known portraya, however, there were 4 other actors involved who depicted Voldemort at different stages of his life. The Voldemort from the first film was played by Richard Bremner, who as we know, was stuck to the back of Quirrell’s head. Christian Coulson played the teenage ‘Tom Riddle’ from the Chamber of Secrets, Frank Dillane played the menacing young Riddle shown chatting with Slughorn about Horcruxes in the half-blood prince, and Ralph Fienness’ nephe, Hero Fiennes-Tiffin, played the 11 year old Tom in the orphanage.
- Honeydukes Honeydukes, a wizarding sweet shop located in Hogsmeade, sold all kinds of wizarding sweets. This meant stocking the shelves of the shop TO THE BRIM.
However, with a cast full of children, this can be dangerous, which is why the cast were told that the Honeydukes sweets were coated in lacque, preventing the otherwise inevitable disappearance of candy. 7. Hedwig Hedwig, Harry’s trusty white owl and animal companion, was given to him right at the beginning of his journey in to the wizarding world. However, what many don’t realize is that Hedwig was actually played by SEVEN different male owl, Gizmo, Kasper, Oops, Swoops, Oh Oh, Elmo and Bandit.
- Professor Trelawney As we know, Professor Trelawne, Hogwarts divination professor, was expertly played by Oscar-winning actress Emma Thompson. However, what many don’t know is that the role almost went to Tilda Swinto, who eventually turned it down due to scheduling conflicts. 9.
Head lice During the filming of the second movie,Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, nurses were brought on to the set after a severe case of head-lice broke out among many of the young actors. 10. Homework There are plenty of scenes in the Harry Potter films where the child actors have schoolwork in front of them. As it turns out, sometimes this was their ACTUAL schoolwork (because they’re kids)- and it gave the actors an opportunity to get their schoolwork done in between shooting.
- Tom Felton Stole Too Much Food Apparently, during filming, Tom Felton stole so much food (which he put in his robe pockets) and snacked so often that his pockets had to eventually be sewn shut. 12. The Bats in Hagrid’s Hut As it turns out, the bats seen flying around in Hagrid’s Hut were actually REAL bats, which posed real challenges when it came to training them. Radcliffe once remarked that they ‘urinated everywhere’ 13.
Maggie Smith Maggie Smith, who so expertly portrayed Minerva McGonagall, was in good health for most of the films, but at one point ended up being diagnosed with Cancer. Heroically, Smith underwent cancer treatment while filming the sixth movie. 14.
Crush on Hermione Both Rupert Grint and Daniel Radcliffe had a crush on co-star Emma Watson at one point or another while filming the Harry Potter films. 15. Alfonso Cuaron Allegedly, director Alfonso Cuarón (who directed Prisoner of Azkaban) had never actually read the Harry Potter novels, or seen the first two movies, when he was offered the job of director.
Guillermo del Toro convinced him to accept the offer, telling him: "Don't be stupid; read them immediately. " 16. Crookshanks Hermione’s pet cat Crookshanks, the half-kneazle, was actually played by two Persian red cats: Crackerjack and Pumpkin.
Apparently, the trainers would save the cats' shed fur, roll it into balls, and clip them them onto the cats in order to achieve Crookshanks's mangy appearance. 17. Luna's dirigible plum earrings.
In the books, Luna wears dirigible plum earring, and so naturally, Evanna Lynch (who was a HP superfan) showed up to her audition with a pair that she'd made herself. She ended up wearing the same ones in the film. 18. Dementors Dementors, the gigantic foul creatures that represent unhappiness and despair, were actually created by Rowling as a way of personifying all the aspects of depressio, which she herself battled with. 19.
Tom Felton lied in his audition Tom Felton, true to his character of Draco, actually lied during his Harry Potter audition when he told the casting directors that he had read the books (which of course, he hadn’t). 20. Weasley Clock The Weasley Clock was a magical clock belonging to the Weasley’s that individually monitored each of their whereabouts.
As it turns out, the hands on the Weasley clock were actually scissors with photos of the respective actors on their handles. 21. Gary Oldman Gary Oldman, who played Sirius Blac, Harry’s godfather, became quite good friends with Daniel Radcliffe behind-the-scenes. In fact, Oldman bought Radcliffe a bass guitar as a gift, which is interesting because Sirius buys Harry a firebolt in the films.
- The Giant Squid Apparently, the Giant squid that lives in the Black Lake of Hogwarts (which we never got to see) was supposed to have an appearance in the film franchise. Unfortunately, however, it was cut from the final film. 23. Rupert Grint + Spiders Ron Weasley is a sufferer of Arachnophobia, aka a fear of spiders, and this is clear in the films.
However, as it turns out, Rupert Grin, who plays Ron, suffers from this same fear. 24. Privet Drive As it turns out, the scenes at 4 Privet Drive (the home of the Dursley’s) were originally shot on an actual street with real houses. Howeve, later on models were built as they no longer had access to the houses previously used. 25.
The Great Hall When we see the Great Hall for the first time in the film, it’s quite a spectacle. However, one interesting thing about this set is that the cast hadn’t seen the great hall prior to shooting the sorting hat scene, which meant that their amazement and awe upon first walking into it was completely genuine. And that’s it for this theory! There are certainly PLENTY more behind-the-scenes factoids out there, but I’ll save those for another theory. Would you all be interested in a series where I separated these secrets by film? Let me know in the comment section below Also, If you don’t follow me on Instagram already, go check it out at ‘hptheory’.