The first part of the saga returns this evening on TF1.
Released in 2001, Harry Potter at the Wizarding School turned J.K. Rowling’s literary event into a worldwide cinematic phenomenon. On the occasion of the replay of the film, at 9 p.m. on TF1, here are 10 funny anecdotes around its creation.
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1. The cast has changed
Producer David Heyman opted for a clever cast by hiring unknown children for the main roles, starting with Daniel Radcliffe (Harry), Emma Watson (Hermione) and Rupert Grint (Ron), then surrounded them with key movie actors British: Alan Rickman (Snape), Maggie Smith (McGonagall), Robbie Coltrane (Hagrid), Richard Harris (Dumbledore), Fiona Shaw (Petunia) or Warwick Davis (Professor Flitwick, then the goblin Gripsec).
J. K. Rowling has validated these choices herself, but we know that the distribution has evolved a lot before the project really started filming. Steven Spielberg and Terry Gilliam were notably about to stage it. The first dreamed of adapting Harry potter with Haley Joel Osment, the young boy of Sixth Sense, a wizard with glasses, but the author of the novels absolutely wanted the role to be held by an Englishman, and not an American. When she refused the young actor, the filmmaker dropped the project. Note that they turned instead A.I. Artificial intelligence, a sci-fi film also worn by Jude Law … who is Dumbledore’s current interpreter in Fantastic Beasts, the deductible derived from Harry Potter. The world is small !
As for Terry Gilliam, true to his image, he would have liked to build a crazier universe. For once, J. K. Rowling would have appreciated the ideas of the creator of Brazil, but it was Warner Bros who would have imposed a director “more classic”. Chris Columbus (Mom I missed the plane, Mrs. Doubtfire…) therefore took care of the staging, as well as that of its sequel, The Chamber of Secrets. The two most childish episodes of the franchise.
Note that several popular actors almost joined the project, such as Tim Roth for the role of Rogue, Robin Williams for that of Hagrid, and David Thewlis to play Quirell. The first declined, the second did not get the part because he was not British, and the third was finally chosen a few years later to play Professor Lupine.
Why Robin Williams Wasn’t Hagrid
2. 8 films, 4 Dumbledore and 6 Voldemort
Speaking of actors, did you notice that Voldemort already has two performers in this first installment. At the time, Ralph Fiennes had not yet been cast, since he does not arrive in the saga until the fourth film, but the future big villain of the story is already visible in the flashbacks and the scene of the forbidden forest in the guise of Richard Bremmer. At the end, when Quirrell shows his real face (created in digital), the big bad guy has the voice of Ian Hart, the professor’s interpreter.
Thereafter, it will also be played by Christian Coulson (in the second film), Franck Dillane (in the memories of Dumbledore from the sixth opus) and Hero Fiennes-Tiffin, who is none other than Ralph Fiennes’ nephew, when he appears child.
Note that one of his main opponents, Albus Dumbledore, had four different interpreters for him. Richard Harris in the first two episodes, then Michael Gambon after his death in 2002, Toby Regbo in the flashbacks where he is seen as a teenager during the Deathly Hallows, and soon Jude Law, therefore, who will arrive in Fantastic Beasts 2. We also know that originally the role had been proposed to Ian McKellen, but that he refused it, because he played at the time Gandalf in The Lord of the Rings and found the two characters too close.
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3. The bad habit of Emma Watson who spoiled several takes
Like Rupert Grint, Emma Watson got her first film role in Harry potter : she was only 10 years old on the set of Chris Columbus, and the aspiring actress had developed a bad habit which spoiled several takes: she memorized her dialogues, but also those of her partners, and could not help to mumble them during the shooting. Invited on the Jimmy Kimmel show in 2017, the actress, now a star, came back laughing on this “habit quite traumatic. It caused problems on the set. I screwed up several takes because of this. Chris ((Colombus, director) was obliged to intervene: ‘Cut! Emma, you start again. You’re mumbling Dan’s lines. But I couldn’t help it. I was so bad. I loved books and wanted to do my best, but in fact I was doing too much! “
The video is here.
4. Alan Rickman knew the secret of Snape
Watch out, spoilers! When Alan Rickman started shooting movies Harry potter, in 2000, J.K. Rowling’s books were still far from finished. However, the novelist already knew how she intended to end the wizard story and had imagined the reversal of the situation concerning Severus Snape.
In 2011, Alan Rickman entrusted to HitFix that Rowling had given him “a bit of information that helped me realize that (Rogue, Editor’s note) was more complicated than it seemed and that the story was not going to be as simple as people thought (…) I knew he was a human being and not an automaton, and that he seemed to want to protect Harry (…) It was enough, I did not know that he was a double agent“.
J.K. Rowling later clarified things, ensuring that she had entrusted Alan Rickman the meaning of the word “always”. Fans know this is a reference to the scene where Harry learns after Snape’s death that Harry was in love with his mother, Lily. In a flashback, Dumbledore asks: “Even after all this time?“”Always“replied Snape.
He is the only actor who was able to build the ambiguity of his character from the start of the adventure.
Alan Rickman: his 5 Rogue moments
5. A phenomenal success…
In 2001, Harry potter is more than a success, it is a planetary phenomenon. 974 million dollars collected in the world from the first part of a saga, it’s enormous. And that sets the bar extremely high for the future. Only the final episode will do better, ten years later, crossing the symbolic bar of a billion.
In France, L’Ecole des sorciers took the lead in the annual ranking, recording nearly 9 and a half million admissions, which enabled it to beat the other big success of the year, Amélie Poulain.
Overall Harry potter was a huge success for ten years, raising between 796 million dollars (the weakest episode is The Prisoner of Azkaban, paradoxically the most creative) and the billion of the Deathly Hallows part 2, therefore. The saga has more than 7 and a half billion in revenue, and this continues with Fantastic Beasts, which should include 5 parts. The first one collected 814 million green tickets two years ago and its first sequel is expected on November 14 at the cinema.
6. … but no Oscar
At the time of the 2012 Oscars, about 6 months after the release of the final episode, The Deathly Hallows part 2, Daniel Radcliffe felt that the Oscars had snubbed Harry potter. After 10 years of film saga and “only” 12 nominations, this one had indeed always failed, while its direct competitor (at least until 2003), multiplied the prices: The Lord of the Rings received 17 statuettes for 30 nominations!
Indeed, the Warner Bros. franchise has never received an Oscar, when several awards have been earned. One for the music of John Williams, in particular, but in 2002, he was named in front of Howard Shore, the composer of The Fellowship of the Ring, who won the award. In 2003, the most aesthetic blockbuster, The prisoner of Azkaban, was only named for its soundtrack and visual effects. The Chamber of Secrets and The Order of the Phoenix, they were not selected at all.
We actually had to wait for the first part of the Fantastic animals, in 2017, for a film in the (extended) saga of J. K. Rowling to be honored with an Oscar: that of the best costumes, presented to Colleen Atwood.
Fantastic Beasts: Finally an Oscar for the Harry Potter saga
7. Faithful voices
The voice actors for Harry, Ron, Hermione and other key figures in the saga were generally involved in the whole saga. Kelyan Blanc has also remained the voice of Daniel Radcliffe for his more recent films like The Black Lady, Horns or Jungle, and that of Harry in video games based on feature films, since The Order of the Phoenix, in 2007. Ditto for that of Rupert Grint, Olivier Martret, who followed him for Charlie Countryman (2013) and Moonwalkers (2016). However, Manon Azem has not been the official voice of Emma Watson since 2015. The actress Research section(she plays the adjutant Sara Casanova) finds that the English actress has recently had a too serious tone, which no longer corresponds to her.
Among the adult voice actors, Claude Giraud followed Alan Rickman to the end. Note that Marc Cassot remained the voice of Dumbledore after the death of Richard Harris. However, he himself died in January 2016. However, Claude Chantal and Patrick Messe only dubbed McGonagal and Hagrid during the first five films.
8. The Harry Potter universe inspired Bruce Springsteen…
When the Fantastic animals, Bruce Springsteen revealed to the BBC 2 to have composed a piece for the first Harry potter, which does not appear in the soundtrack of the blockbuster of Chris Columbus released in 2001. “Yes, it’s true, laughs at the musician behind the tubes ‘Born In The U.S.A.’ and ‘Streets of Philadelphia’. I wrote a song called ‘I’ll Stand By You’, but they didn’t use it. Why ? I don’t know, you’ll have to ask them. It was a good song, too. A ballad I wrote for my eldest son, which doesn’t sound like what I usually sing. I found it to fit the universe well. I hope it will someday appear on the soundtrack of a children’s film, because it was really a cute song … “.
The soundtrack of Harry Potter at the Wizarding School ultimately does not include any songs sung by a music star. This is John williams who took care of the entire orchestration, and thereafter, even if the composers changed, few songs were offered on the different soundtracks. A children’s choir performs ‘Double Trouble’ in The Prisoner Azkaban, and some songs are present during the ball The Goblet of Fire, as ‘Do the Hippogriff’, from the fictional group Bizarr ’Sisters (composed among others in the film by Jarvis Cocker, from Pulp or even Jonny Greenwood, of Radiohead).
Michael Jackson, the man who dreamed of being an actor
9… And Michael Jackson wanted to make a musical out of it!
In 2010, a few months after the death of Michael Jackson, J. K. Rowling revealed that the King of Pop had approached her to create a musical around Harry Potter. “I told her no. I refused a lot of projects”, explained the author, without detailing. The singer was in any case a big fan of the saga: he had even invited the three main actors to come see him in London during the inaugural concert of his tour This is It, but he died a few weeks before this first performance.
10. Daniel Radcliffe never wants to wear glasses again!
All films combined, the actor had to wear around 160 pairs of glasses when filming Harry potter, which spanned ten years. An accessory he would have done well … like his character, by the way!
In 2014, three years after the release of the last blockbuster, the actor explained that he would never shoot a film again with round glasses, so as not to remind him too much of this character. “It will be contact lenses, or triangular frames, in any case, something that does not remind Harry Potter”, he explained, while being well aware that this role would always stick to his skin. Even if he has multiplied eclectic projects since the end of the saga at the cinema, the actor knows that there will always be Harry in the minds of his fans: “There is no film that completely sets me apart from Harry Potter in the eyes of the public, and it will not happen.”
As for the inevitable scar of the young sorcerer, it was remade 5800 times by its makeup artists during the decade.
40 years of Hollywood blockbusters: Harry Potter (2001)