Entertainment Magazine: Film: 2010: "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows" Part 1: Production Notes

Movie Production Notes

"Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows" THE END BEGINS

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THE FOREST FOR THE TREES

Photo (L-r from center) EMMA WATSON as Hermione Granger and JULIE WALTERS as Molly Weasley in Warner Bros. Pictures' fantasy adventure "HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS - PART 1," a Warner Bros. Pictures release. Photo courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures.


At last, Harry is in possession of the third Horcrux, but its very presence has unexpected consequences for the three best friends, who had shared an unbreakable bond...until now.

By definition, a Horcrux is a piece of Voldemort's evil soul, so its entity preys on and intensifies the negative emotions of anyone close to it. Radcliffe discloses, "If someone is actually wearing it, the effect it has on them is that they become angry and paranoid and rather horrible, generally speaking."

Making matters worse, when the young wizards try to destroy it, the Horcrux is impervious to their spells. "They figure out it can be destroyed by the sword of Gryffindor, which, of course, is missing," Radcliffe says.

Ron seems especially susceptible to its powers. Grint relates, "It's quite a tense time, because they're alone and Ron is worried about his family and frustrated by how little progress they've made. But the locket escalates everything he's feeling. And because of that, he also gets it in his head that there could be something going on between Harry and Hermione. It leads to an intense argument between Ron and Harry where they both explode in anger."

David Barron states, "They've never quite been on their own in the way they are in Part 1 of 'The Deathly Hallows.' They've always had the protection of somebody, somewhere, no matter how tenuous it was. When they are separated from everyone and in mortal danger all the time, the triumvirate of Harry, Ron and Hermione is more easily sundered, especially when being influenced by the malign powers of the Horcrux."

Completely isolated in a forest clearing, they at least have shelter, thanks to Hermione's ingenuity. Before leaving the Burrow, she had used an extension charm to turn her small, beaded bag into a proverbial bottomless pit, containing every necessity, from fresh clothing to books, a radio, and even a camping tent. "Every woman would love Hermione's bag because you could carry anything you could possibly need or wish for and it wouldn't weigh anything," Watson laughs. "She's very clever, that one--always so prepared, always one step ahead."

Nevertheless, Hermione is unprepared for the fight that erupts between Ron and Harry. When Ron ends it by deserting them, she is heartbroken. Watson attests, "She is devastated and feels abandoned. His jealousy and accusations also betrayed her trust."

Left alone, Harry and Hermione share a moment that Yates says "kind of encapsulates their relationship. Steve (Kloves) and I wanted to do a scene that showed how close they are without words. Hermione is distraught that Ron has left. There's some music on the radio, so Harry tries to alleviate some of her pain by doing something that ordinary young people do: dancing. It's what you might do for a friend, and Dan and Emma made it very tender and moving."

The initial forest scenes were filmed on location at Burnham Beeches, in Buckinghamshire. In designing their tent, Craig wanted the outside to be a simple, triangular, two-man camping tent. Magically, however, the inside is not so modest, with multiple rooms that are all furnished. Stuart Craig mentions, "I have to give credit to Eduardo Serra, who photographed the tent perfectly. The lighting was beautiful and subtly varied from day to night and season to season. It's amazing how much richness and visual interest you can get out of a few sheets of canvas."

WHERE IT BEGAN

Harry's quest has expanded from the Horcruxes to the means to destroy them. Where better to find the sword of Godric Gryffindor than its namesake's birthplace, Godric's Hollow? But Hermione warns him that any place that means something to Harry might be someplace the Dark Lord would expect him to go.

"Godric's Hollow is where Harry was born and also where his parents were killed," Yates notes. "And he recently learned that Dumbledore had also lived there, which was something he hadn't known. So there's a real confluence of reasons to go there: strategically, he thinks there could be something in that place that could help them on their mission, and, emotionally, he needs to go back."

The set for the village was designed in a Tudor style and constructed at Pinewood Studios. Craig says, "It has the half-timbered, brick and plastered look that is different from what we've done before, so I was very pleased to embrace it as the style of Godric's Hollow. Pinewood has a splendid garden--part of the original estate before it was ever a studio--with one magnificent, old cedar tree. We decided to build the entire village around that one tree."

Under the branches of the cedar, Harry and Hermione see the cemetery where Harry's parents are buried. Standing by their graves for the first time, he is overcome by emotion. "There is a real dichotomy within Harry," says Yates. "Being at his parents' gravesite is as close as he has gotten to anything tangible of them, and yet it also brings home the reality of their deaths."

Meanwhile, something else has caught Hermione's eye, a headstone with a strange symbol on it: a circle in a triangle with a line through it. Before she can show Harry, however, she senses they are being watched. Surprisingly, the figure that emerges from the darkness is a frail, old woman, who beckons them to follow her.

Harry soon surmises that she is Bathilda Bagshot (Hazel Douglas), author of A History of Magic. He goes along with her, believing she could be an invaluable source, not only about the whereabouts of the sword but also about the family secrets of the man he used to think he'd known so well: Professor Dumbledore.

Bathilda's house is as old and decrepit as she is, but there are worse things lying beneath the clutter. Hermione's warnings prove more horribly accurate than Harry's worst nightmares, and they are forced to retreat without getting the answers they seek.

THE DEATHLY HALLOWS

Narrowly escaping back to the forest, Harry and Hermione are soon reunited with Ron, who turns up just in time to save Harry from a cold, watery grave. "It's really Ron's big moment," Grint says. "He steps up and becomes the hero by believing what's in his heart and not what's in front of his eyes."

Turning their attention back to the hunt for the Horcruxes, there are new clues to piece together, specifically about the peculiar symbol that keeps cropping up--the circle within the triangle with a line through the center. It is Harry who remembers the first time they ever saw it: on a pendant worn by Xenophilius Lovegood.

The three have been focused on finding and destroying the Horcruxes, but suddenly a new mystery presents itself. They don't know if the symbol they've been seeing is somehow connected to their search, but it does appear to be significant, so Harry, Hermione and Ron set out for the Lovegood house.

Stuart Craig says that the home was patterned after Rowling's description in the book, noting, "Jo specified that the house is a black tower, so I wanted to be true to that. We gave it a deliberate taper and then made it lean, and the interior is as skewed as the exterior."

Dominating the main floor of the house is an old-fashioned printing press, with belts of paper running the length of the ceiling. Since it is also the home of Luna Lovegood, her artwork is proudly displayed on every wall. Evanna Lynch was also asked to lend her inspiration to the décor. McMillan says, "Evanna has a wonderful eye and came up with some great ideas. The end result is wonderfully eclectic, but homey."

When Harry asks Xenophilius about the symbol he wears, it turns out they had the answer with them all along. It is the sign of the Deathly Hallows from an old fable in The Tales of Beetle the Bard, the book left to Hermione by Dumbledore.

As she reads the story aloud, the symbol's meaning is revealed: the triangle is the Invisibility Cloak, to shield the wearer from Death; the circle represents the Resurrection Stone, to recall loved ones from Death; and the straight line denotes the Elder Wand, one more powerful than any other wand in existence. Two of the Deathly Hallows--the Invisibility Cloak and the Resurrection Stone--seem to have some basis in fact. So if the fable is true and the Elder Wand does exist, then Voldemort will stop at nothing to obtain it. And if he does, it might render the search for the Horcruxes meaningless.

Just as the significance of the story becomes clear, so does the danger they're in. Harry, Ron and Hermione must run for their lives, with the Snatchers, led by Scabior (Nick Moran), in close pursuit. The pulse-pounding foot chase was shot in the Swinley Forest in Berkshire, where both David Yates and Greg Powell admit they initially underestimated the athletic abilities of their young cast. The director explains, "I figured I'd have to do one take just to let them get a feel for the rough terrain before telling them they'd have to run faster. Then I called 'Action,' and, whoosh, they were gone!"

Powell echoes, "To be honest, I had told the stuntmen they would have to slow down because they would outpace the actors, but that went completely out the window on the first shot, because the three of them took off like gazelles and left my guys standing in the dust."

Filming the scene also generated some healthy competition between Daniel, Emma and Rupert, who regarded it as more of a race than a chase. "All those years of training with the stunt team finally paid off. There was no question in my mind that I could beat them...not that I'm competitive or anything," Radcliffe deadpans.

"It got quite intense," Grint adds, "especially since we were having to dodge between trees and jump over logs. It was a lot of fun though."

Watson confirms, "It was pretty funny, especially when David had to take us aside and say, 'I just want to remind you that this scene is not about which one of you can run the fastest.' But I definitely gave the boys a run for their money," she smiles.

In the instant the Snatchers are about to overtake them, Hermione flattens Harry with a Stinging Jinx to hide his identity behind extremely swollen features. Special make-up effects designer Nick Dudman and his team used a silicone material to distend Radcliffe's face. "It was tricky," Dudman says "because the only thing on Dan's face that's actually him is one eye. Every detail had to be perfect, down to his eyebrows and stubble, which had to be inserted into the make-up, one hair at a time. My people, Steve Murphy and Paula Eden, did a fantastic job. It took three hours to apply, but Dan was a trouper."

The one feature the Stinging Jinx cannot mask is Harry's lightning scar, which, while distorted, is still barely visible. Believing they may have caught the ultimate prize, the Snatchers deliver their quarry to Malfoy Manor.

The design for the outside of the house was inspired by Hardwick Hall, a Tudor-era mansion that Craig has long admired. He elaborates, "It has these enormous windows, which, especially at night, have a mysterious, slightly threatening, and magical quality to them--huge areas of glass with seemingly nothing but darkness behind them. So the exterior was terrific, and then we invented an interior to match."

At the manor, Bellatrix Lestrange and the Malfoys are waiting. Now the only thing standing between Harry and certain death is his Hogwarts nemesis, Draco, who is faced with a life-altering choice between identifying his former classmate and thereby restoring his family's standing with the Dark Lord, or restoring his own soul.

Radcliffe observes, "What's great about the story is the complexity of good versus evil. It isn't always a clear split between the characters. Even Harry is obviously connected to Voldemort, so there are people we have always seen as evil who have good in them and good people who are seriously flawed."

It turns out that Harry, Hermione and Ron are not the only ones imprisoned at Malfoy Manor. The Death Eaters are also holding Luna Lovegood, the goblin Griphook (Warwick Davis), and the wand maker, Ollivander. A possible rescue comes from an unlikely source...but only at a great sacrifice.

The last house seen in "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 1" stands in stark contrast to the grandeur of Malfoy Manor: a cottage that appears to be made entirely out of shells. Prefabricated in workshops at Leavesden, the house was then constructed on a beach in Pembrokeshire, Wales. Craig recalls, "We chose that beach because it had great sand dunes and also because David wanted white water and the sound of crashing waves. But those waves came at a price because the beach had incredibly high winds. The entire structure had to be heavily fortified and weighted down with giant water bottles that were several tons each just to keep the whole thing stabilized and stop it from blowing over."

David Heyman remarks, "Being out on location for this film provided a sense of scale and verisimilitude, especially since the story takes us away from the familiar setting of Hogwarts and puts us on the road with Harry, Ron and Hermione."

Composer Alexandre Desplat, who created his first Harry Potter score for "The Deathly Hallows - Part 1," agrees. "Our heroes are constantly in motion, so I wanted the music to follow the thread of their journey, and find just the right balance between the action, suspense and emotion."

"Alexandre's music expresses so many different colors and emotions," says Heyman. "His score has scale and intimacy, darkness and light."

"My goal was to give the film an original musical imprint," Desplat continues. "At the same time, I wanted to carry on the rich musical tradition of the composers who have scored the previous Harry Potter films in keeping with the series' great heritage."

David Barron reflects, "That is what makes these films so incredible to work on--that they have a rock solid foundation, which began with Jo's books. The most important thing to us was to make a film fitting the material she created."

"It all begins and ends with Jo; we wouldn't be here without her," Heyman states. "I feel privileged to have worked on Harry Potter for more than a decade. It has been inspiring, challenging and an awful lot of fun."

Yates says, "I'm particularly thrilled and proud that I'm the director who gets to bring the climax of her great story to the audience. That's what I'm looking forward to."

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Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Book 7)

(Hardcover)
by J. K. Rowling (Author), Mary GrandPré (Illustrator)

Amazon.com: Readers beware. The brilliant, breathtaking conclusion to J.K. Rowling's spellbinding series is not for the faint of heart--such revelations, battles, and betrayals await in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows that no fan will make it to the end unscathed. Luckily, Rowling has prepped loyal readers for the end of her series by doling out increasingly dark and dangerous tales of magic and mystery, shot through with lessons about honor and contempt, love and loss, and right and wrong. Fear not, you will find no spoilers in our review--to tell the plot would ruin the journey, and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is an odyssey the likes of which Rowling's fans have not yet seen, and are not likely to forget. But we would be remiss if we did not offer one small suggestion before you embark on your final adventure with Harry--bring plenty of tissues.

The heart of Book 7 is a hero's mission--not just in Harry's quest for the Horcruxes, but in his journey from boy to man--and Harry faces more danger than that found in all six books combined, from the direct threat of the Death Eaters and you-know-who, to the subtle perils of losing faith in himself. Attentive readers would do well to remember Dumbledore's warning about making the choice between "what is right and what is easy," and know that Rowling applies the same difficult principle to the conclusion of her series. While fans will find the answers to hotly speculated questions about Dumbledore, Snape, and you-know-who, it is a testament to Rowling's skill as a storyteller that even the most astute and careful reader will be taken by surprise.

A spectacular finish to a phenomenal series, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is a bittersweet read for fans. The journey is hard, filled with events both tragic and triumphant, the battlefield littered with the bodies of the dearest and despised, but the final chapter is as brilliant and blinding as a phoenix's flame, and fans and skeptics alike will emerge from the confines of the story with full but heavy hearts, giddy and grateful for the experience. --Daphne Durham

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