Shirley Henderson

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

Interviewed by Jamie Russell

Is Moaning Myrtle's voice based on anybody in particular?

No it's not based on anyone. It's just what came out of me, out of my head. I'd describe her voice as wounded. I did a lot of crying during the scenes and that aided that kind of gurgly quality I was trying to produce - as if she was choking on water all the time.

Have you ever seen a ghost?

Yes. I was working in Russia and staying in this hotel and there was a ghost in my room. It looked like an Olympian - a kind of old, Greek, or Roman Olympian. I just knew that somebody was standing at the bottom of my bed for a period of time. I quite liked it. It might not have been a ghost but that's what I think I saw.

What advice did Chris Columbus give you?

Chris just told me to make it truthful. "If you believe it, they'll believe it," is what he said. But I didn't tell him the story about the ghost I saw!

Was playing Myrtle easier than playing a real person?

No, it was more difficult, mostly because of all the technical stuff it involved. I had to be strapped up to this harness so it looked as if I was flying and so I could be pushed through the air and twisted and turned over and over again. It's physically very tiring on your body. It also requires a lot of concentration, because there's all kinds of people shouting stuff like "Turn, do this, look at this" so they can do all their stuff with the computer effects while I'm trying to act it out. But once you block all that out, it's great fun. Really good fun.

Do you like seeing yourself on the big screen?

The first time is usually horrible. Even at the premiere, although I enjoyed it, you end up waiting to see if there's any more of you about to appear and going "Oh, that's what they were doing" as the special effects appear. It means you can't quite see the film for what it is right away.