Film, TV & Animation
Harry Potter, Percy Weasley & Cho Chang
Harry Potter: Percy's back
By Martin Barber
Percy Weasley, former head-boy at Hogwarts, has a new job in the Ministry Of Magic. Norfolk actor Chris Rankin is delighted to have reprised Weasley's role in The Order Of The Phoenix, watch our exclusive webTV interview.
When it comes to the magical world of Harry Potter, the Norfolk-born muggle actor Chris Rankin, has something of a charmed life.
Most of us can only dream of being part of J.K. Rowling's wizarding world - where the post arrives by owl, shopping trips are taken in Diagon Alley and you drink butterbeer in The Leaky Cauldron.
But for Chris, the last seven years have seen him walking the corridors of Hogwarts, enjoy life in the Burrow and stroll around the Ministry Of Magic as Percy Weasley.
The Order Of The Phoenix
Harry Potter and The Order Of The Phoenix (OOTP), the latest film installment of J.K. Rowling's magical seven-part series, sees Chris return to his role of the pompous Percy.
Starring the much-loved magical trio of Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson, the OOTP also features Potter newbies Imelda Staunton (Professor Umbridge) and Helena Bonham Carter (Bellatrix Lestrange).
In a webTV interview with BBC Norfolk, Chris told Martin Barber he was delighted to return to the world of Harry Potter.
CR: It was great to be back and get to do something a bit different. Percy isn't at Hogwarts, he's gone off and joined the Ministry Of Magic.
It's great to be back and see all the old folks again. It was a lot of fun this one as Percy's gone on to bigger and better things now, which means I got to work with the grown-ups.
Imelda Staunton as Professor Umbridge
Imelda Staunton as Professor Umbridge, Michael Gambon as Dumbledore and Robert Hardy as the Minister Of Magic - these are people that I've grown up respecting and wanting to be like and here I am acting with them.
It suddenly becomes quite a challenge and quite daunting to be on set everyday and think 'Ive got to be as good as they are'.
MB: After seven years, have your feelings changed towards working on Harry Potter?
CR: It's less daunting in the sense in that I know what it’s like to work on a film now and I know the character inside out. But it's daunting in that you go in everyday and you’re working with some of the best actors in the world.
But it's a lot of fun. You're made to feel very welcome and at ease.
MB: What's the best thing about going back to the world of Potter?
CR: It’s many things. Working on Potter is something that I've always enjoyed.
Playing Percy is a character that I really enjoy doing. He's so horrible, sleazy and slimy that I really enjoy playing him, so I kind of missed playing him [Percy's character wasn't required for The Goblet Of Fire].
Also, working on Potter, has been the same set of people for the last seven years. So you're going back to work with the people you know, the people you're friends with.
MB: You spent a lot of time on the set for the Ministry Of Magic.
CR: Yes, that was the set where I did 50 per cent of the scenes I'm in. It was huge and stunning. It was like an old fashioned underground station.
Martin Barber interviews Chris Rankin
The weird thing was we filmed the battle scene – where the ministry arrives at the end of the big fight and the whole place is covered in smashed glass - it was bizarre as we did that first.
Then the props and set people came in and made it all tidy again and did the other stuff afterwards – but that's the weird way films work.
MB: What was it like being in a scene with Lord Voldemort?
CR: I was lucky, I got to do one scene with him [Ralph Fiennes]. He's a lovely, lovely guy but when he's in character you don't want to go anywhere near him. He's terrifying, he does his job great.
MB: You have a good relationship with the rest of the cast...
CR: Yeah, sadly I didn't see anything of Rupert this time, or the Weasley family as they've disowned Percy.
I did quite a lot of work with Daniel, he's a really nice guy. I went to see him in his play in London and saw him afterwards.
He's so nice, which is weird as he's probably the most famous kid in the world and you'd expect him to have an ego and bodyguards – but he's just like any normal guy you'd meet on the street.
MB: You've struggled in your Hogwarts' robes in the past, which has resulted in a few scrapes and bruises. You had some stunt work in this film.
CR: Yeah, its in the scene of Dumbledore's arrest and we're all there. Harry is there and I've got hold of the scruff of his neck.
Fawkes the phoenix arrives and takes Dumbledore off in a gust of wind which blows all the Ministry people over – I didn't know this was happening as it wasn't in the script directions.
It was only falling over backwards, but where I was standing, right next to me there was a burning fire.
So Greg the stunt director stood just off camera with a fire extinguisher. It was very reassuring!
MB: Do you still have to pinch yourself in that you're in one of the biggest movie franchises in the world, or are you just so at home with it now?
CR: I don't really know any different. But when it gets to the time when the film is released, it does get pretty insane.
I'm sitting here now and there's people looking at me, and that gets a bit weird.
This will sound a bit actory and lovey, but I go into Chris Rankin 'the famous person mode' and he becomes a character that I play.
I'm not reclusive, but I'm quiet and I like my own company. You won't see me at every event under the sun, I like my privacy a bit. But it's a lot of fun doing things [personal appearances] like this.
I applied for Harry Potter as I'm a Harry Potter fan. So with the film coming out and the book coming out I'm very excited. It's exciting for me and to see what the other fans think.
Chris Rankin appeared at the BBC Studio at the Royal Norfolk Show 2007.
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last updated: 17/04/2008 at 12:03