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You are in: Norfolk » Going Out » Films

12 July 2005 1232 BST
"It is odd." - Life with Percy Weasley
Picture: Chris gives an interview to a German TV station.
Media mania: Chris talks to a German TV reporter

Life in the media spotlight, working with the cast and serving up popcorn.

Actor Chris Rankin talks to Martin Barber about life around Harry Potter and The Chamber of Secrets.


From the moment Chris donned his Hogwarts robes, life took some exciting new turns. Here he talks about:

Working with the celebrity cast (55")

Feeling odd about being in the limelight (1'44")

The rewards from pleasing young fans (30")

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Born: 1983

Starsign: Scorpio

Hobbies: Singing, action sports, bad piano playing

1st snog: Tamar Upton, I was 12

Top scoff: Italian

Fave place: New Zealand

TV Show: Graham Norton

Film: Hedwig and The Angry Inch
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M: Are you getting a bit fed up with all the promo working your doing for the film?

C: No, I like doing the promo stuff – it’s good fun. It’s gives us a chance to get out and meet people who are crazy, rabid fans rather than just doing the film and hiding in a corner.

M: Is this film better than the first one?

C: Definitely. I suppose in the first one it was all about getting to know the characters, just like in the book. Also, as the kids were younger their acting skills weren’t quite up to what the die-hard fans would have hoped. I think in this one they are much more mature, it is good and the script is a lot funnier and scarier.

M: You said it takes around seven months to make the movie, that’s a lot of time to be spending with a lot of people – do tempers get frayed?

C: Yeah, they can get a bit fraught towards the end of a two week shoot on one scene. When we’re doing the same two minutes over and over again you just want to scream by the end of it.

We are very patient with each other and Chris the director, who’s sadly not doing film number three, he’s been incredibly patient with everybody. He never has a bad word for anyone, he’ was always really nice.

I think everyone did get on very, very well adults and kids alike. It was a very happy, friendly set to be on.

M: This is a huge project and you’re there with Alan Rickman, Maggie Smith and a host of other household names. It must be quite awesome.

C: I actually remember one of the first days I was shooting. We were doing a Great Hall scene and they were all there.

Picture: Maggie Smith as Professor McGonagall and Miriam Margolyes as Professor Sprout.
Professor McGonagall and Professor Sprout

There was Richard and Maggie and Zoe Wannamaker and Warwick Davies and everybody.

I remember walking into make-up and thinking woah. But, they’re all really nice and very easy to talk too and we all got on really, really well.

It’s all such an amazing learning experience just being on the same set as these people. I found it quite amazing, I thought you know – they’ll just do their job and we’ll sit there in awe – but I have learnt things from it.

M: Do you have a favourite scene from The Chamber of Secrets?

C: I think the duelling club scene was possibly my favourite one to film. It took us more than two weeks to finish the whole shoot on that, including the second unit work where we do all the background shots, long shots and stunt work. It was incredibly good fun, incredibly tiring.

M: So when you're not running around Hogwarts chased by a three headed dog and you come back to Norfolk, do you find it difficult coming home at the minute or is it a relief?

C: I like it, I like getting home and just sleeping really, being quiet for a while. It gives me a chance to catch up with friends and have some time to myself, work at UCI selling my popcorn.

M: Do you find that weird?

C: Not yet, but it will be when the film comes out. I think it’s going to be weird as they’ve got posters up with my picture on saying meet Percy Weasley. It’s a bit scary, I walked into the office and thought ‘oh my God’.

M: But do you quite like it too… come on, be egotistical?

C: Yeah (laughs), I do like it. It’s nice when people come up and say ‘are you Percy Weasley?’, especially little kids who just sort of look at me with this woooah look on their face.

Picture: Chris Rankin doing the day job at UCI.
Chris gets on with the day job (after a quick photo). Win the books he is holding

It is quite nice that kids feel happy once they’ve seen me, get my autograph and talk to me.

The look on their face makes me feel a lot better about it all 'cause acting can be very fake sometimes. When you see the kids are getting something out of it at the end it’s quite rewarding I suppose.

M: As an actor you’re still very young, it’s the first time you’re in seriously bright lights… how are you dealing with it all?

C: I don’t’ really know yet, it’s all suddenly hit in during the last couple of weeks.

There was an article in the Sun the other week, I was on SMTV Live and I’m on CBBC – it’s suddenly hit in and people are starting to notice who I am.

I dunno, I was saying to my mum the other day it’s a bit scary. From a couple of articles in the EDP to the Sun and live television it’s odd. It is odd.

The other Sunday when I was in Leicester Square for the premier I went down to meet some friends in the morning and see how all the setting up stuff was going and what it was looking like.

Somebody turned round and said ‘there’s Percy Weasley’ and then suddenly 300 people went whoosh and I went ‘help’. I was shoved up against a Häagen-Daz shop and that’s odd. I’m not used to that, but it’s alright.

M: Who do you turn do if it’s all a bit weird. Is it mum? What does she say?

C: She says don’t be stupid it’s good fun (laughs). Mum is proud especially, she gets very excited about it.

Read some more... Chris talks about dealing with celebrity status, life in panto and coming home to Norfolk »

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