It's been more than a year in the making, but Potter
fans across the world have been snapping up tickets to see The Prisoner
of Azkaban faster than Harry riding his Nimbus 2000.
For actor Chris Rankin, he feels the latest Potter
film is the best yet. He's been talking to BBC Norfolk's Martin
Barber about working on the film, the première and a hint
from JK Rowling.
Why has it taken so long to make the POA?
It's seems like a very long time ago that we started,
around February 2003. I've been shooting bits and bobs all over
the place, so it's been very periodical.
It's a bit bizarre as I think, as people, we've
grown up a lot since we started making this film. I certainly feel
I'm a completely different person to the person I was in January
Certainly Daniel, Emma and Rupert have grown a
lot. They're learning very quickly and are growing up faster than
we're getting the films out at the moment.
The new director, Alfonso Cuaron, has really
changed the feel of a Harry Potter film.
Chris as Percy Weasley with his Hogwarts school mates.
Credit: Murray Close
Yes, it's darker and much more of a teenage angst
film I think. There's this edgy feel to it. I've seen it three times
already - three times in four days!
There's this kind of feeling that the camera never
stops moving throughout the film and this brings a much more worried
I think it's exactly right as this book is so completely
different to The Philosopher's Stone and The Chamber of Secrets.
The focus of this film seems to be very much
more on the main characters. Less Great Hall scenes and the like.
Does that seems a bit weird?
It's always a bit bizarre when you see the film
for the first time. I did a lot of work on it and I filmed a lot
I think the lines I had are the ones in the film,
but there's a lot of scenes I was expecting and they weren't there.
I think this film particularly focuses on the main
three characters and how they relate to Sirius and Lupin - it's
important to make that the main part of the film.
To be honest, I don't think it mattered too much
that everyone kind of cameod essentially.
I still find it a bit odd how they've gone from
the book to the film and missed a lot of stuff out that could be
quite important later on.
I can't remember if it was in the original script
or not, but in POA there was failure to mention how Professor Lupin
knows how the Marauder's Map works and nobody ever mentions he was
best friends with Harry's dad. This is quite important later on
when you get to the OOTP.
You've said one of your favourite scenes was
filming the slashing of the Fat Lady's portrait, how long did that
That was about five or six days work on the first
unit, then we went and did it again on the second unit to concentrate
of the visual elements. We must have spent the best part of 10 days
on that for what, 45 seconds!
Dawn French is incredible, but sadly I never got
to meet her. The first time I saw the finished scene was at the
cast and crew screening last Saturday.
Are you pleased with the end product?
Yes. I think in terms of pure film-style, this
is the kind of film I'd go and see. It's very Tim Burton in some
ways. It has that gothic horror feel to it in places. The first
films were very much children's films, this one has nudged it into
A Harry Potter première
is always a big night, but for this film things seems to have been
off the scale.
It was out of this world, absolutely amazing. We
had more people in Leicester Square than we've ever seen before.
Personally, from a minor character point of view,
I've never had that much enthusiasm out of a crowd before.
There were some people there at half-four in the
morning and they were still there at two the following morning as
we came out of the after première party.
Speaking of the party, spill the beans - what
I drank far too much champagne and got very drunk
as always happens at the party. [laughs]
I met Roger Taylor from Queen who was a very nice
man, Lulu was there. There never are many VIPs at the party because
it's an event for the cast and crew.
It was an incredible night held at the Natural
History Museum. They put mini-pumpkins all around the dinosaurs,
with chocolate fountains and lots of food and champagne.
Did you have a hangover?
Er, maybe just a little one. [laughs]
You have new members in the cast this year -
Michael Gambon as Professor Dumbledore and David Theulis as Professor
Lupin. What are they like?
They're both really nice. Michael Gambon is probably
the most eccentric man I've every met. I've always said that he's
the Dumbledore I saw in the books. David Theulis is such a lovely
man, as is Gary Oldman.
Chris enjoys time back in Norwich. Funky new hair!
I met him at the film première and he was
just the nicest man ever. Humble, quiet and just having a nice time.
It was good to meet him as he's a big idol of mine.
Where are we up to with The Goblet Of Fire?
I'm not really sure what's going on with that at
the moment. Some photography as started, but I think the majority
of principle photography kicks off in July. I'm not entirely sure
yet if Percy will be there, we'll have to wait and see.
You were chatting to JK Rowling at the premier
party - any hints towards book six yet?
Yes and no. I got a bit of information out of her.
I said 'I want a word with you Miss Rowling, I've been getting hate
mail about Percy Weasley.'
She did hint he might just redeem himself in the
future, we'll have to wait and see.
Somewhat non-committal then.
Yes, but it's more than anybody seems to have got
out of her in a very long time. He might redeem himself. [Laughs]
transcript of Chris' POA webchat on Thursday 10 June,