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31 October 2003 1348 GMT
Chris Rankin spills the beans on Prisoner Of Azkaban
Picture: Chris Rankin with twin brothers James and Oliver Phelps
The Weasley brothers: Percy, Fred and George

Norfolk's Harry Potter star, Chris Rankin, has just finished filming on The Prisoner Of Azkaban.

He told us about life on set just ahead of his Hallowe'en webchat.

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Transcript of Chris Rankin's Hallowe'en webchat
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For actor Chris Rankin, life has taken all the turns of a showbiz rollercoaster since he landed the part of Percy Weasley in the Harry Potter movies.

On Thursday 30 October, 2003 - Chris was our guest for a live webchat and hundreds of you dropped into the chatroom for a natter. Read the transcript of the chat here.

Martin Barber caught up with Chris for all the latest news from the set of the Prisoner Of Azkaban.

You've just wrapped on Potter III, how's that gone?

Yes, very scary! It's been great, it's been quite weird. I did my last week at the end of September and since then I hadn't worked on it since May so it was a bit weird going back.

It was almost like I'd finished the film already and was doing something else. But it was nice to go back, it's always nice to go back, but it's weird that they're already starting to talk about film four.

Mike Newall, the new director, has already been in to see people and apparently he's scouting locations already so that's a bit scary.

Has the whole movie process become a bit like a sausage machine?

Picture: Chris Rankin with JK Rowling
Chris with Percy's creator, JK Rowling. Read transcript of Chris Rankin's Hallowe'en webchat

I don't think so. We've got into a process where we've got a new director for each film almost and I think that's good, it's keeping it quite fresh.

I've said it before and I'll say it again, it's like going back to school. It's the same people, the same crew, the same everything really. The same sets even most of the time. So yes, it is a bit samey but it's still fun.

In the book, The Prisoner of Azkaban, Percy's character develops quite a bit. Has that been reflected in the film? Do we get to see a bit more of you?

I think you do. Obviously I can't say yet because it hasn't been edited and all my bits could end up on the cutting room floor, but Percy is there a lot.

He probably says as much as he does in the other films, but he's certainly there. You can probably see his badge glinting away in the corner of the scenes.

You've told us before that director Alfonso Cuarón has tweaked things a bit, can you reveal any more?

I can't honestly think what to say. The costumes are basically the same, but the colours and the robes are very slightly different, the pattern on the tie is a bit different, but that's about it.

Alfonso has gone for a less traditional look for the students.

He called us in at the beginning of the shoot and said 'if that's the way you look, great we'll go with that, rather than make you into something that you're not'.

Picture: Chris Rankin and Harry Potter fan at Order Of the Pheonix release party in Norwich
Spellbound: Chris with Potter fan at The Order Of The Phoenix release party in Norwich. See gallery.

I think it's worked, it has made us more natural.

It was very public school in the first two films, with slicked hair and centre partings.

Yeah, it was. This one is much more how kids are. Draco's hair in this one is more sort of spiky. I think it's more real.

A new Dumbledore on this film. Weird, just different or a bit of both?

To be honest, personally, I like Michael Gambon's version of Dumbledore better than Richard Harris'. Richard was fantastic, but Michael is more how I saw Dumbledore when I read the book, he's slightly more eccentric with it I think.

You start on TGOF in April - which must be great as in the books Percy's character is getting more and more developed. Is this going to be reflected in the films?

I have no idea. I haven't seen Steve Cloves who does the screenplay since the read through for Potter III, so nobody really knows.

I did read something on the internet the other day saying that he's trying to fit it all into a two and half hour film and if he does I don't know what I'll do. Goblet of Fire is huge. I'm not sure what he's doing, we'll find out soon, that's all I know - but I think Percy will stick with it as he's doing so far.

Outside of Potter, what have you been doing?

I did a play in March which was fantastic and from that I'm now putting together a theatre company.

At Christmas I'm back in panto again, this time in Telford doing Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs where I'm playing Percival the Henchman - again!

[Martin laughs] Is Percy starting to haunt you a bit?

I think he is. I went to my old school the other day and I don't think anybody knows my name.

All the older kids call me Jesus from when we did Jesus Christ Superstar, everybody who's under 15 calls me Percy or Harry Potter boy - it's a bit weird.

I don't think Percy is ever going to be a hindrance as he's a fun character to play and I always have a laugh with him.

I see Harry Potter very much as something I was very, very lucky to get into in the first place and as something that has helped me as a springboard for the career I want, which is now starting to happen.

I've got the theatre company, we're moving in the direction of new plays. Potter has certainly helped me get a name for myself which will always be handy in the future.

I don't think Percy is a hindrance, I like him.

Read transcript of Chris Rankin's Hallowe'en webchat


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