Friday July 15th saw the general release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, the final nugget of a franchise that began way back in 1997, when a poor single mum published a book about a boy wizard that rampaged through bestseller lists and hooked the minds of basically every child old enough to read, or at least old enough to stick an audiobook in a tape player and press play.
Four years later Warner Bros. released the first film adaptation in a series that had, before the last film, grossed about $6.5 billion worldwide and which has just made more than $475.5 million more in the opening weekend of Deathly Hallows Part 2.
With a massive cast of supporting actors, many of whom started appearing in the films around the age of 10 or 11 and have since spent half their lives at Hogwarts, I decided to to catch up with some of those kids as they met fans at the London Film and Comic Con, which took place the weekend after the worldwide premiere of the final film. I was very curious about where they’re off to next.
I was lucky enough to catch Devon during the Friday night Con preview, before the heaving masses of Saturday descended and he developed the case of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome that always accompanies autograph events.
The 22 year old Irish actor has appeared in every one of the films, beginning at the tender age of 11, so it’s unsurprising that he’s decided to take a bit of a breather.
I’m not sure what I want do as an actor, I’m taking a year out so I can learn about horses, and that’s my main thing now, for the next couple of months anyway … I’ve been doing [the films] for ten years and it’s nice to have a rest from that for a while, and to get back to the animals.
I managed to grab Alfie for an interview late on Saturday afternoon, when the first time the long line of people waiting for his autograph finally began to die down. Despite a busy day he was still full of energy and buoyed up first by the Thursday premiere and now by meeting hundreds of fans at LFCC. Another actor who has spent the last decade acting in Harry Potter films, Alfie is now planning a return to the stage with a play called Dinner, which is showcasing at Edinburgh Fringe Festival this autumn.
It’s very good, we’ve done it already. It was a play I did at university, and in my first term last year I got involved with it, and the director asked if I wanted to take it up to Edinburgh.
Alfie just completed a degree in Portuguese and Spanish at Oxford University’s prestigious Queen’s College, and although he loves working both on screen and onstage, professes a special love for theatre.
I like doing theatre, and that’s not to say I don’t like doing film because I had an unbelievable experience doing Harry Potter and I learned so much, but there’s something to me about being on stage that’s very immediate and very exciting. Being on stage is a luxury for me; you have a live audience and so it’s more like storytelling … it’s storytelling in its purest form. As an actor you get to create an arc for your character, whereas when you’re filming you might start at the end and do the emotional climax five days into shooting.
If you’re planning to hit Edinburgh Fringe this year you can see Dinner at Adam House from 3rd-25th August.
Out of all the Harry Potter guests, Harry was probably faced with the biggest queue for autographs, having recently gained an even bigger fanbase by starring in an episode of BBC fantasy series Merlin.
Having played Harry Potter’s bullying cousin Dudley Durlsey ever since the beginning to the franchise, Melling found his career of choice at an early age and is determined to keep pursuing it.
Acting through and through for me … I’ve done a lot of theatre this year, as well as Merlin, I did some stuff with the National and some stuff with the Barbican, working with amazing directors, and I’m doing another theatre job in September. At the moment I’m doing a series called Garrow’s Law, which is an eighteenth century law drama, and I’m playing Garrow’s new apprentice in that.
Since he’s spent the day talking to the hordes of Harry Potter fans, many of them complete with full Hogwarts robes and wands, I ask him what it’s like to experience the fandom head-on.
It’s bizarre, because I spend the rest of the year not being recognised, not having the baggage of Harry Potter, not in a bad sense, because I’m completely and utterly proud of it, but I guess normally people won’t shout ‘Dudley!’ at me. So whenever these things happen or whenever you go to a premiere, it’s a real shock for me.
The third series of Garrow’s Law has just begun filming, so I’d recommend keeping an eye on the BBC website for news of a release date.
Like Devon Murray, Hugh has also decided to take a break from the acting world. Since playing Colin Creevey in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets at the age of 13, he’s racked up acting credits in both film and TV, including a role in the The Da Vinci Code. Now it’s time to go back to school.
I’m studying music at the moment, doing a degree. Trying to get qualified, other than just acting experience.
I asked about the experience of appearing in such a huge franchise at an early age.
I wasn’t filming for that long, but obviously I’m still experiencing the repercussions of that and I think I probably still will be for many years to come.
He went on to explain that since he’s grown up so much since Chamber of Secrets that he rarely gets recognised any more.
It’s such a massive thing and I didn’t realise how massive a thing it would be until after I’d done it.
Stanislav was born in Bulgaria, but it’s anyone’s guess where students of the Durmstrang Institute for Magical Learning go to school, since headmaster and ex-Death Eater Igor Karkaroff prefers to keep the location a secret. What we do know is that it boasts fabulous fur capes as part of the uniform and having a wicked Eastern European accent is compulsory.
Stanislav played star Quidditch player Viktor Krum in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, and though still muscular and tattooed, is thankfully not quite so scary in real life. Where’s he going next? To war, of course.
I’m waiting for Resistance to come out, which is the last film I did. It’s set in 1944, so it’s during the war, and we filmed it in Wales. It’s based on the novel by Owen Sheers and the director is Amit Gupta. It’s a World War film but it’s not about war, it’s more about people’s feelings and how they felt during the way, what brought them into the war.
You can see Stanislav in the role of Bernhardt when Resistance is released, on 23rd September 2011.